Story and photos by Brianna Brickweg
MSUM English/Mass Communications
A sign for the new Red Raven
The Red Raven Espresso Parlor is moving to become “part of the community.”
The Red Raven moved from 14 Roberts Street to 916 Main Avenue. The new location opened on December 1, 2010.
The front entryway of The Red Raven
The parlor is still in the progress of aesthetically becoming “The Red Raven,” with repaints, fixing booths and removing the snow to make its outdoor seating useable, but the progress is going smoothly.
“Now it’s starting to look like a straight-up coffee shop,” Erik Meyer, an employee at the employee-owned Red Raven, said. Meyer has worked at The Red Raven for about three years and also works as a substitute teacher for Fargo Public Schools.
The Red Raven now has outdoor seating with the new location – a courtyard is located directly behind the building with occupancy of 49 people.
“Our goal is to have some outside events,” Meyer said, “be it music, poetry readings, or what have you and to put a bunch of tables there so that people can sit outside on a nice spring or summer day, enjoy a latte and have that space to enjoy.”
The courtyard outside The Red Raven. It is currently filled with snow but will be ready for outdoor seating in the spring.
This alley leads from the courtyard to the indoor seating
Red Raven United
The building layout is more open at The Red Raven. The old location was divided into three rooms: the front room with the drink counter and a few tables, the book room in the middle and the back room where concerts were held. Now The Red Raven is one continuous room. The books are located on bookshelves in the entryway of the store.
The layout has changed the sound for its concert performances.
Part of the new stage area
“Having a really, really loud band who doesn’t really respect the fact that it’s a long room with lots of reverb, who just wants to play and thrash,” Meyer said, “doesn’t really work here.”
A piano in the concert space
How to get to the new place
The building The Red Raven occupies also houses Sea Grave artist studios in the basement and living space in the upper level occupied by Meyer, fellow owner/employee Joe Curry and his wife and the owners of Sea Grave.
A street view on Main Avenue of the building The Red Raven inhabits
Parking seems difficult at the new location, being that it’s on the corner of Main Avenue and 10th Street, but The Red Raven has parking behind its building. Customers can take 9th Street and take an alley that runs between 1st Avenue South and Main Avenue to a parking lot directly behind Red Raven.
Why Red Raven needed a re-vamp
Red Raven moved due to a few factors:
- Rent at the old location was going up
- The kitchen in the new space is bigger
- The new location is on the main floor and is more handicap-accessible. The former basement location was not.
The old Red Raven location and the treacherous stairs
“It makes it much more of a community place when everybody has access to it,” Meyer said. “It’s a space that we get to make our own.”
The Red Raven has wanted to expand its market by offering soups and sandwiches, which was impossible with the size of the old kitchen, but will now be working to add these items to their menu.
How the change is working
Customers have seemed welcome to the new change; they like the look of the new location and the continuous, open layout.
“I would say most of it [customer feedback] has been positive,” Meyer said.
Robert Sanford, one of the owners of Section 9 Cyber Café and The Red raven’s former neighbor, feels the move was a good thing for The Red Raven.
“I think they seem pretty happy with the move,” Sanford said. “I went in there… and it looks like it was doing alright and it looks like they made the necessary steps to attract everyone back.”
What to expect when you visit
The Red Raven hosts events such as comedy, poetry readings and music performances. Click here for updates and upcoming events at The Red Raven.
“For us, this [event hosting] is about being an established part of the community,” Meyer said.
Customers can approach The Red Raven with events they would like to plan at the parlor – if it’s an event the parlor can make happen with the space, they’re happy to host it.
“There’s no way it hurts us for people to come in and have a good time in our shop,” Meyer said. “We have a lot of different events and I’m glad to enable [them]. That’s what being a part of the community is, I think.”