Sunday, August 26, 2007

Open Thread #40

Wow...open thread #40. The GFL open thread is now entering middle age!

71 comments:

Anonymous said...

I saw an ad in the Herald classifieds for Golden Corral. It said they were under new management and were hiring all positions? Anybody know anything? Did they clean house and make everyone re apply for their jobs or what? Maybe they got rid of all the sex offenders that were working in there...

Anonymous said...

The golden trough

Nick said...

No surprise about the Golden Corral; after the first week, it seemed like things really fell apart. I was impressed, when the managers got it off to an impressive start. It just didn't last---the employees, as well as the facility itself, has been an ugly mess since the second week, it seems.

One man's observation, for what it's worth. Another? Still griping me how Friday afternoon's gas prices were twenty cents different throughout town: M and H (God love those people!) at 2.89, Amoco a dime more, and Simonson (why am I not surprised) at 3.09!

Some day, I'd really love to hear the real story behind gas prices.

Oh, well. I filled up in Thief River Falls, Minnesota today for 2.86 a gallon, and had a nice young man as an attendant to boot!

One needn't drive far from Grand Forks for more affordable gas, at least---gas more in line with the norm.

Thanks. I feel better now.

Anonymous said...

Since I worked at a couple gas stations I know a little bit about gas prices. Gas stations raise and lower their price when their delivery of gas comes in. That's why one station might be at 2.89 while another is at 3.09. They have to raise and lower their prices depending on how much their shipment cost. Since gas stations get deliveries at different times of the week and day the price difference can be "extreme". I'm not saying that some gas stations don't raise their prices more than they should, but the two I worked at didn't. In reality most gas stations don't make crap off their gas. Their profits come from what's inside the station. And when it comes to gas stations in East Grand Forks they don't even make a profit off cigarettes anymore because of the high tax.

I know that not all gas stations are honest, but there are a few that are. One station I worked at lowered their prices for a couple days on gas to keep up with competition. Because of the price of gas they had delivered they should have been charging about twenty cents more than most places around town, but they decided to lose money to keep their family run station from losing cutomers rather than jacking up their price.

Most stations only make a couple cents of profit on each gallon of gas. Often times gas stations don't make any profit off their gas in order to keep the customers coming in.

Anonymous said...

Northwood got hit by a tornado at around 9:00 PM last night.

Anonymous said...

Ortons in EGF used to have employees who opened the store at 6AM drive by the other EGF stations on the way to work. One of my kids used to work there. It the prices had gone up since the day before-they adjusted as well.

Matthew said...

We've got a gas board at at the Campus Dakota message boards that covers Grand Forks and Fargo, if anyone wants to contribute.

In other news, Campus Dakota published its first paper issue last Thursday, and we're accepting written/photography submissions for this week's issue which will come out Thursday (limited to students in the NDUS system, sorry).

Meanwhile, I need to get my Jeep fixed. Is Lithia the place to go?

Anonymous said...

No forget Lithia, even their employees are jumping ship !The price fixing in GF of gas and cars. Like the car dealers in town the gas dealers also meet several times a month, to discuss pricing and the "independants". They will try to harm your business and put you out of business if you under price the "leaders", since many of the bigger dealers are on thr BOD of our city Banks (Alerus). They do manipulate the market.

Anonymous said...

i personally would avoid Lithia when getting a car fixed, my experience wasn't very good and I have not heard any positive feedback. But it could have just been mine, i guess it all really depends on what you need done.

Anonymous said...

Go to Odin's on Belmont... ph#
775-8721. I wouldn't take my vehicle anywhere else in town.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't take my vehicle to Odins. Recommend Gateway Amoco.

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

I need to get them to replace the pulley on the ac compressor, or replace the whole compressor with an idler pulley (I can't really afford a new compressor right now). Would these shops do such a thing? What is wrong with Odin's? It looks like they are geographically closest to where my car is right now.

Anonymous said...

