Twin Cities restaurant group to open at The District

Aug. 6, 2018

A Twin Cities-based restaurant group is bringing a new, original concept to the vacant restaurant space at The District.

Roam Kitchen + Bar will be owned by John Sheehan and Lynn Reimer. They also own Doolittles Woodfire Grill and Porter Creek Hardwood Grill, which have seven locations in three states between them.

Sheehan said the group has wanted to come to Sioux Falls for about 15 years but hasn’t been able to solidify a location.

When The District became an option, it prompted them to create an original concept for the space on the campus of The Empire Mall.

“It’s a really new building, and it’d be great to take advantage of the newness of the project,” he said. “We felt our other two concepts might require more of a remodel.”

He still plans significant changes to the building, including opening it up, adding booths, windows and soundproofing, along with giving it a little more rustic feel.

“But at the same time, we like a padded seat on a barstool, so it will be a great, contemporary feel as well,” Sheehan said.

While the menu is still in development, it will be heavily influenced by American dishes, wood-fired cooking, a rotisserie in the dining room and a smoker, which will be used on meats and vegetables.

“If you’ve been to our concepts before, and you were looking for it, you’d notice we like to play with rustic and contemporary or history and contemporary, and Roam is exactly that,” Sheehan said. “It’s a concept forged out of settling America and the spirit that says we’re going out to stake our claim and this is who we are, but it’s still the spirit of checking out new places, trying new foods and cooking techniques, and we’re still in today.”

The restaurant will have a full selection of beer, wine and liquor, he said.

The District will continue to function as an entertainment space. Roam Kitchen + Bar is designed to stand on its own as a restaurant, with dedicated parking during events, but also will complement the concerts and events.

“We’re going to be perfect for any type of business event or wedding, be it buffet or plated service,” Sheehan said. “Roam Kitchen + Bar is clearly going to be a very lively place to be, very casual and a dining experience for all occasions. We have a great relationship with (landlord) Dave (Andera) and the group over there, and we’re forging it to be strong well into the future.”

The plan is to start remodeling in October and open in early 2019.

Bringing the restaurant group to town sets a record for commercial broker Scott Blount of Lloyd Cos., who said he can’t remember another deal that took that many years to come together.

It started 14 years ago when he had lunch at Doolittles in Fargo and called Sheehan “because I thought their food quality was great and I thought it would be a great restaurant for Sioux Falls,” Blount said.

“We tried to identify a property, had a couple things under contract and those fell apart for one reason or another, so I’m really excited I was finally able to get something done with this group.”

Blount said he’d call Sheehan every few months with updates on the market and show him around when he was in town.

In that time, Sioux Falls and its restaurant scene evolved, Sheehan said.

“You have a great climate of people that are professional and very much like the communities where we’ve done business in the past,” he said. “There’s great education and desire to explore new things as well. It’s good to see progress going on in Sioux Falls and that exploration we find central to who we are.”

He wouldn’t rule out expanding the group’s other concepts to Sioux Falls as well, he said, and the plan for Roam Kitchen + Bar is to add other locations.

“Whenever we do any concept, we do it with the idea of helping it grow,” Sheehan said. “This concept really had Sioux Falls in mind to start with, but anytime you build a concept it takes a lot to create it, so you create it with the idea it should have legs to travel.”

The group will help continue to evolve the Sioux Falls restaurant market, Blount added.

“It’s another exciting opportunity to add great restaurateurs to the city of Sioux Falls,” Blount said. “They’re great operators. They are very, very busy.”

Twin Cities restaurant group to open at The District

A Twin Cities-based restaurant group is bringing a new, original concept to the vacant restaurant space at The District.

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