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Whitey's Café in EGF sells in auction; to be reopened

A hand-written sign in the door Tuesday said "Whitey's Steak and Seafood is closed."

EAST GRAND FORKS, Minn. - The auction of Whitey's Café on Sunday went fast, say those with seats at the bidding in the legendary but failed-of-late restaurant and bar in downtown East Grand Forks.

Only a handful of bidders were invited in, although at least one other was turned away at the door because he hadn't registered earlier.

David Gerszewski, a partner with Greg Stennes and Wayne Davis, organized and conducted the oral auction Sunday.

The new owner "is from the area," and interested in "carrying the flag," as in keeping Whitey's tradition and name, Stennes said.

He expects it will be only months before Whitey's is again open, Stennes said. Whitey's has been closed since Feb. 8.

The flood of 1997 knocked out Whitey's building, and Stennes first planned to move Whitey's into the former Aaker's Business College in downtown Grand Forks, even buying the building.

But East Grand Forks civic leaders persuaded him to stay and move Whitey's a few steps east to its current abode.

It seemed to work at first.

But the flood's long-term effects seemed to change customer habits, partly because the rebuilding in both downtowns added restaurants and bars, especially on the Grand Forks side.

Stennes put Whitey's up for sale a year ago.