I have taken all of my vehicles to Odin's for the last 7 years. Trustworthy and honest people. If they can't fix it they will tell you the best place to go.

Kelly Clow said...

"Like the car dealers in town the gas dealers also meet several times a month, to discuss pricing and the 'independants'. They will try to harm your business and put you out of business if you under price the 'leaders', since many of the bigger dealers are on thr BOD of our city Banks (Alerus). They do manipulate the market."

I just want to say that cars are cheaper in GF then in Florida. That's why I bought mine up there at Rydell last year instead of down here.

I saved around $4,000 on a Chevy Cobalt, and Rydell even painted it the color I wanted and put a spoiler on it, all OVER THE PHONE before I flew up there to sign on it mind you, where the Tampa dealer wouldn't budge on anything.

Also, the Cobalt I was looking at down here had 300+ miles on it already, and the one I bought up there had 4 miles TOTAL on it.

I'll be buying my next car from someone up there, that's for damn sure!

As for gas prices, $3.09 a gallon?! Damn. We're at $2.57 a gallon down here at the Shell station in Tampa Palms, and it's been going down for the last week and a half from $2.71 a gallon. Something fishy is going on up there.

wendian said...

Train whistles at all hours of the night...

Some engineers tap on the horns and some fall asleep on them--either way, it's loud and wakes me up.

Does GF have any plans to have a quiet zone and/or quiet hours?

Mike said...

Does anyone know what is being built next the the Hilton Garden Inn?

GrandForksGuy said...

Mike, that's UND's new Center of Excellence for Life Sciences and Technology (also known as COELSAT). I believe the building will cost around $12 million dollars. The center will house medical research, including some sort of disease lab, as well as other types of researchers. COELSAT is the first in a series of buildings that will form a research park south and west of the Hilton.

GrandForksGuy said...

BTW, I too was very surprised to see the Golden Corral already under new management. I've been there twice - once in april and once in July. We had a very nice waitress in April and the salad bar and buffet were neat and orderly. The July visit was marked by a very unfriendly waiter who basically didn't want to serve us the free coffee that Golden Corral now offers and a very messy and understocked salad bar. The hot food and dessert buffets were still pretty good though. Of course the place was packed both times. Overall, it seemed like the quality of employees and the neatness of the restaurant had suffered from April to July. That's a shame for such a new restaurant...I hope the new management can turn things around. If it is run properly, the Golden Corral has a wide assortment of good food for a reasonable price. If it just wasn't always so darn packed!

Anonymous said...

Kelly:

Fishy? It stinks, alright. I think the word is greed, though; good old-fashioned greed.
Of course, there are those who'd call it the American way, supply and demand; the fact remains, though, the excuses have worn thing regarding price fixing at the gas pumps.

And I feel pretty small, complaining about something like this when the good people in Northwood are facing real problems!
Bless you people down that way.

river man said...

Yea, I have a Honda, that needs to be fixed. Need new breaks, a new peice of exhaust pipe, and several other things. I guess I'll have to bust my ass at work so I can pay to get those things fixed.

Anonymous said...

I bring my vehicle to Cartiva....the sevice guys there are INCREDIBLY nice and have never left there unhappy (and i drive a Ford, but i guarantee that my next car will be bought at cartiva!)

Anonymous said...

"Chevy Cobalt, and Rydell even painted it the color I wanted and put a spoiler on it"

A spoiler? Wow! That sounds like one classy looking car! Did they throw in the Playboy air freshener for free?

Anonymous said...

I like Champion auto repair especially for small jobs that you don't want to spend a fortune one

Kelly Clow said...

"A spoiler? Wow! That sounds like one classy looking car! Did they throw in the Playboy air freshener for free?"

Okay, okay..... I know how it sounds.

But, it's a four door SEDAN, and the "rear fin" (as I should have called it) is very, very low profile, not like a "Texas Tail" spoiler you would see on a home kit Civic.

