Eating the ‘Veggie’ Way in Grand Forks

By Jenni Gleason

There is good news for vegetarian diners, as recent studies show that a diet of plant based food can actually lower blood pressure.

Vegetarian plates these days offer many different options and, what’s more, there are a wealth of gourmet restaurants and variety of menus to choose from in the Grand Forks area and across North Dakota, meaning that veggies can enjoy a whole range of dishes prepared and cooked locally.

News for Vegetarians

Grand Forks Herald published a story from Reuters about the new study, which shows that cutting out meat and eating plenty of vegetables, legumes, fruit and also dairy, can have a positive effect on your health. The research was carried out by the National Cerebral and Cardiovascular Center in Osaka, Japan. Vegetarians were found to have a lower blood pressure than meat eaters. The ideal diet involves low fat and high fiber content, which can be found in vegetarian meals, making them perfect for staying fit and healthy. Researchers emphasized that it is the plant-based foods that are low in sodium and high in potassium, which lowers the blood pressure.

Typically, ‘individuals who adhere to vegetarian diets are likely to use fewer processed foods’, stated the article, making their diets naturally healthy. As we become more aware of dining on fresh, locally prepared food, our knowledge of how bad processed food can be for us is growing, and we are taking care of what goes onto our plate.

Nutrition

Food from plants is healthy for us, but how do we make sure we are getting enough nutrition from it? The vitamins and minerals may be difficult to absorb. In order to avoid deficiencies from a vegetarian diet, Kwikmed.org advise diners should make sure they pick from a range of different foods ‘which are naturally rich in micronutrients’ so that their bodies are getting enough goodness to stay healthy. Wholegrains, nuts, seeds, pulses, fruits and vegetables are a great way of ensuring you will absorb enough nutrients, and vegetarian plates served in gourmet restaurants offer a variety of goodness to address just this. Protein, surprisingly, is present in many more foods than we realise; not just in meat, so most of us consume enough without realizing it. Pulses and wholegrains are particularly good sources of protein. The key is to include a variety of foods and the right levels that your body needs to consume, perhaps focusing on iron, calcium, zinc and vitamin B12.

Vegetarian Restaurants in Grand Forks

Whatever you want to eat, from lunchtime snacks to evening gourmet meals, Grand Forks has a wealth of vegetarian eateries to satisfy your hunger pangs.

Amazing Grains Food Coop serves up a terrific menu of soup and homemade bread; it has a hotbar and a deli too and is a popular choice for locals and visitors to the area. Located in the heart of Grand Forks, the food is preservative free, without any other additives, so you know you are getting a healthy bite to eat. Many of the foods here are organic, and the bakery also offers organic meat and chocolate.

At Dakota Harvest Bakers you can sit down to a sandwich or choose from a variety of soups, including vegan options, as well as a healthy salad. The menus here are changed frequently.

On Washington Street, why not stop for a bite to eat at the Pita Pit. Here they serve very fresh made to order pita sandwiches, with the Garden, Falafel and Hummus options being popular among diners. You can choose the vegetables and sauces you would like to go with your lunch, and vegetables include hot peppers, green and black olives, alfalfa sprouts, tomato, lettuce, mushrooms and pickles. Pita Pit prides itself on providing quick meals that are tasty but also healthy, ‘an exciting alternative to fast food restaurants’, which is why it uses a soft pita bread as a base and gives you a choice of some delicious fillings, including cheeses.

The Blue Moose Bar and Grill, on 507 2nd Street, East Grand Forks, is a popular venue for both meat lovers and vegetarians. Choose from pub cheese snacks or spinach con queso, made with creamy pepper jack cheese and spinach and served with tortilla chips. There are stuffed jalapenos to taste, onion rings and an olive and cheese platter for two to share, sautéed zucchini and squash and basil garlic artichoke hearts for vegetarians to enjoy at this great restaurant.

Grand Forks has a wide variety of restaurants, offering something for everyone, and the vegetarian eateries, with their range of mouth-watering dishes, are proving very popular.

