Manning bar owner faces adversities with a smile

Top-10 Stories of 2016

No. 10

They came from miles away to be with an angel at The Dog House.

And she greeted each and every one with a never-ending smile and a heart-felt hug.

And those smiles were not the fake ones you might see at beauty pageants. No, they were real, beautiful.

The angel is Angel Nash and she owns The Dog House bar and grill with her husband, Forrest. And they hosted a Hawaiian luau on May 14 to celebrate the business’ fifth anniversary. The bar and restaurant area were decorated with soft lights, leis, flowers, lanterns and grass curtains. They put out a spread fit for a king that included a 300-pound pig Angel and Forrest cooked in a pit for 23 hours.

It was a celebration of survival – in more ways than one.

“We’re trying to make it work,” said Forrest, as he watched his wife sparkle like a jewel in the night as she made customers feel at home.

But it has been a tumultuous year, one in which the couple has faced a three-headed monster that threatened the bar’s very existence. Yet Angel has met each adversity with her bubbly personality.

“She’s overcome everything with a smile on her face. She does it because she’s a just a happy person,” said Kera Giese, a friend of four years and who works at The Dog House. “She’s my idol. She’s my hero.”

Last summer, a road construction project through Manning nearly took them out.

Crews expanded North Dakota Highway 22 through the little town, and it severely limited access to the business.

They lost 11 parking spots in front of the building and the road demolition made it difficult to get to the parking lot on the north side of the building. Business dropped by 70 percent, Angel said.

“I was offering lunch for free just to get people to come in,” Angel said.

They weathered the storm. And when the project was completed, the patrons returned to the smiles and Angel’s pleasant disposition – and good food. Angel’s steak fry has become legendary.

“I’m a pretty good cook for a skinny chick,” she chuckled.

But then came plunge in oil prices that effected the economic climate in the area. Many of her customers were forced to leave when work disappeared.

Local customers, however, picked up the slack. They found the bar and grill charming and the atmosphere intoxicating. And they left their marks on the walls and ceiling. Customers are allowed to write messages with Sharpies to share their experiences at The Dog House.

One message said: “Angel is my favorite. Best food in town.”

Another one said: “I freaking love this bar.”

And yet another said: “Some ships are made of metal. Some ships are made of wood. My favorite ships are friendships.”

Forrest smiled when asked about the messages.

“It’s just a fun thing for people to do. This a fun place to be. This is a friendly place to be. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you do,” Forrest said.

Angel appreciates the support the community has shown. They are the pedals in her flower of life.

“I’m super blessed with our customer base,” Angel said.

And that base has really shown it’s caring as Angel faces the third road block, perhaps the most urgent of the three. In October, Angel was diagnosed with Non-small cell lung carcinoma, a type of epithelial lung cancer that accounts for about 85 percent of all lung cancers.

Just like that, it was Angel’s very being at stake.

Yet, she stayed strong and positive. Her smile and disposition never wavered. She refused to let her sickness affect the way she greeted her customers, many who are close friends.

“I love what I do. It’s all the different people you can meet. It’s about creating an environment,” she said.

Angel is seven months into chemo therapy. She will get off it at the end of the month and go into the maintenance of her treatment, Forrest said.

Her friends and family have given her a sturdy shoulder to lean on. And Angel will forever be grateful for that silent cement.

Bob Brown, a longtime friend and owner of the 2 7/8 Bar, is hosting a fund raiser on May 21 at his business. There will be a poker run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. that will start in Dickinson with stops in Taylor, Halliday, Killdeer and ending in Manning.

There will also be a live silent auction at the bar from 5-8 p.m. Music and fellowship will begin at 9 p.m.

Donations can be made at the First International Bank under Angel’s Fight or at the Dacotah Bank in Dickinson. Shirts, sweatshirts and cozies are also available. The benefits will go toward medical expenses for Angel, Brown said.

For more information, interested persons may call Chris at 701-260-4950 or Jess at 701-690- 4481.

“She’s so strong and independent, but we want to do this for her,” Brown said.

“She’s a fighter. She’s a survivor,” Giese said.

She’s the angel everybody wanted to see.

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