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a woman sitting on a table

Jill Sanford

Owner

I started my journey at The Walrus in March of 2007. My first shift was St. Patrick's Day and wow were we busy. I thought for an American Italian restaurant it was strange to be so wild on an Irish Holiday. 

It does tell you a little about Bismarck and North Dakotans in general and that is we like to eat, to eat out, to eat at home, to grill out, to congregate, and share a meal with friends and family no matter the occasion. 

I spent two and a half years serving at The Walrus. On October 30, 2008, I asked the current owner when he was going to sell the business to me. It was a completely off the cuff, spur-of-the-moment comment. We met the next day and within a couple of months it was mine. Server to Owner and the real journey began.

Over the years what stands out to me is all the employees that have come and gone and all the ones still here. I heartwarmingly call them Team Walrus.

These people are everything to me. They hold in their hands my livelihood, my dream, my sweat, and tears. They are so fantastically loyal.

When you walk in the door at The Walrus you feel the difference. You know you are welcome and that you will be taken care of. You see how much we care and love the place and people we work with.

I used to wait on guests back in my serving days and they were just dating. Now they come in and they are married, two kids and a hatchback Subaru. There are so many of these stories, it's what makes The Walrus what it is today.

Guests that have turned into staff and the hundreds of birthdays, anniversaries, engagements that have happened within these 4 walls are incredibly humbling.

I grew up in Bismarck, graduated from Bismarck High and from The University of Mary. I have my Music Education degree. I taught part-time and served the other time for 9 years before I purchased The Walrus.

This restaurant is embedded into this neighborhood, community, and the state. Twenty-six years The Walrus has been around. I have been privileged to be a part of it since 2007. 

I am grateful, honored, and above all humbled at my part of this journey with The Walrus Restaurant.

Sincerely,

Jill R. Sanford