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TNT's offers trademark homestyle dining

West Fargo's newest restaurant - TNT's Diner - is offering old-fashioned, homestyle cooking at its finest.

Tim and Tammy Hagensen of Moorhead are the owner-operators of the eatery which opened to customers Monday at 405 W. Main Ave., Westgo Square, in the space formerly occupied by Jiggs' Homestyle Restaurant.

The Hagensen's have a longtime restaurant connection, going all the way back to their teenage days. They eventually opened their own restaurant - TNT's Café - in the Moorhead Center Mall in March 2000, selling the business in September of 2005. Prior to that, they owned and managed the Trollwood Café in north Fargo from September 1993 through February 2000.

The goal at TNT's Diner is to carry on the same fine tradition of highlighting delicious homestyle cooking and baking that customers enjoyed at Tim and Tammy's previous locations. Everything on the menu is made from scratch daily, from their soups, pie crusts, cookies, rolls and muffins, to the fresh baked beef and turkey and real mashed potatoes used in their trademark hot sandwiches, that are featured regularly on the menu.

Each day also features different breakfast and lunch specials that are sure to please every diner's appetite. Among the breakfast menu standouts are the piled high three-egg omeletes, American fries, biscuits and gravy, and the breakfast muffin sandwich, as well as the made fresh daily pastries including caramel and peanut butter rolls. Diners will also enjoy the Belgian waffles topped with strawberries and real whipped cream every day of the week, but especially on Wacky Waffle Wednesday.

The daily luncheon offerings include at least two of TNT's signature soups, i.e. the bean and ham, split pea, turkey dumpling, and chili served every day, followed by a heartier menu selection, whether it's Swedish meatballs, cabbage rolls, the very popular salmon loaf with creamed peas, Swiss steak, or any combination of several others. A variety of sandwiches, burgers, TNT melts, basket items and salads are also available, including half-serving portions of some of the menu items to appeal to the lighter appetite.

Desserts are also plentiful, from the wide variety of fruit, cream and meringue-topped pies, to the cookies and bars, to the custard rice and bread pudding, and of course, the famous root beer floats, which are being offered the entire month of TNT's opening for only $.99. A pie and coffee special, served from 2 to 4 p.m. daily, will also be a standing regular for those looking for the perfect afternoon break.

Tim and Tammy point out that if there is a particular food item a guest would like to see on the menu, they are always open to suggestions. Some of their most popular items have earned a permanent niche through this process. "We are constantly adjusting our menus," Tammy said. "We try to be very adaptable."

To correlate with all the fantastic food at TNT's is a fantastic nostalgic 50s-style theme, complete with dining counter, bar stools and a checkerboard floor scene. The main kitchen window separating the kitchen staff from the guests was also made larger to accommodate interaction in true diner style fashion.

Tammy has incorporated a variety of her own personal memorabilia to decorate wall areas in differing themes representing the 50s era, from coke products to ag-related items, to musical inspiration pieces.

The Hagensen's have also given the adjoining back dining area a brand new look with brightly painted red walls, also accented by a variety of popular themes, including Betty Boop, Harley Davidson, vintage America, and another wall featuring historic era hats.

"This has turned out to be a very fun room," Tammy said. "The décor kind of fits the whole staff. We are working owners, so we really like to have fun with our employees and want a fun atmosphere to do that in."

TNT's is truly a hands-on family venture, right down to Tammy making all the pies and the two of them doing most of the cooking. "We like working with the public and food and we are both very interchangeable because we have to be," Tammy said. Daughters Jennifer, 19, and Samantha, 14, assist wherever needed, and their little three-year-old son, Tyler, likes to hang out at the restaurant with Mom and Dad whenever he is able to.

TNT's Diner is presently open Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., but the plan is to expand into an evening supper base as soon as the staff has a chance to get acclimated to the operation.

As for doing business in West Fargo, both Tim and Tammy said they are looking so forward to a long association. "Everyone that we have come in contact with has been great to work with," Tim said. "In dealing with City officials and our neighbors in Westgo Square, everyone has been so friendly and bent over backwards to help us out. It's just a privilege being here, and we are excited about doing business in West Fargo."

TNT's will also be offering takeout order service as well as complete pre-arranged catering requests. Customers are also able to order whole pies, but a day's advance notice is recommended. Inquiries can be made or orders placed by calling 701-277-7062.