Thursday, March 05, 2009

GF Dining Thread #4

We haven't had a dining thread since last October so I really think one is in order. This is the place for restaurant reviews, discussion of restaurant comings and goings, and the types of restaurants and cuisines you would like to see in Grand Forks. In other words...time to be a better Marilyn Hagerty than Marilyn Hagerty. (We love you Marilyn.)

There have been plenty of changes lately in the local dining scene. Space Aliens recently opened in the building that formerly housed Bostons. Have you tried them yet? If so, share your reviews of the food, service, atmosphere, prices, etc. The Royal Fork has closed down after being a fixture in the Columbia Mall for around a quarter of a century. Do you miss it? Is the Golden Corral a decent replacement for the Royal Fork? Suite 49 also shut down recently after only a few years in business. Why did they fail? What type of restaurant should go into that building, in your opinion? How about Mama Maria's? They've reopened at a new location in East Grand Forks' Riverwalk Center. Is their food the same quality and/or value that it used to be when the restaurant was in Grand Forks? What's up with the old Dagwoods/Overtime Bar and Grill building? The windows have been boarded up lately. Is a new restaurant on the way?

Let's have fun with this, kids.


jesslvan said...

Space aliens was average, I expected a little more in regards to a change in decor. They really didn't do much to the old Boston's. When will BWW move there location in front of Kohl's? Is that still in the works? Someone told me that Boston's would move into the old BWW location? Is this true or just a stupid rumor. I just heard it from one of my friends, so I'm not sure how much merit to put into that. As far as suite 49, very nice place...just looked like it belonged in a bigger city downtown..not really a college feel for on campus. I think a fighting sioux themed bar would really take off in that location. I think Mama Maria's had a great idea by moving into the River Center, what a better location. I walked by there the other day and there was a decent amount of people in there for off hours. With all the traffic going through that mall now, I think business will be good for them.

Lena said...

The old Dagwoods building is going to be torn down and they are going to build an apartment complex.

Matthew said...

I miss Suite 49 and Martini Blue.

I think I would throw up a little in my mouth every time I went by a Fighting Sioux-themed bar.

jesslvan said...

Where Dagwoods was seems to be a location where apartment real estate is more valuable than commercial. Originaly the new building next to the gas station along 42nd was intended to have commercial stuff on the first floor. Either no takers or they were asking too much. I've always thought along that area, being so close to campus there should be a video store, being Blockbuster has a monopoly on this town.

jesslvan said...

That and the location is so closed to campus, it would be a success.

Logan said...

A Fighting Sioux themed restaurant would probably draw a large following, especially after the nickname is officially retired. That's going to leave it up to private entities to capitalize on the hardcore Sioux fans.

MattFacingSouth said...

Video stores are a thing of the past - Netflix and iTunes have eaten up their market share like crazy.

Jtown11 said...

I think the Suite 49 location would be a great place for IHOP. 24 hour cheap food near that many students, plus a reasonable place to eat before hockey games, and it would be an instant attraction when the hotel is built.

Lynsey said...

I think Jtown11 makes a good point. While I don't think IHOP is really the answer, I do think that an establishment needs more of an everyday appeal in that location. Suite 49 had a good location near campus, but it wasn't exactly some place I would visit for lunch between classes because I lacked the time and money. It really relied on the Ralph's event schedule to get people inside. A more casual restaurant with a student budget friendly lunch menu yet an ample bar for hockey nights would be an excellent option.

Matthew said...

I think a grad-student bar on campus would be appropriate to have. With sandwiches and other food, of course.

Anonymous said...
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Elizabeth said...

Having come from a place where there were IHOPs on every corner (Texas), I do not think this town needs one. Perkins is a lot better. I've never been impressed by IHOP at all.

On another note, I've seen comments in the past about getting a Sonic. I guess it could be open only in the summer like the DQ on Washington or something. Drive-ups just don't sound great to me, though, when there is a blizzard or anything close raging outside!

Even in this credit-tightening society, I wish someone could get the start-up funds to open some Panera franchises. I know there have to be a certain number within a certain area for someone to do it, but THAT is what I would love to see!

jesslvan said...

How about a Famous Daves. Gf's could use one, their ribs are to die for.

InTheKnow said...

The Grand Forks restaurant market suffers from a couple factors and the city is not alone. Too many of the same 'style' of concept, that is the bar and grills that serve the same style of food and being 'Chain' concepts charge higher prices to cover the franchise fee(usually 5% of sales plus 2-3% for marketing...paid weekly). Also many concepts in town are owned by most of the same people, limiting competition among themselves.

First one has to look at what the local market can support. IHOP? We already have Perkins, Village Inn and Dennys as the major players in this theme. Olive Garden? Too small population to support this and Red Lobster together. Prefer they change concepts instead. Red Lob is too high priced for quanity and quality. Sanders offers a better value and service for actually less cost, price them out next time. Famous Daves? Would love it only Fargo location has not met the expectations (location???) preventing expansion in GF.

Bringing in a large concept costs money & the available GF market limits it even more. Locations are limited. Every one wants the same block on 32nd. So until someone is brave enough to open a center by Alerus thats somewhat affordable...choices will remain bleak. Suite 49 is a good location for the correct concept, but a high rent and slow nite time traffic for some concepts (drive by around 7pm during the week)prevent this from being filled. Dagwoods suffered from location (drive by Red Pepper at night, area is dark and everything around it shuts down).

I agree the city needs more options and the City of GF is part of the problem. Cost of a liquor license in the city for 100 seats or more is $67,145+. Compare to Minot $1500, Fargo $1500, East Grand Forks under $5000. This fee alone can be almost 10% of a new restaurants costs. This changes many minds and keeps small local players away.

Even with the economy the way it is restaurants that keep a low price point, usually around $7-8 for food & drink, are doing well. It's the OVER-PRICED for what you get concepts that take a hit.

Several concepts are looking at GF although locations, job market and costs are shying them away.

Seeing this is not my blog I will end it here...for now anyway.

Basement Chard said...

Miss Suite 49, I think no matter the concept, for that space to support a restaurant, more housing needs to be developed on the bronson property. the new apartment complex is a welcome addition. The university should do a better job with zoning. Nothing less than three stories anymore. Density will be the key to success in that area.

Goon said...

i think the location for suite 49 is awesome the problem is that it was for a very small niche the prices were really high and the food was ok. It was a high end sports bar. With the location next to campus I think it could thrive I think it's focus was way too small.

AeroEvan said...

A Panera Bread would be wonderful for the GF area!

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