There was a time when families had liver for dinner – or supper – once a week. And since I long have remembered liver is “good for you” I decided to order it when I stopped by Gramma Butterwicks this week.

This busy, everyday-style restaurant draws faithful, longtime customers who keep coming back. There are families with babies, elderly couples, workmen taking a break.

And people seem to have their own choice of a booth by the window, or a booth a step up. I like one of the comfortable stools at the counter. Some prefer the dining room which is large and inviting with windows and a variety of plants.

Liver and onions for $9.99 is listed among nine luncheon specials that include soup, salad or coleslaw and choice of potato. The other luncheon specials include country fried steak with gravy, sirloin and hamburger steak, roast beef, meatloaf, chicken strips, fillet of cod and shrimp.

My liver and onions was a nicely done meal – but I kept thinking it is still liver. As I ate I enjoyed the full meal and the chance to chat with people in nearby booths. They were ordering late lunches on a day in March. The menu lists breakfasts served anytime. They range from pancakes, eggs, bacon to Belgian waffles and French toast.

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There are sandwiches and sandwich combos that include everything from hamburgers of all descriptions to turkey melts, fish, chicken, French dip. There’s a BELT sandwich topped with bacon, egg, lettuce and tomato.

There are luncheon specials including roast beef and meatloaf as well as the liver and onions. There are senior specials for breakfast, lunch or dinner listings. And then a listing for kids under 10.

The staff at Gramma Butterwicks is experienced. The owners are long time restaurateurs in Grand Forks. The restaurant is owned and operated by Ruth Jenson and her son Terry Jr. It is one of the several local restaurants the family has operated over the years before the death of Terry Jenson. The late Terry Jenson in years gone by had been at the Bronze Boot. He operated Gordy’s, the Highway Host and the former popular restaurant in the downtown Dacotah Hotel. And Ruth Jenson also was working with other local restaurants.

These days, the bulk of the business at Gramma Butterwicks is breakfast with the Big Dog breakfast leading the way in orders. It includes two eggs, two sausage links, two slices of bacon and all you can eat pancakes or French toast. Then if you can still reach in your pocket, it costs $9.89.

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


Gramma Butterwick’s Family Restaurant

1421 S. Washington St.

Hours: 7 am. until 2 p.m. weekdays; 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekends

Owner-managers: Ruth Jenson, Terry Jenson Jr.

Telephone: 701-772-4764

Report card: A popular, friendly home-owned restaurant that draws a fair share of cars of South Washington Street and specializes in breakfast all day – along with a full dinner menu. Service is above average. There is seating for 110.