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THE EATBEAT: Reopened Emerald Grill serves basic food at reasonable prices

After sitting empty for six years, the Emerald Grill near Stamart has reopened. And old friends, as well as new customers, are stopping by.

They find the restaurant much the same. It is large, light and bright with windows all around. There are booths and tables and a division down the center with a big round table at the north end.

There is new dark green carpeting. And there are seats along the counter — handy for people who are alone or in a hurry.

On my first visit to the Emerald Grill, I tried the homemade soup with vegetables — much like mothers used to make. It was rich with carrots, green beans, potatoes and lean beef — a meal in itself.

I visited with Dean Bass who has taken on the role of head cook, or chef, at Emerald Grill. He has worked his way up in the business from his beginnings in 1985 as a bus boy at the old Elks Club. He worked for local restaurants including the Ground Round and the Bronze Boot and then Whitey’s. He said it was at the Pear Tree at the former Holiday Inn where he got his best training.

He is enthusiastic about his work. He has a special recipe for lasagna he has been featuring. And he will be featuring Mexican foods. He works with a large menu that is being developed. It includes hand-breaded and pan-fried walleye ($12.95) featured on Fridays. Other entrees are steaks, pork loin chops, cod and chicken strips.

The restaurant is also teaming up with RJ’s Pizza which is available now.

My second visit to the reopened Emerald Grill was on a recent afternoon. I decided to have an early supper of two scrambled eggs, bacon and one pancake ($6.95). The coffee was 99 cents. It was an adequate meal. The pancake that showed up covered a dinner plate and was graced by an orange twist.

On both visits, the service was friendly. My server was Marie Jorgenson. On my second visit, Michelle Stewart was on duty with her long hair pulled back the way restaurant inspectors like to see it. She’s an experienced server who has worked at several area restaurants and for Carol’s Cafe in Thief River Falls. She took a year off because of foot problems. But she’s back on the job with inserts in a new pair of SAS shoes that cost her more than $200.

Rodney and Charlotte “Charly” Hulst have leased the restaurant from Stamart and are optimistic about the future. They previously have sold pizza and Mexican food in Park River and Emerado, N.D. They are welcoming back customers who ate at the Emerald Grill before 2008.

Emerald Grill

1212 47th Street behind Stamart, Grand Forks.

Operators: Rodney and Charlotte “Charly” Hulst.

Telephone: (701) 757-3009.

Hours: 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

Seating for 140 to 150.

Report card: Recently reopened, the large Emerald Grill behind Stamart serves basic food for reasonable prices in a large, attractive and uncluttered restaurant.

Reach Hagerty at or (701) 772-1055.