It's there strictly for aesthetics. Without it, the trunk-end of the cobalt is weird looking, in my opinion. It was only about $100 more and after saving so much anyway, I went for it and a few other extra options.

It really is a good looking car. It's my first ever brand-new car, so I'm probably skewed in my opinion of it, but the guys up there at the dealership really did a good job for me on it.

Anonymous said...

Kelly - congrats on the new car...there are very few feelings like driving a new car off the lot!

Anonymous said...

What are those booming noises I'm hearing on the north side of town this evening? I'm new here and haven't heard them before.

Anonymous said...

The railroad switch yard? No big deal, the race track will drown them out Friday night. :-)

Anonymous said...

I don't think so. Sounded like an air cannon or something - reminds me of the air cannons vineyard owners use to chase off birds where I lived in Oregon.

Anonymous said...

Hey good for you Kelly, don't let these guys give you a hard time. A friend of mine just bought one just like it in Fargo at Gateway: $100 less. greenglass4.

Anonymous said...

Former city council member Duane Lunack found floating in English Coulee a few days ago. On WDAZ tonight at 10 pm his sister said it was her brother Duane. That is a bad location, another old guy was recently mugged there. Plus there is a wierd house there also, high fence and 8 security cameras !Witness proection safe house ? Just Curious Yellow.

MattFacingSouth said...

Greenglass, you are a master of tying non-related tidbits into a grand conspiracy.

Impressive... the troll-fu is strong with this one.

Anonymous said...

recently mugged? That was two years ago. Hardly a recent event. Lunak was a guy who really liked to drink and was addicted to pain killers. Plus he lives in the area. I am guessing he was a little confused from intoxication and went into the coolie. An accident at best, suicide at worst.

JW said...

Anyone know what is being built in front of the Menards strip mall next to Wendys??

Anonymous said...

Please...let's not make these kind of posts about Mr Lunak's death. To speculate how he died at this time is cruel and void of fact. My sympathy to his family.

Coffee Guy said...

"Anyone know what is being built in front of the Menards strip mall next to Wendys??"

Denny's: http://agfb.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

So is Campbell's closed for good? Tried to eat there Monday, and a sign on the door said "Closed, thank you for your business." Sad to see, I liked their food, and they were local.

Matthew said...

Just to keep everything up to date about my Jeep (yes, you were all waiting with baited breath), I asked at Odin's and they sent me to Forx Radiator. I took it in yesterday around lunch, and about an hour ago I got a call that it was all ready to go. This included a part they had to order, and for a lot less than I was expecting.

Anonymous said...

I loved Campbell's! But anyone who dined there regulary saw a rapid decline and its inevitable demise. I really don't know what happened, though. They were always packed during the first year or so. The food was hot and the portions generous. Then all of sudden it seemed like no one cared. Their uniforms were always dirty. The food was cold and the tables weren't cleared or cleaned.

I thought it was family-owned and operated, so you'd have thought the quality would have remained high.

MattFacingSouth said...

Anon - I predicted their (unfortunate) demise a while back. I think a lot of it has to do with the new eating establishments in town.

Just think about all the places that opened on the south end after Campbells did...

Anonymous said...

Matt - I really don't think that was it...at least not entirely. They filled a niche. They were better than fast food and cheaper than table service reataurants. And at their peak, you couldn't beat them for freshness. I think the decline in quaility began well before the decline in business.

dale said...

Campbells going out of business is due to location more than anything else. If they were in a high traffic location, they'd still be around. Tucked in a weird location in a hard to navigate parking lot doesn't bode well for anyone -- just look at the old Best/Office Depot building.

Much as I like them, Mamma Maria's and Grand Junction are likely to be next, for the exact same reason. Good food, but awful location. I'm sure that the low rent is a big temptation, but I'd think either of those places would be doing gangbusters business in a more accessible and visible location.

Matthew said...

