Scandinavian-American Hall of Fame
If you’ve ever had a restaurant meal in North Dakota, chances are Myron Thompson has had a hand in it (figuratively, of course). Thompson, a native of Upham, ND, and of Norwegian heritage, has been in the foodservice industry for nearly a half century, successfully reading and satisfying the appetites of the public.
Thompson began in the business in 1970 in Minot, ND, with an independent restaurant called The Lantern which he later converted into a Hardee’s restaurant. Over the next seven years he was involved in a company that operated eight Village Inn Pizza restaurants, opened seven more Hardee’s restaurants, four Happy Joe’s Pizza and Ice Cream Parlors, and two Tex Mex restaurants called Adobe Oven.
After selling those restaurants in 1984, Thompson pursued several non-food-related business ventures that included Money Mailer and Check Rite. Then in 1987, while in Arizona, he was introduced to Applebee’s. Impressed with the establishment, Thompson negotiated the franchise for North Dakota in 1989 and eventually built or purchased a total of 23 Applebee’s in California, Arizona, Minnesota and North Dakota. He also currently owns four Qdoba restaurants in North Dakota with his son Chad, and two Noodles & Company restaurants in Montana with another operating partner. The restaurateur was at one time also involved as an owner/operator of three Village Inn Restaurants located in North Dakota and Minnesota, two Space Aliens Grill & Bar restaurants in North Dakota, and an original concept called Badlands Grill operating in Minot.
Thompson also started a temporary help company, Labor Force, in Minneapolis in 1989, a venture that has evolved into a publicly traded entity on the Nasdaq stock exchange under the symbol CCNI.
An alumnus of Minot State University, Thompson has been married to his high school sweetheart, Shirley, for 51years. The two enjoy spending time with their three children and their spouses and ten grandchildren, all of whom live in the Minot area.