Dickey’s Reopening August 1; Golden Corral to be Strip Mall

Barbecue fanatics, rest easy. Dickey’s Barbecue Pit will reopen on August 1, assuming everything goes as planned.

The owners of the Grand Forks location at the intersection of Washington and Demers apparently had to move, according to multiple tipsters and are selling the business.

Dickey’s closed up last month without any warning.

As for who the new owners are or will be, I have no idea. But here’s hoping everything goes well in getting the place up and running without any problems.

In other news, the former Golden Corral building on 32nd Ave. S. will soon be a new strip mall and it could house a restaurant or two. No word yet on what businesses will call it home, but I’ll let you know as soon as I hear!

The Curse of Washington and Demers

With the demise of yet another restaurant at the intersection of Washington and Demers in Grand Forks, I’ve been wondering: “What is it about that location that continues to curse any business that opens up there?”

Dickey’s Barbecue Pit took the place of Mi Mexico, which took the place of a long-vacant Hardee’s location.

But being one of the busiest intersections in the state does not guarantee business success, obviously.

To me, it’s an access issue. Because of how it’s situated, there are only two ways to get into the parking lot, northbound on Washington or eastbound on Demers. The location’s visibility is great, but that just does not seem to translate to any lasting customer base.

What are you thoughts? What would you ideally like to see take Dickey’s place at the intersection?

Late Fall Opening Expected for GF ‘Panera’

If you’ve driven on 32nd Ave. S. in Grand Forks lately, you likely have seen the big metal skeleton of a building being erected where Taco Bell once stood. In just a few months, it’ll be home to a new Panera Bread location.

Panera Bread

A Regional Marketing Manager for Panera tells me that they’re aiming for a late fall 2013 opening for the new store.

Also of note, it will have a drive-thru.

Stay tuned for further updates on the expected opening date.

Click here to study up on the menu. 

What’s Up With Dickey’s?

So Dickey’s Barbecue Pit, at the corner of Demers and Washington in Grand Forks, has been closed for the past few days. What gives?

Well from two pieces of paper posted on the front door, Dickey’s won’t be closed for long.

One sheet just read SORRY WE ARE CLOSED. Dickey’s

But another read “Dickey’s Barbecue closed due to mechanical problems and will re-open in a few days. We are sorry for any inconvenience.”

Now what these “mechanical problems” are, I have no idea. It must have been something really important like the smokers, but here’s hoping we won’t be deprived of delicious barbecue much longer!

UPDATE: I haven’t heard anything official, but this Dickey’s may be done. It’s off of the website’s franchise list when you look for Grand Forks. Stay tuned.

Darcy’s is Cozy, Down-home Diner

It’s heartening to see that places like Darcy’s Cafe are alive and well, even with the onslaught of corporate chain restaurants taking over. But judging from the number of pickups parking around the tiny cafe on North Washington the other day, Darcy’s shows no sign of slowing.

Darcy’s Cafe

A buddy and I met there for lunch, grabbing a small table right next to the door. And if you’re an especially late riser, don’t plan on getting a spot, as Darcy’s closes at 2 p.m. during the week and at 1 p.m. on weekends. It’s open at 6 a.m. weekdays and at 8 a.m. weekends.

There’s bar stool seating in the middle of the small room and tables around the perimeter. The two waitresses on duty when I was there were agile to say the least, quickly clearing tables and fast on their feet as they made their rounds. It’s a well-oiled machine of an operation.

I spotted the Murph Burger on the menu and I had to have it. Any burger with an onion ring and barbecue sauce on it is a must-order in my book. A cup of coffee was also needed.

Looking around before the food came, I saw all sorts of people, from the older folks who must be regulars at this point, to the sunburned construction workers, quickly shoveling in dishes before doing some more shoveling outside.

It’s the kind of place where you can chat up your neighboring table or just overhear the goings-on about town.

Murph Burger

The burgers are shaped by hand, according to the colorful chalk sign on the wall, and my Murph did not disappoint. While the patty did seem to be on the smaller side, it was really juicy. And the home-made onion on top was crazy good. That, along with the home-made barbecue sauce and deliciously crispy bacon strips made the burger one I’d easily have again.

The crinkle cut fries that came along with it were fine, if under-seasoned. They were at least piping hot.

