Thursday, June 07, 2007

Denny's to build next to Boston's

I've received a tip from a reader letting me know that Denny's has apparently picked a location for their new Grand Forks restaurant. Readers will remember that I first posted about the new restaurant back in December of last year (post).

According to my tipster, the location for the new restaurant will be on 32nd Avenue between Boston's and the LakeView Inn. Apparently, the land in question is owned by Boston's and they will be selling it to Denny's. I'm not quite sure yet exactly how this lot will be set up, but my tipster said something about creating a new lot partially out of the existing Boston's parking lot. When the council packet for this comes up, we'll probably be able to see a diagram.

The City Council will first discuss this proposal at their meeting on Monday evening. The plan was presented at last night's Planning and Zoning meeting. It will go back to Planning and Zoning on July 11 and to the City Council after that for final approval.

Update - 6/11/2007 - 1:47 AM
According to an article in Monday's Herald, the deal between Denny's and Boston's "fell through last week." The franchisee, based out of Minot, says that it's not easy to "find a piece of ground" in Grand Forks to build the Denny's. He adds that he wants an empty lot on 32nd Avenue South close to I-29.

What about the empty lot directly west of the Golden Corral? That would be a very visible location for a Denny's. How about the empty lot west of Wendy's? Maybe that lot wouldn't be quite big enough, but it too would be very visible. Personally, I would think the lot next to the Golden Corrall would be a very logical choice. Then again, I have heard rumors that that lot could end up being an Olive Garden...

I have to say that the proposal to build in the parking lot of another restaurant seemed a little goofy to me. It seems like a Denny's restaurant could end up attracting plenty of customers and, if they had gone in the Boston's parking lot, parking at both of the restaurants could have become insane. Also, wouldn't the franchisee like to locate right at a corner? Both of the above suggestions are at busy corners, are both on 32nd Avenue South, and are both easily accessible and visible from I-29.

52 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great scoop Grand Forks Guy! Do you think this will be tomorrow's leading story on WDAZ??

Reed said...

Denny's???
Great that's exactly what GF needs, a Denny's...yum, yum....more fine dining for GF...

Anonymous said...

reed - cry me a river...then build a restaurant if you hate the rest in town.

Anonymous said...

Deja vue all over again.

Similar observations, comments keep re-surfacing on these blogs.

Ya gotta love it...the laid-back lifestyle. :o)


And I do.

Anonymous said...

Not a fan of Denny's, just another greasy spoon, now that Jeannies is shut down. Need a good ribs place; Re: Famous Dave's. greenglass4.

Reed said...

Denny's blows
Darcys was awesome
even jeannies was awesome

at least you recognized that this is a town and not a city.

Anonymous said...

You guys are idiots putting Denny's in that stupid location! I think a mighty fine place to put it would be right behind the new floodwall by the river! It would add a new feel to the dike and would bring a lot of people to walk along the bike path!

worldjr2005 said...

Reed and others:

What larger city is Dennys NOT in??? Face it, the USA is all about chains. GF keeps growing, it will keep picking up these chain restaurants. If you want home cooked, "from scratch" meals, have 'yo mommas cook em for you. Maybe one of you critics can start up a local place, it is awfully hard to do these days. I think Denny's will be a great place for travelers to GF who want a big meal (with a ton of calories and fat) for a small amount of money. AKA: Our friendly Canadian visitors.

Justme2003 said...

I'd personally like to see another 24hr place in town, then again I suppose I'm assuming that it will be 24hr since every other Denny's I have been to is.

I'd also like to see Famous Daves too.

Lynsey said...

Chains bother me as much as they bother anyone else, but we all have to recognize the fact that chains exist because a) the original location was successful, b) their customers develop a brand loyalty, and c) they research markets and analyze their potential for success before building a new location.

Anonymous said...

That was real cold comment about fat Canada people, but a little funny. I married a gal from Winnipeg, long time ago. Talk about sneaking gold across the border, when that waqs illegal ! Many of your "big businessman" were making their fortunes on "illegal Gold". just a little info about nothing. greenglass4.

Kelly Clow said...

I'm worried about what impact this will have on the Village Inn on 32nd. Perkins won't be affected, I don't think, because it is so far from the corridor, but VI could find itself in a pretty sticky situation.

Anonymous said...

