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THE EATBEAT: Giuseppe’s takes pride in Italian fare

Marilyn Hagerty

The enthusiasm of Chef Chris Schultz shows up in the generally good Italian food at Giuseppe’s downtown restaurant in Grand Forks.

There’s an ongoing big demand for Balsamic Chicken ($18). The dish is made of pulled oven-roasted chicken, sun-dried tomatoes and fresh basil tossed with penne noodles in a balsamic Marsala Italian wine sauce. It’s topped with chèvre (goat cheese) and toasted pine nuts.

Another dish in strong demand is Chicken Penne a la Vodka ($16) made with pulled oven-roasted chicken, sun-dried tomatoes and mushrooms over penne noodles.

This June, Chef Schultz is branching out with other entrees including New York strip steak and seafood specialties including scallops. The small downtown café will be serving at tables on the sidewalk out front along DeMers Avenue, right across from the Empire Arts Center.

And Chef Schultz is developing his versions of the Italian dessert tiramisu. He said he started working with it when he was head chef at the Toasted Frog on North Third Street and continued when he served as head chef at the second Frog when it opened in Bismarck.

He takes pride in his versions of tiramisu created by trial and error.

Our appetites were sated to the point where only a few had an interest in dessert when I joined a group of friends for dinner at Giussepe’s in early May. There were 10 of us seated at the big long table in the small café. And we ordered a variety including Spinach and Egg Plant Lasagna, Sicilian Sausage and Peppers and Balsamic Chicken. My choice was Spinach Ravioli ($15), and I was well pleased. After a very generous and above average house salad, I opted to take half of the ravioli home.

Enjoying the food and the ambiance were Debbie Storrs (DS) and Tammy Howard (TH) who was sitting next to me.

“It’s good. It’s rich,” said TH.

“It’s a lot of cheese. I like cheese,” said DS.

Nathran Vonasek kept everything in order in his role as head waiter. He is among the crew of a dozen who keep things running at Giussepe’s. They know their jobs and they handle them well — right down to inviting guests to appealing chocolates as they depart.

Giuseppe’s Italian Ristorante

414 DeMers Ave., Grand Forks

Owners: Jeff and Nikki Tellmann

Executive chef: Chris Schultz

Hours: 5 to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday

Seating capacity: 42

Reservations: (701) 757-1020

Report card: With its focus on Italian food, Giuseppe’s has established itself as a well respected downtown café. Prices are moderate and quantities are large. Quality ranges from good enough to excellent. This summer, there will be an extension to the menu and seating outside on the sidewalk. Wine and beer available. 

Reach Hagerty at or (701) 772-1055.