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THE EATBEAT: New dessert items add zing to Whitey’s already extensive menu

There were a couple dozen of us lunching together at Whitey’s on the last Thursday of January. I was with a group of women who make up a club that just has fun. They call it the Fun Club. No officers. No meetings. No minutes. Just get together with friends.

They offered to help me critique a restaurant for this Eatbeat column.

We found the lunch menu at Whitey’s extensive with new items. We ordered something from all corners of the menu and sat back to reminisce about years gone by at Whitey’s. We remembered the turkey wings and mashed potatoes in days of yore as well as the slot machines. And the way the late Whitey Larson would walk from booth to booth to make sure everything was all right.

  • Barb Hinnenkamp found the Mini Mac rich and cheesy — just the right size for lunch. The tuna melt had good flavor and the large portion is enough to split with a lunch partner.
  • Ginny Bollman thought the turkey corn chowder soup a bit peppery, the sandwich good, the size perfect.
  • Cathy Altepeter thought the turkey corn chowder soup a tad salty. The sandwich was a nice size — not too large.
  • Karen Griffin found Abby was a friendly and efficient server. And Karen would always come back to Whitey’s because it’s a family tradition.
  • LaVonne Sigdahl was one of several who commented favorably on the plates being warm. She also likes the special touch of the mints at the end of the meal.
  • Kathy Ramsay found the service very good, saying, “We were with a large group and everyone ordered at the same time and we all got our food at the same time.”

There was a sweet finish to our lunch — the new dessert menu. While we weren’t really planning for dessert, we were tempted and shared items from a special dessert menu including banana bread pudding, cheese cake, turtle cheese cake, chocolate galaxy cake, Bailey’s gluten-free creme brulee, Stout brownie and tiramisu with lady fingers soaked in espresso and Kahlua syrup.

The desserts range about $7 in price and should be premeditated. So, I went back with a couple of friends before the movie, “Nebraska,” and just had dessert.

Whitey’s can seem rather quiet at times, but it still has a steady following. The more formal dining room is inviting and attractive — a great addition to the eastside dining scene. The historical pictures are an asset.

And the chef is creative. He is Michael Rude who grew up in Grand Forks and graduated in 1996 from Central High School. He found, while working his way up to kitchen manager at the Blue Moose, that he wanted to stay in the restaurant business.

He went to New England Culinary Institute in Vermont and then headed to Florida. There he worked in upscale restaurants. Two years ago, he realized he wanted to be back in Grand Forks. And he has found his place at Whitey’s.

Whitey’s

121 DeMers Ave., East Grand Forks

Owner: Tim Bjerk, Roseau, Minn.

General Manager: David Raymond

Chef: Michael Rude.

Hours: Opens daily 11 a.m.; closes midnight Sunday through Thursday, 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

Seating capacity: 208.

Report card: Menu is extensive, inviting, with gluten-free markings. Restaurant is spacious with focus on historic horseshoe bar. Service-friendly. New dessert menu by creative chef adds zing and appeal.

Reach Hagerty at mhagerty@gra.midco.net or (701) 772-1055.

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