Story by Alyssa Nishek
Photography by Dan Francis Photography
Jasper Hotel recently joined the downtown Fargo, North Dakota, community, bringing with it excellent design and vibrant energy.
Jasper’s namesake derives from Jasper B. Chapin, a true character and integral figure in Fargo’s history, known not only for his time as mayor, but his many investments into the city. Numerous nods to Chapin’s life can be found through Jasper’s eclectic design intricately rooted in history. In a nod to Chapin, the Jasper Hotel logo is shaped like his frequently-worn, red bow tie. Not only that, but the entire second floor of guest rooms is adorned in red accent features, mimicking the color of the boldly red-painted second story walls of Chapin’s Continental Hotel, which was once located just across Broadway.
As an Aparium Hotel Group property, Jasper Hotel is the only one of its kind. With a ground level entrance into the 18-story, mixed-use RDO Tower, Jasper Hotel greets guests with the warmest welcome possible. Upon entering the hotel, guests are immediately greeted by Jasper’s flagship restaurant, Rosewild, and its inviting bar and lounge. An array of seating options, meant for anything from casual family gatherings to intimate first dates, make it possible for anyone to find a temporary home in this space. With the hearth and grill purposely positioned in the front of the restaurant, guests get front row tickets to Executive Chef, Austin Covert, and his team's skills.
“This is a place where you can come in wearing either a sweatshirt and sweatpants or a suit and tie, and fit right in,” Covert said.
Chef Covert brings a plethora of experience with him to Rosewild. The Detroit native spent his early years in New York City cooking at various Michelen star restaurants, however he found rather quickly that living in the city wasn’t sustainable on a cook’s wage. After moving back to his hometown to “save his pennies,” Covert relocated to Chicago, where he worked for two other Michelen star restaurants, Acadia and Sixteen. When the executive chef at Sixteen, Thomas Lents, left and opened The Detroit Foundation Hotel, a sister property to Jasper Hotel in the Aparium Hotel Group portfolio, Covert jumped on the opportunity to move home and make a difference.
Back in Detroit, Covert was highly involved in a culinary school for children with disabilities, known as Rising Stars Academy, in which he taught a weekly cooking class and offered students the opportunity to help with lunch service at the restaurant. While his career was on the rise, his team looking to open a second restaurant, and the volunteer program a success, the COVID-19 pandemic hit and plans stalled. Looking for the next step, Covert reached out to his contacts within the Aparium Hotel Group, who informed him of opportunities in Fargo with the Jasper Hotel. After one visit to Fargo and a tour of the space, Covert knew it was meant to be.
“The idea behind Rosewild fits my personality really well. I just want to cook good food for good people,” Covert said.
“The vegetables and protein on the plate, as well as the plate itself, are all from Fargo-Moorhead,” explained Chef Covert. This “hyper-local” approach centers around the celebration of community, which is the focus of the Jasper Hotel. Rosewild’s custom serving plates were crafted by Hayden Swanson of Livin’ the Dream Pottery out of Moorhead, Minnesota, while the bowls and mugs found in the cafè are a product of Kelsey Williams of Rising Dawn Ceramics, handmade in Fargo. Rosewild’s local farm partnerships include Doubting Thomas Farms, Dig It Produce, North American Bison, Earth to Jar Botanicals, and Midhaven Mushrooms. Two of Fargo’s downtown favorite’s, Nicole’s Fine Pastries and Silvery Lining Creamery, provide Rosewild’s sweet treats.
Because of our region’s short growing season, Rosewild plans to maximize on local products by using preservation methods such as pickling and fermentation. “Great food takes very little manipulation, so they definitely make my life a lot easier,” Covert said of Rosewild’s local sourcing partners.
Not only is a unique dining style experience offered through Roswild’s eccentric design, but through their menu as well. Rather than typical large entrees, the boutique restaurant’s approach is geared more toward several smaller, shared, family-style plates. However, they still offer a few traditional entree options, so as Chef Austin put it, “The meat and potato people can still find a home here, too.”
The menu also features a Chef’s Choice-style menu. Covert described the idea behind this style of dining as, “Cooking for you just as we would if you were at our house. This takes the anxiety away from ordering at a restaurant.” With the Chef’s Choice style, your dining table gets a six-course tasting menu with an optional wine pairing.
One of Rosewild’s more critically acclaimed dishes during its first month open to the public is it’s signature Crispy Cauliflower, a long-time development of Chef Covert’s, which features deep fried cauliflower, a fermented pepper base made in-house, and pickled vegetables. A second menu item that’s received a fair amount of attention is the coal-roasted sturgeon served over a carrot ginger puree and locally sourced summer vegetables.
General Manager, Mary Orlando, is proud to add Jasper Hotel to her list of successful hotel openings, which most recently includes the Cyrus Hotel in Topeka, KS and MC Hotel in Montclair, NJ. As former Vice President of Hotel Openings and Transitions for Aparium Hotel Group, Orlando brings her unique experience and talent in the hospitality industry to the Jasper team.
The interior design of Jasper Hotel was a collaboration between ESG Architects + Design and the Aparium Hotel Group. In mergence of elements old and new, you find heirloom-esque pieces mixed into modern, Scandinavian design. Large structural columns found in both the lounge and bar were purposefully designed with vertical handmade tile and metal frame work in resemblance to grain silos as a nod to the agriculture that our region so predominantly flourishes on. Further thoughtful design elements such as the wooden beams throughout the space, representing railroad ties, pay homage to the railways that once played a large role in the history of the Fargo-Moorhead area and Chapin’s life.
In this more private dining space you find a ceiling draped in canvas material in recognition of Chapin’s first hotel in Moorhead, Minnesota, that was quite simply a tent in which he’d host elaborate celebrations. The bold custom wallpaper in this space by PI Fine Art was chosen with North Dakota’s state flower, the Prairie Rose, in mind. Additionally, locally-found Fargo antiques fill the stately curio cabinet lining the north wall.
The Jasper Hotel boasts 125 guest rooms, designed in a light and contemporary fashion with unique touches of mixed materiality throughout. Each room features floor-to-ceiling windows, out of which the views stretch 10 miles -- an advantage of the prairie landscape of our region. In recognition of Chapin’s wife, Emma, who was known for her needlepoint work, each guest room is also adorned with a locally-made needlepoint pillow.
Also on the property is the Continental Ballroom, an expansive 4,000-square-foot space located on the 5th floor. The ballroom offers a terrace, large enough to fit 90 guests, overlooking Broadway Square and the iconic Fargo Theatre sign. This space is beautifully suited for events ranging from weddings, to corporate retreats to intimate concerts. For more serious affairs, a grand 656-square-foot boardroom offers idyllic views of Broadway Square.
An unmatched amenity that Jasper Hotel offers it’s guests is access to a growing and lively downtown experience. Beyond its prime location, amenities include a fitness center and sauna.
Sunday morning yoga classes are currently underway on Jasper’s fifth floor terrace, and will move indoors during Fargo’s colder months. The Rosewild lounge will be home to a Thursday night musician-in-residence program, offering a place for local talent to be shared.
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