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Grand Forks' Red Pepper expanding to Fargo

Red Pepper restaurant in Grand Forks is expanding to Fargo.

FARGO -- A number of Grand Forks pizzerias have moved south and found success here. Now, a restaurant with Mexican flare is on the move to Fargo.

The Red Pepper, a taco shop that is a favorite among UND students and Grand Forks natives, will open soon in Fargo near North Dakota State University.

The city of Fargo approved a building permit Dec. 28 for the Red Pepper at 1115 19th Ave. N. in the Happy Harry's Plaza.

The restaurant, owned by Jeff Tellman and his wife, Nicki, has been a Grand Forks staple since it opened in the early 1960s. Tellman's parents, Bruce and Janet, purchased the business in 1973 and sold it to their son in 1997.

The restaurant serves non-authentic Mexican food -- such as tacos and tostados -- but is most famous for its "grinders."

Grinders are sandwiches made on submarine bread rolls topped with lettuce, ham salami and turkey, or a combination of all three, along with cheeses, taco meat and the Red Pepper's very own white sauce.

The sandwiches are so popular that the Red Pepper has shipped them to every state in the union.

"It's a little taste of home no matter where you are," Jeff Tellman said.

Tellman said construction on the Fargo location started Monday with hopes to open shop by mid-February.

Tellman said he and his wife considered many Fargo locations, but the proximity of the 19th Avenue location to NDSU was a plus.

The original Red Pepper at 1011 University Ave. in Grand Forks is near UND. A second Red Pepper location opened about six years ago on the west side of the campus.

"We got to the (Happy Harry's) plaza and it all made sense," Tellman said. "Being close to NDSU will be beneficial to us."

The shop will employ about 10 staff to help serve in the Red Pepper's traditional "quick style."

Tellman said quick style means, "The person who waits on you makes your food."

"You don't get passed down the line at the Red Pepper," he said.

While the original Red Pepper in Grand Forks is open late, until 2:30 a.m., Tellman said Fargo hours have not yet been decided.

The Red Pepper's move to Fargo follows popular pizza places Rhombus Guys and Deek's Pizza.