THE EATBEAT: Aggie’s Sunshine Cafe quietly marks its first birthdayAggie’s is a quiet, comfortable, clean-feeling place for lunch. It lends itself to visiting.
By: Marilyn Hagerty, Grand Forks Herald
Now and then, readers tell me about a little restaurant near the Hilton Garden Hotel. I say, “Yes, I know. I wrote about it early last year when it was quite new.”
Recently, I had an opportunity to revisit this place in the REAC building near the hotel. It is called Aggie’s Sunshine Cafe. It is operated by Aggie Gooden, who is chief bottle washer, cook and waitress. She started out tentatively on her own. That was after the job she had with the Hilton Garden Inn ended at the time their lunch service was discontinued.
The cafe is open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. It’s a nice, inexpensive place to go for lunch that is like what you might get at home — only better.
I was meeting Stephanie Flyger (SF), news director for Studio One at UND. She grew up in Pierre, S.D., and we figured we had some things in common.
We talked. We enjoyed homemade spaghetti with a breadstick on the side. We also had a small dessert.
The cost of the meal was $6, which included tax. Aggie prices everything in round numbers and includes tax to keep paying simple. She takes only cash or checks — no credit cards.
She has regular customers who keep coming back. Among them are Diane and Steven Swanson. They stop every day, attracted mainly by the homemade soups.
There were three soups in big kettles when I was there with SF on Feb. 1. There was a neat salad bar with 26 choices including hardboiled eggs, salads, fresh vegetables, fruit, lettuce and spinach.
Aggie’s is a place where you don’t feel guilty having a dessert. She makes them small and sensible.
SF had a small piece of chocolate brownie cake with vanilla icing laced sparingly on top. It looked so good I followed suit. This was perfect because it was not excessive. Aggie told us she found the recipe, which calls for Hershey syrup, in a magazine.
Salmon chowder long has been the soup star at Aggie’s. I would vote for the turkey noodle, which I brought home in a large Styrofoam cup ($2).
The menu is short and straightforward. There are eight choices of sandwiches ranging from $6 to $8. Soup and salad bar is $8.
There are specials for $6 each day. They include hot roast beef sandwich with mashed potatoes and gravy on Mondays. On Tuesdays, there’s a taco salad in a tortilla shell. Wednesdays are spaghetti days. On Thursdays, there are two sloppy Joes with a side order. On Fridays, the special is a bowl of chili and grilled cheese sandwich.
There are pluses and minuses. About the only minus I found was the breadstick with the spaghetti was sort of soft. It could have used a little more time in the oven.
Aggie’s is a quiet, comfortable, clean-feeling place for lunch. It lends itself to visiting. A couple of dozen people saunter in each day. There is a meeting room owned by the REAC center, and Aggie occasionally serves lunch for meetings there.
There are floor-to-ceiling windows along the south side of the small cafe. They give a nice open view to the southwest side of Grand Forks. The floors are concrete. Tables vary in size.
Aggie had been in the restaurant business about 15 years before venturing out on her own. She tried working in an office once but said being confined to a desk made her nervous. She likes to study recipes and try new things.
Reach Marilyn Hagerty at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (701) 772-1055.