- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 12, 2014

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - The cafe at the North Dakota State Capitol is getting a $1 million makeover to increase customer flow and seating.

State facilities management director John Boyle said work is slated to begin Friday at the Capitol Cafe, with completion scheduled for August. Boyle said a temporary lunchroom will established on the 18th floor of the Capitol while construction is underway.

Seating is slated to increase by 10 percent, to about 225 spots once the work is completed.

The cafe is operated by Roseville, Minn.-based A’viands Food and Services Management. Tyler Borstad, the cafe’s manager, said the eatery will continue to offer daily specials while at the top floor of the Capitol but the cook-to-order grill will be closed during construction.

“We’ll still have the comfort food, pizza and taco salad that everyone loves,” he said.

The cafe has nine employees and serves about 400 meals daily, and at least twice that while the Legislature is in session, Borstad said.

Boyle said the facility last had a makeover in 1981. That’s when it moved from what is now the Roughrider Room, named for Theodore Roosevelt, who ranched for a short time in North Dakota before becoming president.

The Roughrider Room and the adjoining Harvest Room are located on the main floor of the Capitol, which was completed in 1934, about four years after the original statehouse burned.

Both rooms are where North Dakota’s two-year state government budget is largely crafted. And after years of complaints that the rooms have an unpleasant smell, building managers are working to bring more fresh air into the rooms.

Maintenance officials plan to improve ventilation system in the rooms, along with two others that are adjacent, with a project pegged at about $75,000. The works is slated to be completed before the Legislature reconvenes in 2015.

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