Tuesday, May 02, 2006

New poll time

Time to change the poll again. Check out the results of the previous poll, "What type of restaurant would you most like to see added to the new Columbia Mall food court?". The most popular answer was "Ethnic" at 40%. "Coffee shop" got 22%, "Fast food" received 20%, and "Bakery" garnered 16%. I must have covered the most popular restaurant formats with those options because "Other" only got 1% of the total vote.

It sounds like Taco Del Mar will be opening in the food court in the near future so hopefully that should satisfy the craving out there for ethnic food in the mall. Also, Starbucks has shown interest in the food court in the past. Guess we'll have to see how things turn out! I ate in the food court last week. It's really a nice place to have a meal...I'm so glad our mall finally has a food court.

Time for the new poll. This time, the question is "What would you like to see more of in downtown Grand Forks?". Feel free to comment on the poll or your vote here. I look forward to seeing what everyone thinks we need more of downtown. Happy voting!

34 comments:

Tu-Uyen said...

You've gotta be kidding me! Taco del Mar, ethnic? Dude that's ethnic like Taco John is ethnic. I heard we had an Indian restaurant downtown back before the flood. That woulda been nice.
Speaking of downtown, anyone try out Toasted Frog? It was open last night.

GrandForksGuy said...

I know...but I don't think we can expect anything much more "ethnic" than that in a shopping mall. Taco Del Mar and Magic Chopstix...a trip around the world! Not sure about the Indian restaurant, but I know there was a Norwegian restaurant in the City Center Mall.

I heard that the Toasted Frog was open. I'll have to try it out. I'm anxious to see/hear what it's like. I like there sign on the building...it's cute, in a bizarre sort of way. Any idea when Dakota Harvest is going to open?

Anonymous said...

Noel's was a fantastic Indian restaurant located on DeMers between 3rd and 4th. I believe that it was specfically a Punjabi cuisine menu. It was a great addition to the town. They got whacked in the flood and never reopened.

Bummer, Noel was a very nice man also.

Anonymous said...

I went to Toasted Frog last night. The food and service was great. I thought it was weird that we had to seat ourselves though. Try it out!

Tu-Uyen said...

Haven't checked on the Dakota Harvest bakery in a while but the owners did say they'd open this month. I walked over there a couple weeks ago and it looked like it was coming along pretty well.

Anonymous said...

I thought the Toasted Frog and Joe Blacks both sucked! I am not happy with what is happening downtown.

Anonymous said...

"I am not happy with what is happening downtown." let me guess your the one who also wants to "blow up downtown" cause parking was a problem. What is happening downtown you don't like? it is becoming revitalized. The nightlife has picked up tremendously.

Anonymous said...

Dakota Harvest opens on Monday. I just printed thier menu off their website...I know where I'm headed for lunch!

Anonymous said...

My wife ran into The Toasted Frog last night, hoping we'd find another nice place for family or business dinners. She came out shaking her head at what is basically a martini bar. (NOTE: These were all the rage in DC about 3 years ago, and most of them have closed or changed format). I don't think downtown needs yet another bar. It needs either a NICE place that families can frequent or a place to take folks for business dinners (someplace maybe a step or two below Sanders would fit the bill).

We had hoped Capone's would fit the bill, but they seem to have a lack of, you know, actual Italian food on their dinner menu (we've been there twice for dinner and once for lunch. At least they have Italian food on their lunch menu). Don't get me wrong, the food was good at Capone's, but I can see them closing within the year. They're just too expensive for what they are: An expensive gimmick restaurant across from the Simplot plant. The last time we went was a Tuesday or Wednesday night and there were only 2 other tables occupied. We drove by there on Friday night at 7 or so and didn't see any cars in the lot. I hope they "wise up" and get some lasagna and pasta on the menu fast, or they're doomed. Pork loin with a mango chutney isn't exactly what Capone's should be serving. This town has been clammoring for an Olive Garden, and Capone's could step right up and serve GOOD, ACTUAL Italaian food at reasonable prices, and be packed every night.

Paolo's seems to be going downhill fast as well. The last time we were there the server messed everything up (because nobody seems to write things down anymore, and this was the 2nd visit in a row that this happened) and actually threw our (wrong) food onto the table. She barely managed to keep her pregnant belly (which was exposed) from flopping on to the table surface each time she came over, and had just a surly demeanor. At least the chicken fajitas were good as always.

