THE EATBEAT: Food begins with the basics at Darcy’s CafeCall it cozy. Call it crowded. Call us lucky because we noticed four people moving out of a booth when we stopped by Darcy’s Cafe for brunch on a recent Sunday morning.
By: Marilyn Hagerty, Grand Forks Herald
Call it cozy. Call it crowded.
Call us lucky because we noticed four people moving out of a booth when we stopped by Darcy’s Cafe for brunch on a recent Sunday morning.
This is a small and unpretentious side-of-the-road type place. A place where people go for blueberry pancakes on Sundays and turkey dinners with real gravy during the week.
Darcy’s has been operated for the past four years by former UND hockey player, Paul Murphy, and his wife, Yvonne.
Their customers include hockey players and other UND athletes, along with regulars who have long stopped at Darcy’s in the morning for breakfast or coffee. Before the place was run by the late Darcy Fonder, it was known as Loft’s. It’s sort of a low-key tradition along North Washington Street in Grand Forks.
Buttermilk pancakes were flying out of the kitchen on a recent Sunday. People were sliding into seats around the horse shoe counter. Fortunately, customers were leaving as others were coming in. The restaurant is small, and the kitchen looks small, but it extends across the back of the building which houses a barbershop.
The creative menu features the usual array of breakfast items. Beyond that, there are unusual offerings such as German sausage with two eggs, toast or cakes for $6.59. Along with the regular run of omelets, you find one called “The Polka.” This is made with ham, sauerkraut and melted Swiss Cheese for $7.50.
I was eating with Earl and Jan Strinden (ES and JS). After considering the options, ES bravely ordered and enjoyed an omelet with corned beef hash. JS tried one of Grandma Knudson’s blueberry buttermilk pancakes. She asked for a medium-sized cake, and it covered a dinner plate. More than she could eat. And like Plain Jane, I ordered two eggs over-medium with wheat toast. Then, I went heavy on the strawberry jam.
Murphy has found in the past four years that he can attract customers with a creative menu and quality ingredients. He boasts of the prime, hand-cut sirloin steak he serves, and he uses a recipe for pancakes from his grandmother.
Unlike many restaurants, the food begins with the basics at Darcy’s. During the week there are turkey and roast beef dinners. There are barbecued ribs and sirloin steak.
Murphy believes in “real cooking” and hires experienced cooks to work in the kitchen. Servers are nimble and friendly. They don’t bring water to the table, but they ask if you want it.
You can get them bigger, but burgers are a third pound at Darcy’s. There’s a German Burger with grilled sauerkraut, onions and Swiss cheese for $6.25 and a Piggy Biggy burger with smoked ham, bacon, American cheese and barbecue sauce, also $6.25. And you wonder why anyone would need ham and bacon on a burger.
Although, he can’t compete with McDonalds, Murphy charges 59 cents for coffee with a meal and 99 cents for just coffee.
1015 N. Washington St.
Owners: Paul and Yvonne Murphy
Hours: 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday; 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday and Sunday
Telephone: (701) 775-4050
Report card: Quality food served in small, everyday setting with seating for 40. Friendly ambience. Emphasis on food prepared in kitchen rather than heated up in microwaves.
Homemade apple pie and caramel rolls show up regularly.
Reach Marilyn Hagerty at email@example.com or by telephone at (701) 772-1055.