THE EATBEAT: Bonzer’s sandwich list is long and variedThere are the regulars who gather at the long bar at Bonzer’s Sandwich Pub for food and drink. There are the occasional customers who stop in for “a bite to eat”. And some who come for mid-day meetings in the club room or for billiards.
By: Marilyn Hagerty, Grand Forks Herald
There are the regulars who gather at the long bar at Bonzer’s Sandwich Pub for food and drink. There are the occasional customers who stop in for “a bite to eat” before and after events at the Empire Arts Center right across the street. And some who come for mid-day meetings in the club room or for billiards.
What they find are sandwiches made to order in a fully equipped kitchen. They find homemade soups. And they find unique chili that is hot — but not too hot. Let’s say it is not bashful.
Ever since the Flood of 1997, Bonzer’s has carried on in a building on DeMers Avenue that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. To longtime Grand Forks residents, the place is known as “the Lander Building.”
There’s an ornate tin ceiling in the long, narrow bar. And on the walls, there is a vast historical collection of beer paraphernalia. It was collected over many years by Jon Bonzer, who “presides” behind the bar. With his wife, Cindy, he oversees the preparation of soups and sandwiches.
Over the years, I have been impressed with Cindy’s egg salad sandwich ($5.89). Somehow this basic sandwich becomes something special served on nine-grain bread. And since I am on an ongoing mission to find the best Reuben sandwich, I stopped by on a recent Saturday and ordered the Bonzer Reuben ($8.39). The thinly sliced pastrami was ample with just the right mix of Swiss cheese and Thousand Island dressing on dark pumpernickel bread.
Bonzer’s sandwich list is long, varied and exceeds offerings in most restaurants. The bread is picked up daily from Hugo’s bakery, and it provides a fresh quality. Sandwich Choices range from the Pub Club to Jon’s Special made with Polish sausage and Swiss cheese.
I have been drawn by the braunschweiger sandwich ($4.99). It’s served with mustard on rye. There’s a Pub Club, a Philly Dip and one called the French Quarter. The Bonzers claim it is the closest thing to a New Orleans muffaletta this side of North Bourbon Street.
The sandwiches are served with not too many crisp potato chips and dill pickle slices that are long, cool and crisp. And this adds appeal.
The menu features New York sandwiches right here in the Red River Valley. They include pastrami and Swiss, roast beef, salami and cheddar. The sandwiches ($9.99) come with a cup of homemade potato salad ($2.79).
Bonzer’s Sandwich Pub
Downtown at 420 DeMers Avenue.
Owner-operators: Jon and Cindy Bonzer
Hours: 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Saturday; closed Sunday
Telephone: (701) 775-0365
Report Card: High marks for the wide variety and freshness of breads in a vast selection of sandwiches. The price is right at mid-range. The menu is long on imagination and appeal and makes Bonzer’s a unique casual spot.
Reach Marilyn Hagerty at email@example.com.