Having already mastered the art of pizza and smoothies, restaurateurs Matt Winjum and Arron Hendricks were ready to take on their next challenge: craft beer. Primed to create a downtown brewpub that would introduce locals to new beer experiences, they visualized an eclectic hangout unlike anything else in Grand Forks.
For a location, they set their sights on the Historic Opera House, once a vital part of downtown and the neighboring railroad, that had for decades been left underutilized. Years after the flood of ’97, JLG had taken on the challenge and breathed new life into the structure, saving it from demolition and converting the upper floors to unique loft apartments. The ground floor storefronts had been cleaned but untouched, awaiting the right tenant and what would soon become Rhombus Guys Brewing Co. Working with JLG, the team created a 4,000 SF bar and restaurant with a viewable micro-brewery, preserving the interior brick walls and historic cast metal columns. Tall windows along the entire front face provide views of the main downtown corridor and send daylight throughout the expanse.
JLG worked closely with Matt, Arron, and their head brewer, Chad Gunderson, to create the ideal layout for the brewing process, efficient cook/serving line, bar functionality, and guest amenities – testing functions and assessing costs/benefits along the way. The kitchen, brewing support spaces, and offices were placed in the basement and can be accessed at the heart of the restaurant to keep staff centralized, even when on another floor.
Brewed from the hearts of three guys who “see the world from a slightly different angle,” the Rhombus Brewery opened to great acclaim and has sparked the creation of the area’s first gastropub menu. In the transformation and preservation of an iconic storefront, Rhombus Guys Brewing Co. is crafting a vibrant space that reflects the past while re-engaging the newest downtown crowd.