At least we still have Marilyn Haggerty (MH) to give us non-reviews, a distinct lack of commentary on food, restaurant reviews for places in Milwaukee, and what seems to be an abnormal fixation on napkins.

Oh well, we seem to have a real bakery coming to town. That's good news. I hope.

Tu-Uyen said...

I was at Toasted Frog last night, too, and my feeling is the exact opposite. We do need a place like this, especially the nice concentration of bars that allows for easy hopping back and forth. I always envied downtown Fargo for its bar scene and for the Hotel Donaldson and now we've got something similar. Pricing for drinks seems a little stiff but they are quite good.

On the other hand, I think we've got plenty of family restaurants but few of any distinction. We need something that's not Italian-American or Chinese-American or Mexican-American.

By the way, let me clue you in to Marilyn Hagerty's column. When she starts talking about the decor and the napkins, it means the food is nothing to write about. Marilyn's just too nice to say so.

GrandForksGuy said...

At least we still have Marilyn Haggerty (MH) to give us non-reviews, a distinct lack of commentary on food, restaurant reviews for places in Milwaukee, and what seems to be an abnormal fixation on napkins.

She does love complaining about flimsy napkins...

Anonymous said...

She makes inane and art form.

Anonymous said...

We don't need "bar hopping" convenience, or a "bar scene." Grand Forks ranks #2 in the country for adult male binge drinking, only behind San Antonio. I think that residents have enough opportunity to bar hop. Don't Babylon/Joe WhateverItIsThisWeek/Bonzers/The Hub/Sanders/etc. that are all within walking distance of each other provide enough bar-hopping opportunities for you?

Most people are not into "a scene" of any sort. They just want to walk away sated and thinking they got their money's worth, even if it is more moeny than most places require. What we need is more impetus for people, espcially families, to move to Grand Forks, then decide that they have enough to stay here. And yes, restaurants do that. In fact, we did that long ago, thinking that "Well, at least we'll have Sanders, and maybe something else good will open." So far, this has not happened.

I know we have plenty of family restaurants, and the lack of distinction was exactly my previous point. Let's get them to raise it up a few notches. However, it doesn't help that the restaurant reviews, which could serve to inspire restauranteurs for strive for success, don't do anything but serve as a vehicle to "not offend." "If you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything" is abominable journalism, especially in critique of the service industry. Offend! Call them out! Other than making suggestions when you are in the establishment, a newspaper/online review is the best way to get them to improve. Restauranteurs (and migrant workers who just so happen to own restaurants, as MH pointed out in her initial "review" of Paolo's) need to know what's going wrong just as much as they do what's going right. Tom Sietsma (WP)and Frank Bruni (NYT) know how to make it happen. Why can't it happen here, as well.

I do agree with you, however, that we don't need any more "-American" restaurants. I'm not expecting Ethiopian or Malaysian (although that would certainly make me want to stay here), but I'll take Vietnamese, Korean, or Thai in a heartbeat. Hell, how about a Greek place?

Anonymous said...

That was me ^^^^^^^^^^^, the original "complaining" guy.

Anonymous said...

Whoever ^^^^^^^^^ is, the points he or she makes are thoughtful and well intended. There's no creativity in concept or menu in GF restaurants, no matter what the ethnic influence. And fresh? Forget it. At least we'll have Dakota Harvest, in addition to Sanders, that prepare items from scratch using homegrown ingredients.

Anonymous said...

The # of bars/restaurants with booze is the cause of binge drinking?

Now I'm starting to get it.

(Don't go off on me angryguy...I love your rants!)

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know why the Herald puts up with Marilyn Hagerty's dining drivel? I appreciate her viewpoint when it comes to an historical perspective, but her restaurant columns are mired in bland, repetitve narrative.

I feel embarrassed for her and our entire community when she comments on the booths in the new McDonald's or as another blogger said, the skimpy napkins. What about writing an article about locally grown produce or doing some investigating to find out why there are not more ethnic eateries in town. Marilyn, be a reporter!

Anonymous said...

Me again.

"The # of bars/restaurants with booze is the cause of binge drinking?

Now I'm starting to get it."

