The business began as the Empire Cafe, located at 424 Broadway about 1932-1935. It was owned by Andrew D. Ginakes, a Greek immigrant who had come to the United States in 1913. In 1936, it was one of the first bars to apply for a liquor license in Fargo. As with most establishments serving liquor after prohibition, it was a cafe that served liquor rather than vice versa. In about 1943, the establishment became known as the Empire Liquor Store. In 1947 the Empire was sold to brothers Wilmet and Delvin Swanick, and they were business partners for many years. In 1964 the name was changed to the Empire Tavern, and today it is still owned by the Swanick family. It remains one of Fargo's oldest bars.