Del's, Grand Cities Mall Owner-operators: Laura and Becky Hanson. Hours: 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily, including Sunday. Seating for 99 in three sections. Average tab: $7. Report card: Easily understood menu rates an A. Service is good. Food is basic. Roast beef, mashed potatoes, homemade pie. Ordinary food at favorable, moderate prices is what you find every day of the week at Del's Restaurant. It's a small, unpretentious place tucked in the corner of Grand Cities Mall near Kmart.
Shining in the evenings above the heart of Grand Forks is the relatively new restaurant called Sky's, located at the corner of DeMers Avenue and North Fourth Street. With many of the same staff, it is the successor to the former Sanders 1907 restaurant at 22 S. Third Street. While the mission is fine dining, the new Sky's offers informal fare in the lounge and bar. The main dining area is resplendent with tiny lights that glow above the tables with crisp, white tablecloths.
Moo goo gai pan with pork fried rice and sweet and sour chicken ($5.55) was my choice from the lunch menu at China Garden Restaurant. My friend Marijo Shide (MS) ordered another lunch combination of chicken egg foo yung with sweet and sour chicken and pork fried rice.
It hardly seems 10 years have passed since Jonathan Holth and Shawn Clapp opened their unique Toasted Frog restaurant in downtown Grand Forks. In May, they will be marking a decade as one of the most popular meeting and eating places in the area. They also have opened successful restaurants in Bismarck and Fargo. The menu features appetizers including sweet potato fries and Vietnamese-style shrimp. There are sides and dinner versions of salads and soups including frisee — a slow-poached egg, with bacon lardons and lemon Dijon vinaigrette.
For those who go regularly to Wendy's, ordering is quick and easy. For those who stop in now and then, it can be a problem understanding the many intricate choices. But customers generally flow right along as they place their order, grab a tray, select their beverage and choose a table in the main area with seating for 95. Or they move on out to an extension, where there are lots of windows and a variety of tables.
On Wednesday and Thursday evenings, they offer a pound of wings and a pitcher of domestic beer for the low price of $12. And that helps pack the house at Parrot's Cay, a small eating and drinking place on 36th Avenue South. The wings are coated, most often in a Shark Sauce. It comes in various levels of spiciness, from three to 40. And the menu warns anything over the level 12 will leave you sweating. Customers also can get wings with buffalo garlic ranch, Thai, jerk, blackened, peanut butter or captain's barbecue sauce.
There's an informal, family-style feeling inside Speedway 805. While the restaurant is set back from 42nd Street, students and faculty from UND have no trouble finding it. The large, everyday bar and restaurant, with seating for 260, draws people who are hungry and maybe in a hurry. When Jack's four-piece chicken dinner is featured on Wednesday evenings for $8.98, it draws 45 to 70 orders. The chicken is prepared by Jay Dunnigan and named after his father. The dinner had its beginnings in Langdon and came to the Speedway by popular request.
With its long-time, professional staff, the renovated Aroma Restaurant continues its steady and predictable service in the Ramada Inn. Long-time local patrons are finding their way, especially on Sunday mornings, to the renovated dining area. Or they come for quiet luncheons during the week. The restaurant, along with extensive dining areas of the hotel, were part of a recently completed renovation of the Ramada. The seating is more comfortable, and streamlined colors of maroon, silver and black prevail.
The Eatbeat visited early on when Rhombus Guys Brewing Company opened its unique grub pub, at 116 S. Third St., last fall. And the Eatbeat has been back checking out the food in recent weeks. The consensus: Very interesting. Different. And the food is more than an afterthought. More people seem to be discovering the food in the brewing company. The menu is brief and easy to navigate. There are foods for sharing, such as the unique Scotch eggs and street tacos. There are fries, salads and sandwiches. Entrees include fish and fries, bangers and mash, and shrimp and grits.
Dianne McWilliams does not go running on the Greenway when she finishes work. Nor does she work out in a gymnasium. She goes home and sits down in her chair and turns on the television. Two of her three children still live at home. She's been a waitress at Perkins on Columbia Road for 36 years. And after an eight hour shift, she is ready for a rest. But she's up at 4:30 a.m. five days a week and starts working at 5:30 a.m., on her seven hour shifts. She wears a nametag that says "Serving guests since 1980."