That's not what I said. What I was implying was that if you are looking a place to drink, there are obviously plenty of people here who have no problem whatsoever finding watering holes. Unless you are too much of a scenester to go to the plethora of downtown bars, in which case you are lucky to be able to have your chocolate martini at The Toasted Frog. Drink up!

Tu-Uyen said...

Maybe drunks don't have a problem finding a drink, but if you're looking for a mojito, there's maybe two places in town (Toasted Frog and Sander's). You're oversimplifying by implying that a bar is a bar is a bar.

Anonymous said...

Ah, the mojito. You really ARE a scenester!

http://www.slashfood.com/2005/08/23/mo-heat-mojito/

Anonymous said...

Did somebody imply scenester and Grand Forks in the same sentence?

Irwin R. Fletcher said...

Did somebody act smug while ripping Marilyn Hagerty? Love it!

All this time I had been checking the girth of the napkins anytime I visit a new place. Now you inform me that's a bogus indicator?

I'd agree that any good businessperson can often times make more money listening to the detracors of the endorsements. It's a good thing for folks like us, looking out for the culinary tastes of the community. That said, to blame MH for bland restaruanteurs is laughable.

The sorry fact is that for of a town of this size and location, to get a good ethnic restaruant, you need to turn up someone with both the ethnic and business acumen. Around here that usually comes down to pure chance, sorry. If you'd like to spearhead a recruitment campaign, I am with you.

I'd like to hand it to those downtown throwing their hat in the ring, including the frog, joe black's, dakota harvest, babylon (new owners) and those who have been around longer. If you feel the frog's concept is passe, joe blacks is too bland or below you, then maybe they've missed the mark. I guess time will tell.

Anonymous said...

Me again.

"Did somebody imply scenester and Grand Forks in the same sentence?"
I mentioned this blog, and the mojitos, to my wife, and she actually laughed and said "Mojitos? Somebody has managing to be pretentious in Grand Forks?" Well folks, I guess so. Maybe it's too much Belle and Sebastion, or Franz Ferdinand on the iPod. I don't know.

"to blame MH for bland restaruanteurs is laughable."
That's not at all what I said. The restaurants are responsible for their bland food. Our beloved "voice of the dining community" in Grand Forks is responsible for not wanting to offend, and failing to bring their inferior food (is "suckiness" a word?) to their attention. Letting it happen when you can make a difference is almost as bad as making it happen, especially when you have the power of the press backing you.

I don't know how Joe Black's is, as I have yet to find the opportunity to bring the wife and kid in there. Is it kid/family-friendly? How does it compare to Joe Dimaggio's? The last time I visited Joe DiMaggio's, I asked how the meatball sub was. The waiter said "Kinda hard to screw up a meatball sub." Well, it is hard, yet they managed to do it. Bland meatballs and a bland sauce. Ugh. TRY PEOPLE, TRY!!!! I hope Joe Black's is better.

That said, I'm not one to complain about everything, even though it may seem like it. We just ate at The Blue Moose tonight, and had a great dinner, pleasant wait staff, and a decent bill. I've also been to Sanders many times and have always been satisfied. I've even had some great meals at inexpensive places (even the Panda Buffet). It's the lack of trying that gets to me (Konichiwas anybody?)

I do applaud people for throwing their hats into the ring, and I wish I could do more to help. But a little research and asking around could tell anybody that GF clamors for a decent gyro more than a mojito bar.

GrandForksGuy said...

Hey everyone, a simple request from GrandForksGuy...could you anonymous users start using some sort of name to differentiate yourselves from each other? I have always allowed anonymous posters because you seem to get a much higher comment volume that way. However, this comment system is set up so you don't need to sign up with blogger to have a name. Just select the "Other" option below and leave some sort of name for yourself. It makes it much easier for people to follow what's being said and who is saying it.

another grand forkster said...

In response to the last post by "me again" anonymous--no, Joe Black's is most definitely NOT family-friendly. We were turned back at 5pm on a Thursday because we had a "minor" with us. Both Joe Black's and the Frog are 21 and over only, and you will be turned back at the door if anyone in your party is under 21. Calling themselves "bars that serve food" rather than restaurants allows them to be all-smoking (though I hear the Frog is all-smoking only after 9pm), so they are not places you'd want to take your kids, anyway.