Village Inn is nasty anyways

Anonymous said...

The land isn't owned by Bostons. The land is owned by private investors.

local boy said...

Village Inn will be fine. Both places will be busy and coexist without any problems.

Anonymous said...

yeah village inn is the worst. I work around there and never see the parking lot full

Anonymous said...

The Village Inn is much cleaner than both Perkins and does not smell like smoke at all. Last time I was in Perkins, I was sat in the old smoking section and it still smelled. Have you ever been there on a Sunday? It's busy. The parking lost is never completely full because they get people in and out quickly. Just like a breakfast meal should be.

Goon said...

I think Denny's is great choice.
I like their breakfasts.

Kelly Clow said...

"Village Inn will be fine. Both places will be busy and coexist without any problems."

I suppose you are right, Local Boy. After the initial 'bump' when it opens, things should even out. There are enough hotels, I think, to support both places.

I only worry because there was also talk a while back of an IHOP moving in on the same street as well. I think as far as family breakfast chains go, the national sales rankings are Denny's, IHOP, Perkins, and THEN Village Inn. Followed by Embers, Cracker Barrel, Bob Evans and Waffle House.

If IHOP moves in as well, VI will have to compete with the #1 and #2 family chains in America within three or four blocks of itself on the same road where it has been by itself for years. Granted, it has the prime location on the Interstate behind a well respected motel chain, but Denny's and IHOP have far more name recognition.

The new store manager there has told me that they do not intend to go 24hrs if Denny's does, so that might be an indicator that they aren't worried about it too much. If Denny's goes 24hrs, I know I will probably go there instead of to the I-29 Cafe whenever I come back to visit GF.

Anonymous said...

I hope they go 24 hours. During my time in GF I noticed that they lack a selection for late night dining for a population of 60,000.

GrandForksGuy said...

As far as I know, all Denny's are 24 hours. I'm not sure it is really a choice for a franchisee.

As far as potential competition, I'm personally not very impressed with the service, food, or value that Village Inn or Perkins is offering their customers. Denny's may not be perfect, but I've always enjoyed eating at their locations much more than I have at the other two chain's locations. Also, Denny's seems to always have really good deals compared with the other two. I won't feel sorry for Perkins or Village Inn if they have to try a bit harder.

We really need a new 24 hour restaurant in Grand Forks. Actually, I wish we could also have a new 24 hour restaurant in the vicinity of UND too...

Anonymous said...

Interesting comments about 24 hour restaurants...

Both the Emerald Grill and Jeannies were 24 hour restaurants. One has closed it's doors completely and the other has locked it's doors on the overnights save for the weekends. When I talked to the owners at the E.G., they said they couldn't afford to stay open for the overnights 'cause the business was spotty. They were also surprised they didn't see a larger crowd from UND. How can you ask for a 24 restaurant near UND when you don't support the ones there? Why travel all the way to the I-29 for sub-par food, service?

Don't get some of the comments...

ben said...

the 2-29, at the intersection of highway 2 and I-29, is open 24 hours and always very busy overnight. I really believe that if you give students a good deal, they will go to your restaurant. The 8 dollar sandwiches and 9 dollar breakfasts at the Emerald just aren't good values. Too expensive for students.

jsutme2003 said...

I do go to the 2-29 sometimes but really have you ever gone there at 2am on a friday or saturday night? It's completely packed with the bar crowd. It would be nice to have more options.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised Dennys would choose a location where they could not erect a sign visible from the interstate. The zoning on 32nd prohibits tall signs.

Matthew said...

Ahh, to be able to have a place where one could WALK to a restaurant or store...

Seriously, this is one point of contention that I have with people: I don't object to driving somewhere because of the emissions or anything, I think it's a hassle and needless. I'm a huge fan of walking streets, but it seems like this town doesn't want anything to do with having people walk more than 20 feet from the car to the door of the store.

(heehee, that rhymed).

Kelly Clow said...

"As far as I know, all Denny's are 24 hours. I'm not sure it is really a choice for a franchisee."

Actually, there are a couple down here in the Bay area that aren't 24 hrs. We have all the major family chains down here, and I'd say only about 60% of each chain are 24 hrs. That can be a big pain because if you're in the mood for Denny's/VI/Perkins/Bob Evans/whatever, you have to search for which ones are the "all nighters".

