THE EATBEAT: Darcy’s delivers quality, quantity despite tight quartersDarcy's Cafe has grown very lively since Paul Murphy, a former UND hockey player, and his wife, Yvonne, took over a couple of years ago.
By: Marilyn Hagerty, Grand Forks Herald
Early in the morning and again long before noon on a cold winter day, Darcy’s Cafe is surrounded by trucks and cars. Inside, the coffee and conversations flow. Customers fill the three booths, the five tables and the horseshoe counter.
The place has grown very lively since Paul Murphy, a former UND hockey player, and his wife, Yvonne, took over a couple of years ago. They attract UND and high school hockey players as well as a cross section of people from the community.
When I settled in to a small table recently, I was sitting near Cheryl Skavlem, who was seated at the next table. Since you sort of talk to everyone in Darcy’s, we visited. She told me she works at C&R Laundry and comes in three times a week. She orders soup. And she especially likes the homemade tomato version. For one thing, she said, it has less salt, which is the problem with most restaurant soups.
Knoephla soup is another big draw at Darcy’s. And I wanted to taste it. So did the Rev. William Sherman (WS), who along with Judge Joel Medd (JM), were my guests.
WS and I each had a cup of the knoephla and agreed it was perfect. It was smooth and tasty and made by Murphy. We both had burgers, which are sensibly sized and hand-pattied. The staff at Darcy’s is quick to tell you none of their hamburger comes frozen.
JM showed his individuality by ordering The Polka, one of 10 omelets on the menu. He enjoyed the unique ham, sauerkraut and melted Swiss cheese combination.
The coffee flows before, during and after a meal at Darcy’s. And coffee or tea is listed as 99 cents on the menu. It is 59 cents when it comes with one of the 12 breakfast combinations.
Darcy’s menu is extensive, with a long list of breakfast combos ranging from $3.59 to $8.29. There are omelets served with hash browns or American fries and toast as well as Grandma Knudson’s buttermilk pancakes.
Burgers come in one-third-pound size. Monstrous three-quarter-pounders also are available. The Murph burger is bacon, American cheese, barbecue sauce and beer-battered onion concoction.
People seem to eat hearty at Darcy’s. The cooks are Lee Glatt and David Bitz, along with Murphy. Our server, who was here, there and everywhere, was Julie Pyle. She was backed up by Michelle Hajicek. Melanie Lima is the “weekend warrior” server.
Darcy’s is very lively during rush hours despite being small. People seem to enjoy the togetherness.
If you need to use the restroom, you might have to ask someone sitting in front of the doors to move and let you in. It’s all part of the charm.
So are the blackboards with menu listings in colored chalk and the big frying pan clock near the door to the tiny, cramped kitchen.
Darcy’s has been around for years. The building was originally a gas station. Later, it turned into a cafe by Darcy Fonder, who also founded the Bronze Boot steakhouse.
Paul Murphy is passionate about the food served at Darcy’s. He said running a restaurant is sort of like playing hockey … in that you always want to get better.
He said he buys prime cuts of meat. He’s proud of the freshness of the eggs and the cooking from scratch. He said the batter for his Grandma (Adeline) Knudson’s pancakes is made daily.
Reach Hagerty at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (701) 772-1055.