Is Grand Forks large enough to support two "restaurants" that are entirely for "scenesters"? Do we have that many scenesters?

Anonymous said...

Hey grand forkster, you're confused. As a result of the new no-smoking legislation, you must have a Class 1 liquor license to allow smoking. Along with the Class 1 license comes the no minor policy. These are not house policies. It's the law. As a matter of fact, Bonzers has upgraded to a Class 1 license to allow smoking. So...you can't even take a minor in for lunch to get a sandwich.

Thank your city council for this stupid, knee-jerk, legislation.

Anonymous said...

Hey grand forkster, what makes The Frog and Joe Blacks "scenester" establishments?

I've been to both and just don't see it.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to see a blues club downtown to provide more entertainment/dancing opportunties for the both the young and "young at heart". Some of you may remember the pre-flood days at Griggs Landing, which hosted the likes of "Kid" Jonny Lang, among others.

How about an ice cream parlor by the Town Square?

We could seriously use a variety of ethnic restaurants, too; India, Ethiopia, etc... I really miss Noel's Cuisine that used to be on DeMers. Fortunately, SNAG (Saturday Night at Amazing Grains) more than fulfills international cravings! French, German, Persian, Italian, you name it! All expertly prepared by local "chefs".

A general store would be nice, too. That will probably become a necessity once all the upscale apartments downtown are filled.

Parking will always be a problem. Too bad there's not a short jaunt park-and-ride shuttle system between the downtowns of GF/EGF. The city bus works well for me, but a short, downtown shuttle service might be a nice addition for visitors. People could park in the ramp next to the Metro Transit Center and take the shuttle to various restaurants and bars. Not sure how it would be funded, though.

Anonymous said...

I have been to Joe Black's twice and both times I walked away thinking why is this place here. The service was bad the food was worse! I really miss Dimaggio's. You always were full when you left. Someone should try to get them back here!

JS said...

Ah, yes, the real reason why Grand Forks' dining scene is so bland...comments like the previous poster made, which indicate that most people only care about quantity of food and they can't enjoy a dining experience unless it involves the gluttonous buffet. Well, yet another choice for them may be open soon with Golden Corral, who I suspect will completely abandon their sit-down menu (which does exist at other Golden Corrals I have eaten at) for this crowd. Just belly up to the trough, boys. Soooiiieee!!!!

Anonymous said...

Bland? are you kidding me. Joe D's had the best food in town. Maybe your from a different state or something? Joe Black's food was so bad plus you left still wanting to eat. I am only 175 and I don't eat much but the food there was so bad!

Anonymous said...

"I hope they "wise up" and get some lasagna and pasta on the menu fast, or they're doomed. Pork loin with a mango chutney isn't exactly what Capone's should be serving. This town has been clammoring for an Olive Garden, and Capone's could step right up and serve GOOD, ACTUAL Italaian food at reasonable prices, and be packed every night."

--that's funny, you see a restaurant named Capone's and you assume they should be serving Italian food. Capone's isn't an Italian restaurant...it's fine dining, like Sanders or Lola's (back in the day). And since when does lasagna and spaghetti qualify as "ACTUAL" Italian food. That's laughable. Capone's menu is heavy with pasta (lobster stuffed pasta shells, shrimp fettuccini alfredo, lucky luciano's chicken served over penne pasta just to name a few) it's BETTER than the same old lasagna and garlic bread and it's DIFFERENT. Different has always scared people.

Capone's is also IN-expensive if you actually take the time to think about it. You get your meal in courses, all inclusive from soup AND salad to sorbet, bread, entree, DESSERT, and wine or soda...for ONE PRICE. If you go anywhere, you're going to shell out an extra few bucks if you want soup AND salad, then a few more bucks if you want dessert...and that glass of wine is going to cost you even more. You leave Capone's not only full, but knowing you've been entertained.

I was there one night and they staged a prohibition bust! It was wildly entertaining, the staff is great at setting a scene, we felt like we were back in the 20's. I think it's great, if anything I think the people of the area who consider themselves cultured will catch up with the "theme" of Capone's and begin to enjoy the atmosphere as much as I know they'll enjoy the food if they actually give it a chance.

You think they'll close in a year? My prediction, they'll be in a better location and BOOMING by this time 2007.

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