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Spitfire Bar and Grill a couple of months from DL opening

Spitfire Bar & Grill has won local and national contests for their ribs, including best ribs in the Red River Valley according to the Fargo Forum. / File photo. 1 / 4
Construction at Spitfire Bar & Grill will continue throughout the summer until its completion in late September. The restaurant is expected to open around October 1. Emily Driscoll / Tribune2 / 4
"On the north side we’re just trying to act a little character with a big window, bringing in some steel to break up the brick a little bit," Wendt said in reference to the north side pictured here. Emily Driscoll / Tribune3 / 4
Wendt said they're renovating the front of the restaurant on the east side for aesthetic purposes only. Emily Driscoll / Tribune4 / 4

After its 16-year run, Speakeasy in Detroit Lakes served up its last plate of spaghetti.

Spitfire Bar and Grill jumped on the opportunity to expand their West Fargo restaurant by purchasing the vacant property in March, and it won't be long now before Detroit Lakes gets a new dining option.

The space at 1100 N Shore Drive has been gutted and is undergoing some serious renovations. It should soon look and feel like a casual fine dining experience.

But it will be a couple more months. As it stands, the groundwork is set for an outdoor patio and an expansive bar, but only the beginning stages.

A patio will be constructed on the south side of the restaurant, facing the lake. The main entrance will still be on the east side, but newly renovated. The north side will get some windows to offset the brick.

The restaurant will be 10,500 square feet reaching a considerable max capacity of about 350 people.

Spitfire Bar and Grill is set to open in the ballpark of October 1, according to one of the owners, Craig Wendt, with a soft opening planned.

Because the public boat launch on Detroit Lake moved from the east side of the Holiday Inn to the west side, Spitfire will be accessible by boat in time for the summer of 2019.

This is only the second Spitfire location, and Wendt has confidence it will go over well.

"We like the direction the city's going. It's no longer just a summer destination," Wendt said, adding that he and his partner both have a place in Detroit Lakes as well. "Detroit Lakes needs this type of restaurant."

The restaurant has four owners, including Wendt and his brother, Craig Wendt. Tim Olson is the original owner, and Tyler Brandt is the fourth.

They will all be working to ensure the restaurant upholds the precedent that their West Fargo location has set, Wendt said.

They have already hired the general manager, Todd Truman, as well as his wife, Susan to run the show locally.

That being said, they still have quite a few positions to fill. "Anywhere from assistant managers, to bartenders, and all other staff," Wendt said.

Including their starters and desserts, the menu has over 100 items, but their signature is woodfire grilling, according to both the owners and reviews on Yelp.

They might downsize their menu a bit, at least for the new location, to include only the favorites, but it still features plenty of variety.

"Spitfire is nationally known for its ribs. We have won lots of competitions around the country," Wendt said, which includes the best ribs in the Red River Valley, a contest held by the Fargo Forum.

He recommends anything woodfire grilled, frame grilled ribeyes, and their pastas, especially the Diablo pasta: homemade andouille sausage, shrimp, and rotisserie chicken with fresh vegetables tossed with penne in a creamy roasted red pepper sauce.

In addition to their homemade sausage, they have dozens of menu items that are made from scratch, like the batter for their walleye.

"Our walleye is excellent," Wendt said. The fish itself is not locally sourced, but the batter is always made fresh.

Wendt said the restaurant has been misconstrued as a BBQ place, which may drive some away, but said they are less Famous Dave's and more casual fine dining with some BBQ options on the menu.

They have a wide ranging menu, from the raspberry rotisserie chicken salad to their four woodfired fish options: mahi mahi, walleye, ahi tuna and salmon.

He commented in less detail about what is to come as far as renovations, but did point out that, "the only thing that stayed was four walls" to emphasize the complete makeover the restaurant is undergoing.

Spitfire Bar and Grill started with Tim Olson, who participated frequently in competitive grilling contests, sometimes selling BBQ out of his truck, according to Wendt.

The first Spitfire location in West Fargo opened over a decade ago in 2007.

"We're excited to come down there and be a part of the community, and to give people something different," Wendt said.

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