Eatbeat: Perkins goes beyond omelets and bacon
On a sunny day in late September, a big American flag was flying over Perkins restaurant on South Columbia Road. Another flag across the way was billowing from the Altru Hospital grounds.
And I said to myself, “Marilyn, it’s been a long time since you have eaten a full, healthful meal.”
Good, easy parking is a plus at Perkins. Once inside, I was seated in a booth with a menu in hand. I ordered grilled salmon, broccoli and a baked potato. And the menu told me in small print I was taking on 1610 calories for $12.99. The meal seemed to me just right.
Usually, I visit Perkins when it is swamped on Sundays or when it is quiet in the after supper or dinner hours.
There was a time, long years ago, when Perkins was known mainly as a place for breakfast. It was built here in 1980. Through the decades it has grown far beyond eggs, bacon, sausage and omelets. The menu features and gives the calorie count for soups, salads, burgers, sandwiches and dinners.
For many regular customers, the menu for those over 55 is a draw. It features all-day breakfasts as well as lunch and dinner choices.
This time of year, pumpkin pie is featured in the bakery display case. And pumpkin spice pancakes are back.
On weekday mornings, various groups meet for coffee at Perkins. There’s a radio sports review over KNOX on Saturdays. On Sundays, it’s an after-church favorite destination.
Then, because it’s close to the hospital, visitors tend to drop in – especially during mid-afternoon rest time, according to Tim Brandt. He has been owner for 25 years of the Grand Forks Perkins and is part owner of another in Billings, Mont.
Although it is a large restaurant with seating up to 200, Perkins has a homey feel with three sections. There are windows all around.
Simon Stang, restaurant manager, works with a staff of around 60 full and part time employees. The servers wear black shirts and trousers. Stang says UND students don’t seem as interested in jobs as they once were.
There is relative peace and quiet when dining at Perkins mid-afternoon. There also is the presence of vacuuming machines.
Long time employees at Perkins include Diane McWilliams who started in 1980. And Stephanie Johnson who started the same year in the kitchen now comes in four days a week – with a smile on her face.
1305 S. Columbia Road
Hours: 6 a.m. opening; 10:30 p.m. closing Sunday-Thursday and midnight Friday-Saturday
Owner: Tim Brandt
Manager: Simon Stang
Chef: Randy McWilliams
Report card: Wide range of menu beyond breakfast to handcrafted sandwiches, burgers, fresh salads and supper skillets. Well organized seating and service in three sections. Servers are attentive and well know their areas. Menu with calorie counts is a bonus for some customers.