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Vintage Grand Forks


Today’s blog comes from Shel Zolkewich, a travel writer, blogger and friend to Greater Grand Forks.


If you’ve been visiting Grand Forks for a couple of decades or more, these destinations will be familiar. They’re tried and true places that have stood the test of time and garnered a loyal customer base. They’re all about quality, variety and deliciousness.


If you want to hang with locals, head to Speedway Grill & Bar. Tucked away on N 42nd Street, the spacious room is almost always packed with folks enjoying the blooming onion appetizer, prime rib special or two-for-one burger night.


The walleye dinner is a steal at $15. It comes with two sides (like all dinners), so be sure to include the baked beans which are a standout here. Dinners also come with a small loaf of warm bread—a nice touch. Get there before 6 pm and order a 25-ounce beer for $2.95. For me, a bowl of their outstanding chicken tortilla soup, a loaf of that warm bread and a big beer do the trick. But I seldom stop there because the ribs are just too good to pass up.


Occupying a corner of the Grand Cities Mall on South Washington forever, Jack’s Shoes is all about quality. Top brand like Merrell, Naot, Ugg, Ecco and Rockport will have you oohing and aahing in no time. Pick a pair off the shelf and expect compliments to follow. As an added bonus, your feet will thank you because not only are these shoes super stylish, they’re some of the most comfortable and long-wearing brands around.


Jack’s also stocks a huge selection of Smartwool socks. If Smartwool had a poster girl, it would be me. No other brands see the inside of my sock drawer. They’re made of merino wool—and it’s not the itchy, scratchy stuff of days gone by. They wick moisture away from your feet, always leaving you dry and comfortable and that’s an important consideration in our climate. Damp feet equal cold feet.


Call me sentimental, but I miss the comped relish tray that came with every dinner at Whitey’s. You can still order it, listed as chicken liver pate on the menu, but it will cost you $8. Even though there have been many changes since 1925, Whitey’s remains a favourite.


For dinner, I can’t resist the shrimp. Five huge pieces—some of the biggest I’ve ever seen at a table—plus a loaded baked potato. A starter must is the beer cheese soup, a super creamy, slightly beery and completely cheesy bowl that will leave you wanting a second.


The burgers have always been great at Whitey’s but they seem to be even better lately. The Black and Blue version boasts tangy bleu cheese piled high while the Juicy Lucy (so famous in Minneapolis) tucks the cheese inside. Both are moist and loaded with beefy flavour.


Home of Economy is headquarters for your lefse exploration. If you’re not familiar, is a traditional Norwegian flatbread and it’s popular in these parts. Making it requires some special tools and Home of Economy stocks grills, corrugated rolling pins, pastry boards, turning sticks and lefse mixes.


The store also carries furniture, boots, tools, outdoor supplies and a huge assortment of Carhartt pieces, not to mention a yummy selection of candies. It celebrates 75 years in business this year.

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