FARGO - When a reporter from People magazine first emailed Tanya Bale in early September requesting information about her award-winning restaurant, she was, understandably, hesitant and in a bit of disbelief.
“I Googled the lady that was contacting me,” said Bale, owner of The Shack on Broadway, 3215 Broadway, in north Fargo. “Sure enough, she was real and she works for People magazine.”
In the Oct. 8, 2018, issue of the magazine, The Shack on Broadway earned the distinction for best breakfast dish in North Dakota - their caramel rolls, a restaurant staple since the original Shack opened in 1993.
Since the reporter from People magazine never let Bale know when the article would be running, she said she’s been “holding tight waiting and wondering if it was really going to happen or not.”
Then, on Monday morning, Oct. 1, after seeing a customer check in on Facebook to the restaurant, which included photos of the magazine article, Bale said that’s when she knew it was out.
“I rushed over to the grocery store and picked up 10 copies for myself and the cashiers there were wondering why I was buying so many copies of it,” said Bale. “So when I showed them, they were all excited and high-fiving me.”
Bale returned to the restaurant and showed off the article to her staff and customers.
“They were all excited and happy, too,” she said.
Winning awards is nothing new for The Shack. The popular breakfast spot has won top honors for “Best Breakfast Place” three times, including in 2017, as part of The Forum’s annual “Best of the Red River Valley” contest, voted on by readers.
Bale said the restaurant’s latest recognition in People magazine is not only a huge honor, but a great responsibility.
“The Fargo-Moorhead area has spoken so many times by voting us best breakfast for our area, but to be known nationally now, it’s just a bigger impact that we will have on future visitors to our area who will search out not only our caramel rolls, but the other breakfast items that are so great,” said Bale.
Under Bale’s ownership and direction, The Shack has thrived. Its home-style, diner-like food attracts customers from across the metro area looking for a more local, personal alternative to the chains that dominate here.
The Shack on Broadway originally opened in the mid-1990s, and was later renamed Susie’s Shack, then Brenda’s Shack, before being taken over by Bale, who assumed the restaurant's original name.
Upon taking over, Bale gave the restaurant a much-needed interior facelift. New carpet, new furnishings and a new paint job gave the inside of The Shack a fresh look, and its regular customers returned in droves.
“Everybody in north Fargo’s so happy that we reopened,” Bale told The Forum in 2011. “I’ve had nothing but positive reactions.”
Now, after being mentioned in the magazine, Bale has a bit more interior decorating to do, she said.
“I’m planning on taking (the magazine article) to get framed to hang in the restaurant.”
If you’d like to vote in The Forum’s “Best of the Red River Valley” contest, click here.