“Have you been here before?”
When you step into 117 Broadway in Fargo, you are greeted by a cashier behind a counter who asks if you have ever visited Sweeto Burrito.
This is not an unusual greeting for a new restaurant in the area. The new fast food offering, located next to Teaberry and near the Spirit Room, opened only a little over a month ago in downtown Fargo. There are just two other brick-and-mortar locations – one in Idaho Falls, Idaho, and one in Provo, Utah.
Sweeto Burrito’s website explains how the franchise’s opening in Fargo is a part of a major national expansion. The brand was created in 2011, with a team of three serving food out of a trailer in a small town in western North Dakota. Now, there are nearly 300 stores committed in eight states.
The franchise is known for their twist on American, Mexican and Thai. They offer burritos, tacos, bowlers, nachos, salads and more. They also offer a kids menu and a variety of drinks, including beer and Mexican soda. Customers can choose to dine-in or take-out. Regardless of their choice, customers quickly learn the service and the food is fast, but the dining area in downtown Fargo invites relaxation.
Booths underneath dimmed lighting line opposite walls of individual slabs of wood placed together—light and dark brown, gray, and gray with splashes of red. On one of the walls are a handful of vivid photos that appear to capture moments of the restaurant’s history. One photo depicts a group of individuals standing in front of a bright, red truck with “Sweeto Burrito” printed on its side. Another photo depicts a North Dakota license plate.
None of the interior design matches—the prints are mismatched, the furnishings alternate between wooden and metal—still, the designs complement each other, adding to the restaurant’s modern and bold atmosphere.
Like many restaurants in the F-M area, Sweeto Burrito has a small-town feel, displayed most prominently through the company’s service. Workers constantly scan the room, wiping down dirty tables and relieving customers of finished trays, making sure no one who dines-in has to wait for a clean table or is unable to enjoy a visually-pleasing experience.
If a customer chooses to dine-in, a worker approaches and asks if he or she is enjoying the meal or needs anything else. This engaging behavior elevates the restaurant’s status among many other fast-food offerings whose workers typically remain behind the counter, not engaging with their customers after their food has been ordered.
If Sweeto Burrito must be given a distinction, let it be: a sophisticated fast-food restaurant.
Amber Morgan likes storytelling, wandering to new places, and building community. She expects to graduate in May 2015 with a double major in multimedia journalism and communication studies and a minor in psychology.