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Businesses in Fargo get ready for ‘College Gameday’

By Sherri Richards / The Forum

FARGO — Within 15 minutes Monday, all 150 tickets for the Saturday brunch at Monte’s were sold to fans eager for football and fine dining.

The downtown restaurant at 220 Broadway hosted a similar event for last year’s ESPN “College GameDay” broadcast, said Christian D’Agostino, chef/owner.

“I think they were waiting on it,” he said of this week’s quick ticket purchasers. “We’re right in the middle of it. We’ve got the best seat.”

The same special is being offered at The Boiler Room, 210 Broadway, which D’Agostino also co-owns.

A $35 ticket grants guests four drinks, a buffet including biscuits and gravy, breakfast egg rolls, barbecued meatballs and red pepper macaroni, and cheese with bacon and Italian sausage, as well as a place to retreat from the crowds — and use the bathroom.

“It gets crazy out there,” D’Agostino said. “I think there’ll be more people this time around.”

Major events downtown, including the Fargo Marathon and Fargo Street Fair, typically elicit a mixed reaction from business owners. Closed streets and massive crowds don’t always translate into sales and can hinder regular shoppers.

But Mike Hahn, president and CEO of the Downtown Community Partnership, said big events like “GameDay” expose a lot of new people to the area.

“Maybe they haven’t been downtown for a while. Maybe they’re new to the region and this is their first time to downtown,” Hahn said. “They can actually see what downtown has to offer, and enjoy downtown in a different way.”

Hahn stressed that even though some streets are closed, downtown is open, and there’s plenty of parking on Broadway’s off-streets and in public lots.

Several food and drink establishments are trying to capitalize on the “GameDay” crowds. A list compiled by Hahn is at www.downtownfargo.com.

Many will open for breakfast at 8 a.m., including Black Bird Woodfire, HoDo and Juano’s. Spicy Pie will serve a pizza featuring bison meat.

Sandy’s Donuts, which is close to opening its new storefront at 300 Broadway, will hand out 500 free doughnuts beginning at 6 a.m.

D’Vine, which opened this summer in the rear of Boerth’s Art Gallery, 212 Broadway, is hosting a viewing party with brunch from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., said owner Michael Rohr. Tickets are $40. The broadcast will be projected onto a 12-foot screen inside the gallery.

Also, Scheels is setting up an off-site location just north of Fort Noks Bar of Gold, 52 Broadway, said Nick Buttino, the store’s assistant manager. It will be open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. today and Friday and 5 a.m. to noon Saturday and will sell “GameDay”-specific T-shirts and sweatshirts, as well as North Dakota State items such as mini footballs and Pillow Pets.

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