Top Ten Tasty Treats
The communities of Grand Forks and East Grand Forks offer tasty dishes from a number of local hot spots. Because I am a local, I know where to find the best treats in town and what to order. Next time you are in Grand Forks, check out these edible treasures:
10. Criss-cut fries and gravy at the Big Sioux Truck Stop may not be “heart healthy”, but they sure are tasty. The Big Sioux offers a full menu of comfort food items right off Interstate 29.
9. The chili at Bonzer’s really sticks to your ribs particularly in the winter months. This thick and spicy concoction comes with all the toppings. While you are there, grab a schooner filled with one of their many variety of beers or their specialty Long Island Teas.
8. The grilled Alaskan King Salmon with Sanders 1907’s own special North Dakota Prairie Sauce will melt in your mouth, especially when accompanied by the garlic mashed potatoes. This fine dining establishment offers a delectable array of gourmet food items, including “Sushi Thursdays”, in downtown Grand Forks.
7. While the Parrot’s Cay may be a little off the beaten path, their wings are worth the extra few minutes it may take to find the place…where patrons comments are shared right on the walls. With your choice of spicy sauces rated from one to 15, even the most delicate taste buds can enjoy the wings. I have never made it past a five, but I have heard stories of those that venture all the way to 15!
6. While the Blue Moose in downtown East Grand Forks offers a huge menu with a variety of options, including the PBEB [peanut butter, egg and bacon] Burger and a large tapas menu, my favorite is the fish tacos with blackened mahi mahi, lettuce, black bean corn salsa and pepper jack cheese wrapped in a flatbread. Don’t forget to accompany it with a frosty cold beer from one of the 40 tap lines in the Moose’s “Back 40” lounge.
5. The Toasted Frog, located along the banks of the Red River in a historic building downtown, is known for such items as the fried cheesy pickles, lavosh, wood-fire pizza and, of course, frog legs. My ultimate fave is the angus burger. I found this because my husband ordered it one night, and now it is my top choice. This is no ordinary burger – it is infused with garlic, shallots and thyme, and then topped with Havarti cheese and all the standard fixings. Follow it with one of the outstanding desserts, and you will leave happy!
4. Al from Al’s Grill has become somewhat of a local celebrity because of his Tips & Toast specialty. These sirloin beef tips in sauce with peppers, onions and mushrooms, accompanied by garlic toast, will make your mouth water. A great side item is also Al’s famous baby red potatoes with cream sauce. This meal will keep you coming back for more. Al also caters, so you can have this down home food at your next gathering.
3. Since North Dakota is one of the largest potato producing states in the US, doesn’t it make sense that we would make a lot of potato chips? Well, we also cover those chips with chocolate; at least George Widman, owner of the historic Widman’s Candy Shop, does. Even though the concept of a “Chipper” may sound strange, I guarantee once you try it, you will be hooked. George creates a lot of unique sweet and savory combinations including covering sunflower seeds, jalapeños, olives, and another one of my favorites, pickles, in his delectable homemade chocolate. Part of the fun of Widman’s is getting to meet George. He won’t let you out the door without a sample!
2. The Kegs, literally shaped like two large root beer kegs, is a classic drive-in that may look a little funny, but you won’t find a better Sloppy Joe anywhere. Don’t forget the pickles, cheese and lots of napkins when ordering your “Joe”, because they are “sloppy”. I accompany mine with a quart [yes, a quart] of Cherry-Lime Coke. I also dare you to find fries and onion rings that can top the Kegs. This restaurant is only open seasonally, so make sure you get there while the weather is warm.
1. “The Grinder” at the Red Pepper is my #1 favorite local treat. With two locations [the Original hasn’t changed its décor or menu in three decades] this is a favorite of locals, UND students, former residents and visitors. While the environment is “eclectic”, the food is legendary. “The Grinder” is not your ordinary sub sandwich. While what meat you choose [salami, ham or turkey] is a personal preference, you can’t enjoy it without the famous taco meat and white sauce [I order extra, extra white sauce]. While there, you should also sample the tostadas, enchiladas and the famous “garbage plate”. After sampling “The Grinder”, you may end up as one of the many devotees who order Grinder kits via overnight delivery.
More details, addresses, websites and more can be found in the Dining Section of www.visitgrandforks.com. You can also follow us on Twitter or Facebook for regular tips and updates about local, simply grand cuisine.