I think GF should get a Steak and Shake. They're open all night, and the chili is killer at 3AM. I would NOT, however, recommend their "Chili 5-Way" (Google it) after a night of drinking, though! That's just nasty.

Anonymous said...

Matthew,

I agree completely. I live in NYC, but visit GF family frequently. While the city is finally reaching an acceptable quality of life, walking is not on anyone's radar. Whenever I tell family I'll just walk to the gym or Target or Hugo's, they look at me like I'm growing horns.

Anonymous said...

Kelly is smart. I'd kill for Steak and Shake.

ben said...

I agree with the walking option (or my favorite, biking)...however, I think that isn't in the forefront becuase 4-5 months out of the year, is is very impractical to think about walking or biking (especially over any distance). I would love some type of "open air mall" development that would be very pedestrial friendly, but I just don't see that on people's minds...just bigger parking lots.

Anonymous said...

I think that ought to be a wake-up call to the city - if developers can't find land easily, it is time to think about a new commercial corridor with easy acces to the interstate...

GrandForksGuy said...

Ben said..."The 8 dollar sandwiches and 9 dollar breakfasts at the Emerald just aren't good values. Too expensive for students."

I agree totally, Ben. My family used to eat at the Tomahawk Cafe all the time before it was turned into the Emerald Grill. I know there have been a string of owners since the Tomahawk days, but it's too bad the restaurant changed so much. The Tomahawk had good food and great prices. Guess how there business was? Great. There were times when we literally couldn't find a place to sit down because there were so many customers in there. On any visit I've made to the Emerald Grill in the last few years, the place has been very quiet and the food was overpriced, in my opinion. Bring back the days of the greasy spoon Tomahawk Cafe!

GrandForksGuy said...

Anonymous said..."I think that ought to be a wake-up call to the city - if developers can't find land easily, it is time to think about a new commercial corridor with easy acces to the interstate..."

I agree with you, anonymous. 32nd east of I-29 has very few spots left. As far as potential future southside corridors...32nd west of the Interstate doesn't have a large area zoned for retail development (contrary to what some people think), Columbia doesn't have much commercial land set aside south of 32nd, and Washington doesn't have much commercial land set aside south of 32nd either. I'm personally very concerned with the city's future land use plan because it lacks any large new swaths for retail development. I'm all for more centralized, dense commercial developments, but that doesn't mean we still don't need a new retail corridor. Fargo has tons of space set aside for future commercial development and I'm very concerned that Grand Forks hasn't made the same plans for the future. I'm going to put together a post on this in the near future.

ben said...

I am interested to see what the new development by the Furniture Row store will look like. Currently there aren't even any roads going to the store...kind of makes it difficult for business, I would think. I am not sure what the city is planning there, but hopefully they can set aside a good amount of land for retial development. Not having land to easily develop is most likely a good problem to have, but I think there are pretty much only two small spots left on 32nd between Columbia and the Interstate. I hope that the city comes up with a solution soon. (too bad the land owners on S. 42nd want WAY TOO MUCH for the land there, or that could be an option)

Anonymous said...

Ben,

Practically speaking you are right, and that presents a challenge, but we can't further the notion that people here hibernate in the winter.

Anonymous said...

If only an interchange with I-29 could be built at 17th avenue next to the Alerus. That would ease congestion of people leaving the Alerus, help sell those lots, and Dennys could be the first restaurant outside of the Canad Inn to build in that area.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said..."I think that ought to be a wake-up call to the city - if developers can't find land easily, it is time to think about a new commercial corridor with easy acces to the interstate..."

Grandforksguy said: "I agree with you, anonymous. 32nd east of I-29 has very few spots left. As far as potential future southside corridors...32nd west of the Interstate doesn't have a large area zoned for retail development (contrary to what some people think), Columbia doesn't have much commercial land set aside south of 32nd, and Washington doesn't have much commercial land set aside south of 32nd either. I'm personally very concerned with the city's future land use plan because it lacks any large new swaths for retail development."


Actually, IMHO, the lack of more commercial land creates an opportunities. For instance, the old Target or the strip mall near Columbia Mall are more likely to be filled. The high real estate prices on 32nd make redevelopment on the Gateway, DeMers and even Washington corridors more likely. More investment is needed in older sections of Grand Forks, thereby stimulating even more redevelopment.

