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Longtime Herald columnist Marilyn Hagerty and her review of Olive Garden going viral is the Herald's 2012 story of the year. Grand Forks Herald photo by John Stennes.

THE EATBEAT: Toasted Frog is busy, bustling and trendy

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accent Grand Forks, 58203
Grand Forks Herald
(701) 780-1123 customer support
Grand Forks North Dakota 375 2nd Ave. N. 58203

Toasted Frog

124 N. Third St., Grand Forks.

Owners: Shawn Clapp and John Holt.

Chef: Scott Franz.

Hours: 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. weekdays; 12 a.m. closing Friday, Saturday; closed Sunday.

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Reservations: (701) 772-3764 for groups six or more.

Seating capacity: 100.

Report card: Busy, bustling and trendy. Wide choice of appetizers, sandwiches and entrees. Generally good service. Variety of seating. Moderate to high prices.

The Toasted Frog has established itself as a restaurant in downtown Grand Forks where it's fun to meet and eat.

It draws a variety of ages who come together for drinks and appetizers, for lavosh or steak and lobster. You need to be there early or have a reservation to find seating.

The fried pickles have long been a trademark. The pheasant attracts my attention, and it is done well by Chef Scott Franz. He has been in charge of the kitchen crew since the restaurant opened in 2006. And he presides over the open kitchen that gives diners the feeling of the action.

Toasted Frog succeeded Lola's, which had been a popular restaurant. The location at the corner of North Third Street and Second Avenue is one of the oldest buildings in downtown Grand Forks. It long ago housed an automobile dealership and was for a time the home of the Green Stamp store.

Shawn Clapp and John Holt teamed up to reestablish a restaurant in the building. They have been so successful that they opened a second "Frog" in Bismarck.

The Toasted Frog is one of my favorite places to meet friends. Sometimes, it's just for appetizers and a glass of wine. Other times, it's for a meal. I have occasionally ordered from the wood-fired sandwiches and choose the pheasant melt ($14). The most expensive choice on the entree menu is the filet mignon for $28.

The Frog is indeed a place where you can go light or have a full blown meal.

With friends during the Christmas season, I enjoyed visiting over lavosh that is interesting and inviting. Five of us chose a seafood version with shrimp, scallops, crab, artichokes, roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, red onion and havarti cheese. We also tried a pheasant version with red onion, roasted red peppers and the cheese.

Our server was attentive -- but not too attentive. He was courteous and made us feel welcome. I enjoy sitting in this restaurant with its fine old wooden floors and brick walls that long have been a part of Grand Forks. And there is a pleasing aroma of the wood-fired stove where 10 different versions of pizza are baked.

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

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