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Eatbeat: Sky’s Fine Dining becoming hot spot in downtown Grand Forks

Marilyn Hagerty

Soft lighting and white tablecloths distinguish Sky’s Fine Dining in downtown Grand Forks. Cloud 9 Lounge is emerging as a late afternoon gathering place at Sky’s restaurant. Patrons reach the second floor lounge and restaurant by elevator or escalator.

The restaurant has established itself as a leading dining spot in this area. And it has added Sunday morning brunch along with the Cloud 9 lounge menu.

Now late afternoon pub sandwiches and lahvosh along with appetizers are developing a following. Before a recent basketball game, a Smokehouse Burger ($14) was just right. Along with sandwiches, the Cloud 9 Lounge offers appetizers including duck tacos for the adventurous.

Overseeing Cloud 9 lounge is Richie West, who is among the key owners who moved with others from the former Sanders restaurant and creating Sky’s in 2015.

Reuben sandwiches ($15) and lobster melt ($19) have their place on the Cloud 9 Lounge menu. There’s also lump crab cake and duck tacos.

These specialties are the pride of Chef Joe Hanson. He started out 22 years ago under the tutelage of Kim Holmes, the chef now retired who owned and operated Sanders.

It is the large dining room with high, high ceilings and windows that provide the almost magic feeling of dinner at Sky’s. There are tiny lights all around and a spacious feeling as dinner patrons study the menu. There is space between tables and no restaurant congestion.

Chef Hanson is enthusiastic about a wide range of choices at Sky’s. There’s everything from exotic sword fish to everyday bread pudding.

During a recent dinner with Mary Holz-Clause and Reg Clause from Crookston, we noticed 1907 roast caraway duck for $28. It’s served Friday and Saturday. Then there is an herb crusted lamb loin, also $28.

Dinner prices range from $19 for Voodoo Pasta to $47 for Wagyu Hanger Steak. And there was a New York Strip steak at $34.

The large dining room with seating for 116 seems to sit over and above the cold of winter. There are the lights all around. Service is good. Unhurried.

It can be quiet. And the quiet is conducive to good conversation. There is no feel of hustle and bustle.

Sky’s Fine Dining

Suite 200, 322 Demers Ave.

Telephone: 701-746-8970

Owner-operators: Phil Giese, Richie West, Pat Madigan, Joe Hanson

Hours: 4 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday with Sunday brunch 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Seating: 45 in lounge, 115 dining, 50 in private dining area

Report card: Noted for fine dining, the restaurant operates with an experienced staff.  Popularity of the lounge as a gathering place has grown with a light lounge menu. Convenient parking. Spacious facility with upscale décor.