Reed said...

lots of land available between Choice financial and Valley Dairy!!1

This is the new Prime retail land of the future.

ben said...

reed - I would like to agree with you, but I don't think many national chains will locate that far off the interstate.

Anonymous said...

I'll believe an Olive Garden will be built when I see it open. There have been rumors for the past 25 years about an Olive Garden. Also, what the heck happened to IHOP & Erbert & Gerbert?

Anonymous said...

From what I understand, "sellling those lots" near the Alerus wouldn't be a problem if not for the greedy landowner who's holding out for astronomical sums.

Matthew said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matthew said...

f only an interchange with I-29 could be built at 17th avenue next to the Alerus. That would ease congestion of people leaving the Alerus, help sell those lots, and Dennys could be the first restaurant outside of the Canad Inn to build in that area.

Ech, one more exit in the way, one more stoplight, one more thing to keep people from getting where they're going.

I'll be for it if they put a roundabout in at the intersection of 17/42.

Anonymous said...

Emerald Grill...

The Emerald Grill had overnight specials running for right around $5-6 each, but discontinued them because the crowd didn't buy. $8 for a meal is reasonable. Perkin's and the two truckstops are comparably priced. You can't compare the Emerald to the Tomahawk because that was nearly 10 years ago. Price of gas has nearly tripled, food costs have nearly doubled. It would be stupidity to believe that you could buy the exact same plate today for the price you bought it then. Anywhere you go, save for fast-food places, you're looking at spending 10-12 with drink and tip. The Emerald Grill, Darcy's, Jeannies, Roadhouse, etc. are no different. Why should you expect to go the Emerald Grill and find a breakfast for $3-4 (which you can Mon.-Fri. 6-9 A.M., coffee included)? Students can hit the Emerald on Monday and get 2 burgers and drinks for right around $10. Tuesdays they can get Turkey Dinners for the same. If you're looking to be cheap, they can help...if you want decent food, they've got it.

I've eaten at the truck stops...once you choose your sandwich, add your side, you're looking at paying $8 for your food there too. Interesting comments though...somewhat misinformed. A question though...how many of you have stopped to chat with the new ownership at the Emerald Grill? Have any of you asked why they closed the overnights during the week? It's too bad really...nice people over at the Emerald...

Sincerely,
Just another Grand Forks diner...

ben said...

I work nights and eat out often...trust me, I can get a good loaded hamburger with chips at 2-29, give the waitress a very good tip, and leave only $5 poorer. Absulutely not going to touch the sandwich for that at Emerald...

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm...

What's a "very good tip"? $2 would put your burger at $3, tax would put it around $2.59...for that price they're giving away their food and wouldn't be in business that long. You can get a burger and fries at the Grill for $4.99 and with a tip leave for around $6. Then you don't have to settle for cheap chips...and you get the lettuce, tomato, pickle too. Add cheese for $.30. Sounds like you touch the sandwich pretty cheap at the Grill too.

I'd still like to know what the "very good tip is". And let's start quoting prices here if were going to argue that one place is more expensive than another. And if you want to compare plates and prices, find out what kind of products you're buying...

Just another Grand Cities diner...

ben said...

The sandwich comes to about $3.30 - for that total I would say that $1.70 is a pretty good tip, as it is way more than 15-20%...and I like chips - and it comes with all the above ingredients plus tomato...but most everybody really doesn't care here. Obviously 2-29 is doing something right, as they are consistenlty packed, and the Emerald just isn't.

Anonymous said...

C'mon guys...Comparing a restaurant to a truckstop-gas station-C Store-diner, isn't apples to apples.

Anonymous said...

Pleeeeez! The Emerald is on par with a truck stop.

ben said...

The emerald until very recently was owned by the same people as Stamart...as kind of a truck plaza - so it is kind of a truck stop. Let's put it this way...if there are phones in the booths, it's a truck stop.

Anonymous said...

IHOP owns the land next to Village Inn on 32nd, and has for years (since Super Target was an idea)but why haven't they built anything? The land, which is a GREAT location for many businesses, is just wasted space.

Anonymous said...

Doolittle's should come to town. An awesome restaurant featuring broasted chicken and a GREAT beer selection! And no insipid TV's blaring away in the restaurant!