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Blue Ox looking for new owner

BEMIDJI – The Blue Ox Bar and Grill may close at the end of May unless it finds a new owner.

Current owner Michelle Soltis said Wednesday her current lease is up May 31, and for personal and health reasons, she’s looking to sell.

“I’m transitioning out of the ownership position here to pursue some other things in my life,” Soltis said. “It’s just a really demanding business that requires a lot of hours and a lot of physical labor.”

Soltis doesn’t plan on booking shows after May.

She said she has had interest from several potential buyers, but no deal has yet been signed. Soltis said the Blue Ox has been on the market for about half a year.

“We couldn’t get all parties to agree on everything so we haven’t had a signed deal,” Soltis said.

The building that houses the Blue Ox has seen several changes in recent years. Most recently, it was Bada Bing! before Soltis took over about three years ago. Prior to that, it spent 29 years as the Union Station restaurant, which closed in 2008.

On May 31, the Blue Ox will hold a party on the patio to bid farewell to Soltis – but hopefully not the bar.

“I sure hope somebody takes it,” she said. “It’d sure be a shame to see it not being used, especially in the summer.” 

John Hageman

John Hageman covers North Dakota politics from the Forum News Service bureau in Bismarck. He attended the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities, where he studied journalism and political science, and he previously worked at the Grand Forks Herald and Bemidji Pioneer.  

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