Mah Dah Heey IPA and Heartless Blonde Ale will be on tap this summer as the Stenehjem family is expanding its family-owned brewery to Bismarck.
In addition to its flagship location in Watford City, Stonehome Brewing Co. will open a second location in the new First International Bank & Trust building at the corner of State Street and Divide Avenue.
Bank President Peter Stenehjem said his family’s banking and brewing partnership started in 2016, when his parents, Stephen and Gretchen Stenehjem, opened the brewpub in the newly constructed First International Bank & Trust building near Watford City’s new high school and event center.
“Our strategy of placing great restaurants next to our bank has been a great model for our company. When we were dreaming of this new facility, we knew we needed to extend this model to Bismarck,” said Stephen Stenehjem, who is CEO of First International Bank in addition to being a co-owner of Stonehome.
The new six-story First International building constitutes a $40 million investment in Bismarck, Peter Stenehjem said, and part of its success will be based on extending the building’s uses. He said banks are only opened limited hours, so adding the brewpub allows the building to be utilized in the evening hours as well, driving in more traffic.
The long-time banking family expanded into the restaurant business first in 2006, when it opened Outlaws in the same complex as its downtown Watford City bank location, according to Peter Stenehjem.
“There was really no nice steak place,” he said.
Since no operator expressed an interest in starting one in the space, the family did it themselves. Then, the oil boom hit, allowing for expansion. Now, the family operates a second Outlaws location in Williston, Meadowlark Brewing in Sidney, Mont., and JL Beers in Watford City.
The name "Stonehome" is Norwegian for “a homestead or farm made of stone,” which also translates to the Old Norse surname, Stenehjem. In addition to onsite brewing with a 3.5 BBL system, there will be a full menu, wine list and bar serving homemade pasta and specialty pizza. Rotisserie chicken will be added to the menu in Bismarck.
The restaurant in Watford City has a rustic modern look, with polished concrete, stainless steel and wood, which will be mirrored in Bismarck. There will be special events, including trivia nights, and outdoor seating with yard game space for keeping guests entertained. The space will have a water feature with “wow factor.” Upstairs, also with food catered by Stonehome, there’s a rooftop patio and space for private events, with views spanning the city south to the University of Mary and northwest to Bismarck State College.
“In fact we already have booked a wedding reception on our rooftop patio,” Peter Stenehjem said.
From a real estate perspective, Kyle Holwagner, a leasing agent and commercial Realtor, said other office building tenants will be offered a new set of amenities, from collaborative areas to executive single office suites on the top floor.
“It’s a really unique piece of inventory in the Bismarck market with services traditionally not there before,” Holwagner said. “We have a lot of great sites, but the first time I was on that top floor, I thought, ‘Wow, this is something.’"