[Stone Town Grill]
Story by: Alyssa Nishek
Photography by: M. Schleif Photography
An idea first cultivated on Zanzibar Island of Tanzania has come to full fruition in the city of West Fargo, North Dakota.
Marty and Jessica Larghe’s travels have taken them to exotic, culturally rich places ranging from Africa to Peru. Each experience resulted in the discovery of new dishes, leading to excitement in returning home to recreate them.
On their visit to Zanzibar nearly a decade ago, the couple went on a spice tour for which the island is known. During the tour Jessica recalls Marty saying, “What if someday we had a concept where we featured all these flavors and spices from around the world?” And with that, Stone Town Grill began manifesting, the name deriving from the old part of Zanzibar city where the spice markets are located, known as Stone Town.
Starting from Sauce
In 2018, Jessica began seriously experimenting with recipes and sauces back right in their home kitchen. Combining their travels and personal recipes into her creations, Jessica hand crafted every sauce now found at Stone Town Grill. A few of the most popular choices have seemed to be the flavorful South West and tangy Korean BBQ.
Location, Location, Location
The spring of 2019 marked the real pursuit as the pair began searching for property in the area. Marty and Jessica knew they wanted to be in that specific neighborhood of West Fargo, located on the corner of Veterans Blvd and 32nd Ave. E., because of the amount of families residing there and the expansions taking place. Furthermore, the pair recognized that in that general area of West Fargo, pub food was the primary availability. They felt their vision would offer a variety to locals.
The Whole Food Approach
The Larghe’s themselves have tried a diversity of clean eating practices, through which they’ve ultimately realized the most important elements in their personal diets are consuming lots of vegetables and understanding the contents of one’s food. They stress the importance of whole foods and having knowledge of the ingredients going into their meals.
“Eating foods from scratch and whole foods, you naturally feel better,”
- Marty stated.
When asked about the feedback they’ve gotten in their first few months since opening, Marty explained their employees and weekly customers frequently note simply “feeling good” after meals. Others have commented on how much easier sticking to a diet has been with Stone Town's variety and freshness. Furthermore, the Larghe’s have received a great deal of positive feedback on their gluten free and vegan options.
“We had a customer who came in and told me ‘I felt great after lunch yesterday, so I came back today!’” explained Marty.
“People are in control of their bowl,” Jessica explained, “whether that be plant based, vegan, vegetarian or not!”
Clean Eating - Clean Design
TL Stroh and GF Sanders were the respective architect and general contractor on the project. The interior design and layout was chosen by Marty and Jess themselves, seeking an open and industrial look. Marty specifically, having a long history in the restaurant business, mapped out the layout of the restaurant in collaboration with the expertise of Stroh and Sanders.
They chose semi exposed ductwork and varying ceiling panel heights in an attempt to smother the noise factor of their large space having concrete floors. Much like their menu options, the interior colors are vibrant in their hues of orange and green, but paired with neutral greys and whites the space has an undeniably clean and inviting feel. A six table patio will be a lovely addition coming available Summer 2021.
Being local owners and operators, Jessica and Marty believe in and understand the importance of sourcing local. Stone Town Grill’s pasta is made in N.D., beer sourced from local breweries, coffee grounds from Fargo’s 20 Below, and desserts curated at Love in the Oven Bakery. They plan to continue looking for additional ways to partner locally.
In line with their mission to stay true to the community, Stone Town has catered for the NDSU women’s soccer and basketball teams, as well as hosted the state-bound Sheyenne wrestling team in their celebrations. Furthermore, they’ve extended free meal invitations to all local high school teams, of which many have accepted.
“We think it’s really important in this growth period for one of us to be here connecting with all of the guests and getting to know the community that we are a part of,” Jessica commented. With one or both of them present at Stone Town nearly every day, the pair find themselves already recognizing regulars!
Stop in to Stone Town Grill to create a fresh, custom dining experience and meet the creators behind it all! Online ordering for pickup is offered through the website and curbside delivery is available by calling in.
Midwest Nest Magazine is a monthly print and digital publication that focuses on culture around the upper midwest.