Eatbeat: Takeout meals popular in Grand Forks

Customers have many choices.

Marilyn Hagerty

Somehow shrimp scampi tastes better to me inside the Olive Garden than in a take-home format. But in these days of coronavirus, dinner at home has its appeal.

So I sat comfortably eating a shrimp scampi dinner from the Olive Garden at home this week. I missed the ambiance inside of the big restaurant with the music, the buzz of people, the servers. But in these times, space required between customers has changed all of that.

Many restaurants in the Greater Grand Forks area are sending out meals through delivery services or depending on pickup. Olive Garden is featuring take-home entrees with servers bringing out orders to customers in waiting cars.

And there are a few cars outside the main doors in the evening as early at 5 p.m. After checking over the easy-to-read menu, I chose shrimp scampi and waited 20 minutes or so for my order.

It was delivered to the car, which sat at a convenient parking space near the door. Once home, I found the shrimp delightfully sautéed in a garlic sauce. And, as the menu promised, tossed with asparagus, tomatoes and angel hair.


Though I really don’t care, the menu also told me I was eating 510 calories.

The meal was ample. The salad was enough for two. There were leftovers that eventually found their way out the back door. Overall, I was pleased with the meal I picked up. Food delivery and pickup has become a widespread practice in the area.

Traffic in downtown Grand Forks seemed light this week. There was no problem finding parking space on North Third Street after an outing to see the lights of Christmas in Lincoln Park.

Applebee’s recently reported a massive increase in telephone orders for meals to go out. At Paradiso, takeout was recently reported to be about a third of the business in these days of coronavirus. And there is curb service.

With seating limited inside, Darcy’s small café on North Washington Street has come up with a solution. Customers find they can from outside pick up hearty meals, such as turkey and meat loaf, by calling ahead.

The Olive Garden is featuring $5 take-home entrees along with purchase of classical menu items. The dining room, which seats 298, is limited to seating for 150. And with December moving in, the requests are more for hearty fare and soups, according to Rickey Ward, general manager.

Reach Marilyn Hagerty at or by telephone at (701) 772-1055.

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