Turf Owner: Bar Could Reopen January 1

The Bison Turf, pending the City of Fargo's approval, may reopen by January 1.
The Bison Turf, pending the City of Fargo’s approval, may reopen by January 1.

“The Turf will have the same cheap beer, great food and happy people,” said, Pete Sabo, owner of the Turf since 1988.

Plans have been made, as well as permits sought after, for the rebuild of the Turf.

An agreement was reached as far as the design of the new building, due to the collaboration with the owner, the police department and Fargo zoning committees.

Next, Sabo took steps to obtain the proper permits to start rebuilding as soon as possible.

It was then, the owner was informed of yet another obstacle in the way of the project, a meeting with the city commissioner’s office to approve the building permits, which is  “hopefully the thing standing between the new turf and me,” Sabo said.

The earliest city planning commission meeting, though, is scheduled for Dec. 7.

Sabo said he was upset to find out that construction of the main building could not begin prior to his appearance before the board.

Although the actual execution of the project has been slightly delayed, Sabo is still excited about the plans that have been set for the new building.

The design element that Sabo is particularly excited about is the upper-level “huge patio deck, with a great view overlooking University and the president’s house.”

Sabo said the idea for the patio deck struck him one day while he was working on the roof of the turf, and he was first able to take in the gorgeous view from up there. At that moment, his dreams of eventually having an “open air deck for the turf” had only begun.

While the damage to the building has put a little fire under Sabo’s future plans for The Turf, he feels he has been able to make a few improvements to his business while maintaining the original history behind the building.

Some of the improvements include: new coolers that feature a five-inch thick wall to always maintain an icy beverage, all new kitchen appliances that have been purchased and the addition of a second bar to the upper level.

Sabo mentioned the new design of the second floor would include three glass garage style doors that, “will be open to the patio on weather permitting days.”

Another aspect of the rebuild Sabo is particularly excited about is that the main floor design and furniture will go back to how it was before the fire.

Sabo wanted to ensure the history surrounding the building, from the original carvings on the table to the original bar and bench, was preserved.

“Fortunately, the fire did not reach the main floor furniture. The damage was but a little bit of water. The lacquer on the booths was able to protect these pieces from potential warping,” Sabo said.

“Each piece was carefully dismantled and put into storage, and the pieces will return to the turf exactly as they were,” Sabo said.

Sabo expects business to go up after the rebuild, with projected increases from 30-50 percent.

He also wants to note that the quality of all his products will be much better.

“The number of beers that will be available has increased, and microbrews have been added,” Sabo said.

If the city is willing to let Sabo start with the main floor bar, the projected date will be Jan. 1.

The expected date would be pushed back if the rebuild is not able to get underway until after Dec. 7, the scheduled meeting date.If this delay would occur, the opening date would be pushed back to approximately March 1, due to the obstacles North Dakota winters will bring.

As far as the, “imitation mug nights,” that have been initiated in other businesses around campus, Sabo’s only comment was that he has “no doubt that I will have my customers back, there is a loyalty amongst the Turf family.”

“There is no comparison to the way you feel when you’re at The Turf, it’s a whole different atmosphere here, every night is like a carnival. If you happen to spill your beer it’s no big deal. It definitely isn’t an Applebee’s,” Sabo said.

Sabo said he is more excited than anyone for the reopening of The Turf because he “drinks for free.”

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