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District Waterhouse and Kitchen restaurant opens in West Fargo

Tina Berger owns the District Waterhouse and Kitchen. "Everything is made fresh daily," she says. Carrie Snyder

Tina Berger became hooked on San Diego's multicultural dining districts while visiting a friend there.

"In Fargo-Moorhead, we're kind of like that to a certain degree," she said.

It's what inspired Berger to name her recently opened West Fargo restaurant the District Waterhouse and Kitchen, located at 3179 Bluestem Driver near the new Sanford Medical Center under construction.

"We're not a tap house, not a beer house, not your standard bar place," she said, explaining the Waterhouse moniker.

As for the Kitchen link, "Everything comes from scratch. Everything is made fresh daily," Berger said. "We even soak all our fries for two days to take the starch out."

She described the eatery's menu and ambiance as "urban American," emanating from her family's history in the bar and restaurant business. "The foods you grew up with, with a twist of culture," she said.

Her mother owned The Detour, a West Fargo bar that operated in the early 1980s at 417 Main Ave. W.

"My grand family owned a restaurant in Milnor (N.D.) that I used to serve and work at," Berger said, called the Cozy Corner Cafe.

Berger is fulfilling her dream.

District Waterhouse and Kitchen. Carrie Snyder

"I've wanted to do it for probably the last 10 years," she said. "If you're going to do it, you have to do it right the first time."

The District Waterhouse and Kitchen seats about 160 inside and on the outdoor patio, employing 58 full- and part-time staff.

Berger is primary owner with partners Cliff and Adam Tornell. She is also employed as a benefits associate at North Dakota State University.

"We have two chefs on staff full time," she said; one in the morning and one in the evening.

The restaurant menu is comprised of 35 items and side dishes with American, Indonesian, Hispanic and Puerto Rican flare, Berger said. The selection includes burgers, flatbreads and pizza's, several sandwiches, salads, small plates,desserts and soup.

A separate menu lists Saturday and Sunday "chef's signature breakfast" items, available from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The restaurant is "big" on gluten-free dishes, vegan options and dairy-free options, she said. "We can pretty much tailor everything to people's needs."

Berger moved to West Fargo at age 11. "I was born in Georgia, raised in Iowa and, I say, stranded in North Dakota," she said.

Opening the District Waterhouse and Kitchen was one way for her to give back to the community, she said. "That's what I've always done is give back to people."

She initially had a different location in mind. She contacted Joel Wold owner of the Bottle Barn Liquors and worked out a deal to place her restaurant in his new store, which opened in March. "It was a really good fit," Berger said.

The area is home to the new Sanford Medical Center, Scheels Arena and several community housing developments.

"I wanted it to be that kind of neighborhood place where people could go," Berger said.