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Ole & Lena’s wants slice of the action in West Fargo

Kyle Pieper and Aaron Piltz of Pieper Construction work at the new Ole & Lena’s Pizzeria on south Sheyenne Street and 32nd Avenue in West Fargo. Photo by David Samson1 / 2
Shane Balken owns the new Ole & Lena’s Pizzeria on Sheyenne Street and 32nd Avenue in West Fargo. Photo by David Samson2 / 2

Ole and Lena are moving to town.

Ole & Lena’s Pizzeria will open Monday at Eagle Run Plaza in the former home of Goodfellas Pizza, which closed at the end of July. This is the third location for the Rothsay, Minn.-based “Norwegian-Italian” restaurant.

Owner Shane Balken said he wanted to bring a sit-down Ole & Lena’s, like the original Rothsay restaurant, to a bigger town.

Balken said West Fargo’s growth was one reason he chose the city to set up shop.

“Everything is moving this way,” he said. “I wanted to be a part of it.”

Ole and Lena’s Pizzeria opened in October 2007 in Rothsay, Balken’s hometown. A location opened inside West Acres Shopping Center in 2012.

Ole and Lena’s had a takeout and delivery site in Barnesville, Minn., for four years, but that closed at the end of 2013. Balken also has a concession trailer.

The West Fargo restaurant will differ from the Rothsay location in a few ways. It will offer delivery, in West Fargo, Horace and Osgood. The West Fargo site will also feature online ordering.

The new site also has a bar. Balken said another reason he chose West Fargo is because the liquor license was less expensive.

The menu will be slightly different, featuring more pizza options as well as ice cream, but no burgers.

Balken said he has more room in the new restaurant to try more things.

Ole and Lena’s is known for unusual pizza offerings, such as steak and mashed potato, crab ragoon and hotdish pizzas. There will be a lunch buffet from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays.

The former Goodfellas arcade room has been converted into additional seating. It can also be used as a party room.

Balken likes “old things.” He’s bringing in a 1962 Seeburg jukebox. He built four booths out of reclaimed barn wood, each to hold one of the jukebox’s tabletop wallboxes.

The newly constructed 34-foot bar also features reclaimed wood. Stained glass light fixtures hang from the exposed ceiling.

The space will seat about 120 people, Balken said.

Balken said he considers himself fortunate to have stayed in business and have the opportunity to expand.

He hopes the new restaurant is a place for families, as well as young professionals living in West Fargo. “Hopefully it’s a place where they can come relax and enjoy the game … and not have to go very far,” he said.

Business profile

What: Ole & Lena’s Pizzeria, opens Oct. 27

Where: 3330 Sheyenne St. Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday

Contact: (701) 356-8012


Sherri Richards

Sherri Richards has worked for The Forum since 2002. She is the features and business editor, overseeing Variety, SheSays, Farmers' Forum, the daily Business pages and Saturday Business section.     Have a comment to share about a story? Letters to the editor should include author’s name, address and phone number. Generally, letters should be no longer than 250 words. All letters are subject to editing. Send to

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