Michelle Farnsworth
 
 
    
 
Left to right: Christopher Tello, Julia Kubesh and Tyler Romine are longtime friends and now business partners as co-owners of Terra Nomad in Downtown Bismarck. (Quinn Oberlander)
 
 

 
Chef Tyler Romine, left, prepares a tray of crostatas with sous chef Lizzy Williams. (Quinn Oberlander)
 
 

 
The Terra Nomad design creates an atmosphere of openness and engagement. (Quinn Oberlander)
 
 

Everyone is witnessing the metamorphosis of Downtown Bismarck from traditional and a bit tired to a real destination spot. One of the biggest transformations of space is on Main Street in the historic Gulch Block.

Terra Nomad's owners and creators, Tyler Romine, Julia Kubesh and Christopher Tello, are quietly and methodically taking their street-level space to new heights. The trio have a relationship spanning many years, including separation by sea and land, but ultimately Romine and Tello were led home to their Bismarck roots.

Romine and Tello have been best friends from childhood. Kubesh, orginally from Montana, met Tello and the planning began.

The concept for Terra Nomad is a perfect mix of Tello's travels, Kubesh's love of beauty and nature and Romine's culinary arts background.

"The idea morphed from several different things that we liked," Romine says.

The concept of eating, drinking and shopping in one space is Terra Nomad's intent.

"Our food is inspirational; our clothing will always be changing. Everything we do is with intention," Romine says.

Entering the modern, spare, open space I hear The Beatles' "Abbey Road" playing in the background. I notice it's not piped-in music -- the vinyl record is spinning on the turntable in the corner. Vinyl. Real. Solid. Reminds me of gently handling my own records and carefully placing the turntable needle for perfect contact.

The simple, bold decor is intentionally built for gatherings of small and large groups. The center communal table is inviting. I want to sit there with friends with good food and coffee, listening to music and the hum of conversation.

But my favorite spot is the stadium-like, elevated seating along the east wall. A perfect spot to sit alone and watch the action.

To the rear of the space is retail consisting of fashions sourced in the U.S. The retail items are picked with care: minimal choices, carefully curated. No mass quantities or trends to fade away. Fashion to endure and pass the test of time.

But the anchor of Terra Nomad is the open-design kitchen/coffee shop/bakery. The design creates an atmosphere of openness and engagement.

"There is no place to hide. We are on display," Romine says, "The transparency makes us very vulnerable and confident."

Watching Chef Romine and his sous chef, Lizzy Williams, originally from El Paso, Texas, prepare the food from start to finish is part of their intentional process and the way they like to cook.

Baristas thoughtfully prepare each coffee drink to order, weighing coffee and checking temperatures along the way. Beverages are served in a smooth, easy-to-hold cup. These lattes are not mass produced at ten a minute. The process is one I like to watch from my raised stadium seat. I am watching art in process.

So what's on the menu? Romine is quick to point out that Terra Nomad is not a gluten free or specialty shop. It's a traditional bakery with lunch options to include salads, soups, wraps and more -- both substantial and satisfying.

The pastry case, surrounded in glass, includes a rotating appearance of crostatas, quiche, scones, cookies, muffins and mini bread loaves.

"Every day we change it up with something different, using ingredients people wouldn't normally experience," Romine says.

The future is full of promising new ventures, one being Kubesh and Tello getting married in Panama in the new year. Another is what the partners call "Phase Two Projects."

"We have been focused on getting the doors open, creating the space and environment, before we make it into something more," Romine says.

As groups of friends sit at the communal table and chat, the three owners periodically stop in mid-sentence to smile and welcome customers as they come through the door. Their faces light up when recognizing friends. I'm craving a latte and crostata -- off to my favorite seat in the house.



 
Michelle Farnsworth loves travel, writing, photography, daily devotions, gardening, making jewelry and finding old treasures. Her greatest accomplishment is her two sons, who bring life, love and laughter to her each day.