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The Eatbeat: Meet up at Applebee's for familiar favorites

It doesn't matter what time of day it is, I usually order the Oriental chicken salad ($11.99) when I visit Applebee's restaurant.

But I strayed from the usual and ordered a Clubhouse sandwich on my visit early in July. This very large sandwich was far more than I could eat. I wondered why I ordered a side of onion rings because that was a tad too much. And the coating kept slipping off the onion rings.

Applebee's has built up a strong midday and supper dining clientele since it opened in Grand Forks before THE FLOOD of 1997. Greg Renz has been general manager before and since that time.

I like the way they greet you at the door and guide you to seating at Applebee's. I like the window view of the outside world from three sides. I rarely sit in the central, lower area which is busier with bar sales as well as food during the evenings.

As I studied the summer menu at Applebee's I noticed a promotion for Bourbon Street Steak with "big flavor" from New Orleans and served with crispy red potatoes. The dinner menu features chicken and seafood. Then there are daylong specials for pasta, salads and burgers.

For customers who are alert, Applebee's marks spicy items with a little red circle. And there's a little green circle for lighter choices.

I never notice such things unless I am dining alone. And I never have a chance to visit with the server. This past week, however, I visited my server, Lavenia Ybanez. She told me she is here from the Philippines on a program to practice English.

I asked her to explain to me the Presto machine—the likes of which are hitting restaurant tables these days. They make it possible for children to be amused doing drawings. They are used for paying the check without having your credit card leave your sight.

I guess this is good.

The one I saw gave me a choice of paying the tip for 20 percent or 40 percent. The clubhouse sandwich was $11.99, and I wondered why not $12. The onion rings were $2.49. And the diet Pepsi was a whopping $2.79 as time and prices keep marching on.

As I gathered my notes and belongings, I passed by Barb and G. Paul Larson. She told me she had ordered the Oriental Salad.

Applebee's is indeed a good place to meet up with friends. I recently enjoyed an evening dinner with former UND journalism professor Richard Aregood and his wife Kathleen. Along with Rosemary Hoverson and Tim Brakke. The Aregoods were back for a visit from Philadelphia.

Applebee's Neighborhood Grill and Bar

2851 S. Columbia Road

Grand Forks, N.D.

Telephone: (701) 795-5688

Manager: Greg Remz

Hours: 11 a.m. to midnight Sunday through Thursday with 1 a.m. closing after Friday and Saturday business

Seating for 200

Average tab: $14 dinner, $10 lunch

Report card: Well organized staff; friendly greetings. Oriental chicken salad has a following. Excellent parking all around attractive brick building. Extensive, informative menu, but may be a tad confusing for newcomers.

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

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