I just don't get why Grand Junction moved in the first place. I thought their original location was great.

Maybe I'll go there for food soon . . .

MattFacingSouth said...

Meh... I think people in GF like food-service newness and when that wears off (or is superseded) the service, product, and ambience had better be top-notch (or cause for nostalgia), otherwise it's not going to last long.

I liked Campbell's, too - I was looking forward to taking my boy there when he got older, but it's gone.

And I also agree with Dale - location/access plays a big part.

But seriously - name some non fast-food non-major-chain joints that have been around 7 years or more. I'll try: Paradiso, Italian Moon, Sander's, Grand Junction, Red Pepper, Bronze Boot, Emerald Grill, Grandma Butterwick's, I-29 Cafe, 2-29 Cafe, China Garden, Whitey's, Blue Moose, Kon Nechi Wa's, Royal Fork, Mexican Village, Al's (has it been that long? - I don't think so)... but anyway...

Now think of all the ones that have closed or changed names in that time: Overtime/Dagwood's, Paulo's, Tortilla Flats, Red River Cafe, Wraps, Campbells, Jeannie's, 42nd Street Eatery/Toppers, Lola's, Joe DiMaggio's, Capone's, Hunan Buffet, China King, (Whatever it was before Great Wall) Buffet, hey this is fun, Red River Deli, Chacherz, (Stormy) Sledsters, Cafe Cosmos, John Barleycorne, Pancho and Lefty's and the mexican place it was before that, Roma's Pizza, Planet Pizza, and many others...

What the heck was my point? Oh yeah, there's a lot of turnover in restaurants around here. Almost every one of these places started out great and some, arguably, had good food and service - but why have so many closed?

Some were pretty much local institutions, yet they went under. Any guesses?

Anonymous said...

Emerald Grill used to be Tomahawk Cafe and has changed hands twice since then...

ben said...

I really don't think we should be counting restaurants that change names as failures. The ones that close, yes...but places change names for all kinds of different reasons. Also Matt, there is Dells, Darcy's, Mike's Pizza, Luigi's Pizza, Slap Shot Pizza, Popolino's Pizza, Deeks Pizza, (wow- a theme here!) and a few others I am sure I am leaving out...so let's not discount those local places that really do have good business. Every town has a mix of local vs. national chains. I think the entire country has noticed the shift in the last few years to more national chains than local places.

MattFacingSouth said...

Ben, I wasn't leaving them out on purpose - I was just naming the ones I could think about off the top of my head.

As far as the ones that change names - they fit the motif of people around here craving "newness," hence the name changes.

Oh, another that closed - Players. That was one of my faves.

dale said...

I liked Players, too. Along with Toppers and 42nd St. Eatery, they were all owned by one guy, who apparently didn't manage them too well. They were all fairly well patronized when they were closed (or, in one case, burned down.)

Aside from Bonzers and Sanders, downtown (on the ND side of the river, at any rate,) has been tough on restaurants, probably due to the lower amount of use it got after the flood. I'd expect some of these new places (like Rhombus Guys) to be around for quite a while.

Paulo's didn't have a great location (and the service, which started out great, quickly turned bad,) though not as bad as Tortilla Flats, which was in one of the worst locations in the area. Both Planet Pizza and Jeannies were (publically, anyway,) closed because the owners wanted to get out of the restaurant business, though Planet Pizza, at least, was pretty busy when it went dark. I think that Roma's was the same way.

Chinese buffets... meh. How many do you need, anyway? China King either morphed into the Panda, or was closed by the sheriff, don't remember which, though the artwork now at the Panda was once proudly displayed on the walls of the China King. Wouldn't have mattered much anyway, as Walmart was ending their lease to expand anyway. Hunan and Shangrai-La (forgot that one, eh?) missed the switch to buffets, though I far preferred ordering off of the menu at Hunan to any steam tray buffet.

John Barleycorn has been gone way longer than seven years. I do miss that place, though.

