Tricia Tuntland | Staff Writer | 04-08-2012
Bemidji’s place for year-round, live entertainment, the Blue Ox Bar and Grill, is set to close May 31, nearly three years after opening.
Owner Michelle Soltis, however, ensures patrons they will go out rockin’ and rollin’. In fact, they have booked shows for almost every weekend up until they close their doors.
“We will still be providing live music up until we close,” Soltis said. “We have a full lineup until May, and we are going to keep rocking and rolling ‘til the end.”
Soltis, who opened the bar and grill with her brother, said a career change was best for her and her family, thus prompting the closing of the establishment.
“I needed a change in my career path,” Soltis said. “I have a young family and the late hours and strenuous work did not fit with my family. I used to be in real estate and will be going back to that. It has better time management for my family.”
Like every business, Soltis said it had up and downs, but she feels it was welcomed into the community with open arms.
“I think our patrons have been receptive to our entertainment. It has been a really positive experience,” Soltis said.
Timothy Grace, a customer at the Blue Ox, said he will be sad to see the business close but hopes someone will take advantage of the building and reopen it.
“I think it is the nicest bar in Bemidji. It has a great location, and I love the building,” Grace said. “It’s a shame it has to close.”
Soltis said there have been some interests in buying the building. However, no contracts have been made at this time.