Rhombus Guys Brewing Up Something Special

It’s exciting news from some of Grand Forks’ most successful restaurateurs, the guys behind Rhombus Guys.

After starting small in nearby Mentor, MN, bringing some serious slices to Grand Forks and then to Fargo, Matt Winjum and Arron Hendricks are upping the game considerably.

Hendricks and Winjum will be using their recently-purchased Opera House building space in Grand Forks to house a micro-brewery, or brewpub.

That is according to a job posting on BrewingWork.com

“There are fewer than 10 breweries in the entire state of North Dakota; this is a huge opportunity to be part of something very special.”

According to the posting, the Rhombus Guys are working with architects on a feasibility study for the space, just around the corner from their super successful pizza joint.

This is big news.

There currently isn’t a place in Grand Forks doing onsite brewing, so this is a very smart move by Hendricks and Winjum, in my opinion. There are already some people doing similar projects in Fargo, but the GF market is still wide open for something like this. And it will likely be incredibly successful, as the previous endeavors by these two have been.

We’re still quite a ways from knowing what sort of food will be served alongside the brews, but count on it being tasty.

It’s great that they are deciding to invest more and take a chance on something new in Grand Forks. We need more entrepreneurs like Hendricks and Winjum.

Get Yer Timbits! December Opening Eyed for GF Tim Horton’s

It’s exciting news for the Canucks among us and others who just love a good, hot cup of coffee and delicious donut: The new Tim Horton’s location in Grand Forks should be open by the middle of December.

There’s no official open date yet, they tell me, but that should be coming along soon.

Timmy’s started serving coffee at the Ralph Engelstad Arena last weekend.

The location is just east of the Alerus Center and in a brand-new strip mall on S. 42nd St.

Take some time to bone up on the menu before the opening. I’d recommend a ten pack of Timbits and a large coffee to stave off the cold.

I’ll let you know when I get a firm opening date.

Bad News: ‘Chacherz’ Looks Like it’s Closed

Bad news, everyone.

After some quick shopping this morning, I was looking forward to bringing my visiting sister to Chacherz in the Grand Cities Mall. But as we walked closer, we noticed no activity. Walking up to the small restaurant across from Rumors Bar, it was gated, with a “for lease” sign on it.

It looks like my beloved Chacherz is closed once again.

Chacherz

It was the best and most authentic Mexican fare in Grand Forks or East Grand Forks. There were home-cooked Tex-Mex specialties and tortillas made in house. I loved the dive-y aspect of the place, eating on Styrofoam plates with plastic utensils, an ice cold can of Coke in hand to wash down the deliciousness. Alas, the place is no more.

With the also-great Mi Mexico closing a while back as well, we’re certainly hurting when it comes to good Mexican food in town. Over in East Grand Forks, Casa Mexico does a fine job and it’s the place I would recommend (the only one, really) to someone visiting from out of town.

One thing, though, that really needs some thought from those of you who might be entrepreneurial: Grand Forks desperately needs more food trucks. In Fargo, for instance, there are quite a number that serve great burritos, authentic tacos and one truck even does Italian food.

My heart is heavy to report the demise of Chacherz. Perhaps the rent was too high and the owners are planning a re-opening? I don’t know. If you do, write a comment below and calm our collective despair.

RIP Chacherz.

Panera is Here

So after an agonizing few months, Tuesday marked the first day that the Grand Forks Panera was open for business.

To be honest, I don’t really understand the enthusiasm, so that’s why I’m asking you: Did you check out Panera yet? Will you be a regular? What’s good, what’s bad, what are you looking forward to trying?

Leave me a comment.

Grand Forks ‘Panera’ Location Opening October 8

While Fargoans have just had their Panera Bread hankerings quenched with the opening of the first North Dakota location, Grand Forks fans will have to wait a bit longer.

I just heard from a local marketing coordinator for Panera that the Grand Forks location will open on October 8 at 6 a.m.

So get ready.

The store at the former Taco Bell location on 32nd Ave. S. right in front of Wal-Mart has a drive-thru, so getting your fix will be even faster.

 Check out the full menu here

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.