Courtesy Hotel Donaldson
Fargo is home to North Dakota’s first and only AAA Four Diamond restaurant, HoDo, in downtown’s trendy Hotel Donaldson.
Manned by two local chefs, one from Fargo, one from Brainerd, Minn., local is also top of mind in terms of ingredients at HoDo. The fertile Red River Valley allows the chefs to pluck produce from Earthly Delights, duck from Wild Acres Farm, and pork from Doubting Thomas Farm, among other purveyors.
The hotel, too, is a local product. Built in 1893 by the International Order of the Oddfellows, it became a hotel about 1910. By the time Fargo entrepreneur Karen Stoker bought it 13 years ago, the hotel had become a dive. She spent three years and lots of money to make it one of the city’s most fashionable hangouts.
Some say the Hotel Donaldson’s reopening was key to the remaking of downtown Fargo. Perhaps the hotel did “get things rolling, and then it got some believers,” said Stoker. “I guess we fired the first shot.”
Local and regional art is part of the hotel’s persona. The work of 17 local artists was purchased for the 17 guest rooms. Each room is different, its design influenced by the work of its artist.
“I enjoy the art as much now as I did when we purchased it 10 years ago,” Stoker said.
Like the hotel, meeting spaces are small and personable, among them, a rooftop prairie for warm days, a 12-person boardroom with a long skylight and a subterranean bar with small dining rooms for wintertime escapes.