MOORHEAD — Don’t want to go out to dinner during a pandemic? That’s OK, the Little Bistro will come to you.
Carrie Brusven, owner of Gathered Boutique Rentals, 2201 14th Ave. S, got the idea for a mobile trailer, fitted up for contactless private dining, from a friend who saw something similar in California.
“I just loved the idea so much, I thought, ‘Let’s do it all the way,’” Brusven said.
The Little Bistro is able to be parked in someone’s yard anywhere within the Fargo-Moorhead area. There is an additional delivery fee for outside the area. Staff are still working on some rural, scenic locations, but said their hope is that it will be a quiet space with a nice view of the river.
“All the pieces just kind of fell in place,” Brusven said.
Current pricing, which starts at $200 for a couple, includes a cheese and meat charcuterie plate from Sol. Ave. Kitchen in Moorhead, a bottle of wine or two crowlers of beer from Sol Ave. Kitchen and Junkyard Brewery, and two hours to enjoy the bistro and the atmosphere at the pre-approved location of your choice.
A double date is an additional $75, and a group of six (the maximum) will cost $350 total.
Gathered prides itself on event rental items in the boutique style, which Brusven said are “not your average event rentals,” so doing something as stylish and individualized as the Little Bistro is in line with the business’s particular aesthetic.
“We have a modern and earthy style, with a little bit of a global touch to it,” she said.
Fitting the mobile unit with wooden walls and benches, as well as tables and furnishings in Gathered’s signature style, was only the beginning of the Little Bistro. Brusven then decided to partner with a Moorhead-based restaurant to supply the food and drinks.
She chose Sol Ave. Kitchen, 1408 1st Ave. N. in Moorhead.
In an email, Sol Ave. Kitchen owner Nikki Berglund said when she was approached about participating, she immediately fell in love with the idea.
It also helps the restaurant, which like many others is feeling the financial effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We think this idea has a ton of potential, so we will just see what transpires,” Berglund said. “This is also a great opportunity as a new restaurant in Moorhead (we hit our year mark in August) to show off what we have to offer. We can’t wait to get started!”
There is also the potential for the current menu to expand.
“As far as the menu goes, I think we plan to start with mainly the dishes we have recently debuted at Sol (we have only been back in business for a few weeks now) and then just kind of get a feel for what the Little Bistro customers are looking for,” Berglund said.
Pricing for extras, while yet undetermined, will be in addition to the current package price. For a closer look at potential menu items, visit https://solavekitchen.com/.
The Little Bistro officially launched July 10, but within a week they already had five confirmed bookings.
One of them is Fargo resident Sher Thomsen, who along with her husband and another couple will be eating in the Little Bistro August 29.
Thomsen said she’s worked with Gathered’s staff before, and she loves their attention to customer service, detail and style.
She also thinks the idea of contactless, private dining is innovative and needed right now.
“It allows us to have something to look forward to, and to do something that feels natural,” Thomsen said.
It feels like a long time since she’s been able to say that about sharing a meal "out" with family and friends.
“It will be the first meal out we’ve had since March 11,” Thomsen said.
In part, Brusven credits the immediate success of the Little Bistro to people’s desire to get out and be social without necessarily having to get out in public.
“The response we got was incredible,” Brusven said. “It seemed maybe we’re onto something here after all.”
For more information about the Little Bistro visit www.gatheredrentalsandevents.com/the-little-bistro-the-new-mobile-dining-experience-in-fargo-moorhead/