At this point, Darcy’s is enough of an institution that you probably have already been there. But for me, being a first timer, it was a breath of fresh air. Food made from scratch, expert wait staff and a hometown feel make it a place I can’t wait to get back to.

Fabulous franks at GF’s ‘DogMahal DogHaus’

What’s better on a sweltering hot summer day than a juicy hot dog fresh off of the grill, slathered with ketchup and mustard?

Well, there may be a few things that come close, but for me, the hot dog is it. And now that Grand Forks has a combination record store, comic book shop and hot dog stand, I’m pretty excited. Continue reading

‘Phoenix Wok & Grill’ Closing

Phoenix Wok & Grill, at 2100 S. Columbia Road in Grand Forks, will close its doors this Friday, May 24.

The owners of the Chinese restaurant posted on their Facebook page that their five-year lease is up and this Friday will be their last day in operation.

You can see my review of Phoenix here.

Longtime fans of the place posted their thoughts to the page as well:

“Love you guys!!! Thanks for the amazing 4 and a half years of work!” Danika said.

“I’m going to miss the food, but I’ll never forget the memories made working for you guys!” Kirsten wrote.

“I will miss the times we all shared and the AMAZING food thank you all!” Daniel added.

Phoenix was named last year in the Grand Forks Herald’s People’s Choice contest as the best Asian/Chinese restaurant.

An Ode to Taco Bell

We gather here today to mourn the loss of a great friend.

A friend to some of us more than others. A friend to those of us who, with stomachs rumbling and aching at 1:55 a.m., were sustained by its cheesy gordita crunches or endless hard-shell tacos. Or the chicken burritos, the nachos, the crunchwraps supreme or the Mexican pizzas.

The Taco Bell on 32nd Ave. was laid to rest, at least in our hearts, where it will forever stand tall, even though its Earthly body is no more. All that remains on that hollowed piece of soil north of the Wal-Mart now are tiny remnants: A capped gas line, a weathered parking spot or maybe a long-discarded hot sauce packet.

But nay! Ye shall not mourn long. For soon a newcomer will shine its fluorescent lights bright again! A Panera will come and fill the void that the Bell has left. We all may miss those late night binges of yore, but our sorrows will be placated by bread bowls and healthy salads.

The winter of our discontent has started. But friends, summer and its doughy joys is near.

Anthony Bourdain talks Marilyn Mania at Minneapolis event

Intrepid traveler, writer and cook Anthony Bourdain was in Minneapolis this past weekend for a stop on his Guts & Glory tour, along with Minnesota transplant and fellow adventurer Andrew ZImmern.

Zimmern started the wide-ranging discussion Saturday night at the State Theater with a slideshow, asking Bourdain about each image. And one of those images was none other than Grand Forks’ own Marilyn Hagerty.

Bourdain is publishing a compendium of Hagerty’s restaurant reviews, Grand Forks, on August 27.

Bourdain piped up with graciousness about our fair lady and defended her against the “snarkologists” that had a field day after Hagerty’s review of the new Grand Forks Olive Garden went viral.

“I think to see somebody speak in a straightforward, non-ironic way about what they are seeing before them is refreshing. I felt I needed to do something,” Bourdain said on Saturday. Doing something meant publishing her book and sending her to New York to eat in some of the best restaurants in the world (and the Times Square Olive Garden).

“She’s invited me and Anderson (Cooper) to join her bridge club to learn how to play bridge and I would love to take her up on it,” Bourdain said, to which Zimmern replied, “You’re getting older and you should.”

The conversation on Saturday night was often hilarious and wide-ranging, from drug addiction to the woes of network television and to some weird things the two men have eaten. I was glad to have gotten the chance to see them.

But also in attendance was Matt Winjum, co-owner of the Grand Forks and now Fargo pizza empire Rhombus Guys. Winjum had a VIP pass, meaning he got to meet Bourdain and Zimmern after the talk. According to his Twitter account, he floated the idea to at least Bourdain that he should come to Grand Forks. He tweeted this picture:

Winjum with Bourdain and Zimmern

So might we see a Bourdain and Hagerty in Grand Forks, walking arm and arm down 3rd Street on their way to a delicious dinner at Sanders? And pizza at Rhombus Guys around the corner? Well, we can only hope.