Anonymous said...

Bring back Toppers.
As for Campbells...location, location, location, is what it is all about.
The empty Target store is a bit of a puzzle. It is in prime location, but yet no takers.

dale said...

The empty Target store is a bit of a puzzle. It is in prime location, but yet no takers.

Interestingly enough, we had to run up to the mall this evening to pick up something, and the door to the old Target store was open. Ducked my head in to see what was in there, and there's a bunch of benches and not much else. Way in the back, we could see some people moving some boxes around, but not what it was.

There is a restriction on another general retailer going into that spot (though you'd think there would be some sort of "length of contract limitation" -- if the mall agreed to an eternal ban, they're idiots,) and it's too big to do much else with. They can't keep the remainder of the mall filled (probably about 15-20% vacancy at this point?) so breaking it into smaller bits and trying to rent them out doesn't make a lot of sense.

MattFacingSouth said...

Dale - just a quick fact-check, my brother worked at the Barleycorne in 2001, just before it closed, so it hasn't quite been seven years.

:)

MattFacingSouth said...

And I did miss the Shang - I'm sure there are others, too.

Anonymous said...

and the Riverbend.Supper Club.

Coffee Guy said...

I had Campbell's two or three times. I didn't like the fact that they cooked the meat at some indeterminate time previous to your order (at least they did during my visits), then just slap it back on the grill for reheating. Mine were dried out and tough to chew. The guy working the grill looked like he recently escaped from prison, and had manners to match. And I can do without the scripture on the wall.

Good riddance.

Charlie said...

Ah! The Riverbend.

Like a concert performer who leaves the stage, the audience wanting "just one more number."

I loved that place...loved the people who worked there, loved the ambiance.

It rivaled local lore for eateries along with Whitey's and the Boot, and---personally, at least---stood taller than the rest. I miss the place.

Anonymous said...

Roma's in Grand Forks closed because of other reasons not business related. Business was actually quite good for them but it was supposed to be a "joint" effort and ended up being thrown all on one person. He was overwhelmed working his "normal" job as well as running both the restraunt here in Grand Forks and the one in Emerado. So, he made a choice to close down the one here. I've heard rumors but haven't spoken to the owner personally yet that he is thinking of closing the Romas in Emerado as well.

dale said...

my brother worked at the Barleycorne in 2001

Really? I guess they really took that "cleverly hidden" bit to heart... though I always loved their food (well, most of the time, and I stayed away from the seafood,) I'd say I hadn't been there after 1995 or so. Thought they'd gone out of business around then.

As to the Target store, on WDAZ 10PM News last night, they said that it was being used by the Red Cross as a staging area for Northwood recovery.

Kelly Clow said...

Y'know what I miss up there?

The Windmill.

My roommate (from GF) and I were talking about the Windmill last night, and how we both had our respective first dates there when we were younger.

I was only able to eat there a couple of times before they closed, but it made an impression.

Anonymous said...

I miss Shangri-La, I absolutely love the Chicken Su Guy (spelling??) Nobody else has it.

Anonymous said...

I miss King Leo's. And Phil and Lil's.

Anonymous said...

And Toby's It.

Anonymous said...

Doc's Shack. Now that's going waaay back.

Anonymous said...

Riverside Drive-in on the East Side. Miss that place when I come back to visit.

GJB

MattFacingSouth said...

Oh yeah, add Brannigan's, Speedway, and GF Goodribs to the closed list.

dale said...

When did Speedway close? I'll miss the sauce, if nothing else.

Anonymous said...

Speedway has not closed.

Anonymous said...

Speedway is definetely not closed!

MattFacingSouth said...

Crap, that was on the rumor mill a while back and I didn't corroborate it. My fault - apologies.

Anonymous said...

I agree-Riverside Drive in on the Point. Great burgers and onion rings with reasonable prices.

Anonymous said...

Howard's Pizza

Anonymous said...

The Speakeasy in EGF