Dickey’s Worth the Wait

Dickey’s BBQ opened in Grand Forks on June 21st.  Within minutes, there was a line out the door that spilled into the parking lot.  And it’s been that way pretty much since.

I was able to show remarkable restraint and waited exactly 24 hours before I made my first visit.  When Red Sox Daughter and Blonde Daughter and I took our place in line at 11:05 on Friday, we were the 15th, 16th, and 17th people in line.  But the wait was fairly short and well worth it.  We’d waited many years for smoked BBQ to come to town so fifteen more minutes wasn’t going to bother us too much.

There was an abundance of workers and everything seemed to move like clockwork inside the festive location which originally housed a Hardees, followed by one of my personal favorites, Mi Mexico.  The inside has undergone a rather large makeover to give it a southern feel.

I had the sliced brisket and ribs.  I expected them to be good.  They turned out to be even better than I had hoped.  As I write this, I’m about an 8 on the hunger scale, so I’m not going to go into too much more detail for fear that I will pass out.  But suffice it to say that I will be back.  In fact, I might move Dickey’s into the power rotation and slink in there once a week.

Owner Josh Becker and his staff are off to an incredible start.  Some of you might think that I’m on the payroll at Dickey’s, the way I go on and on about the joint.  I’m not, but I wish I was.

UPDATE:  While driving past Dickey’s yesterday the smell of BBQ wafted into my vehicle.  An immediate meat coma ensued and I nearly crashed.  I consider that the ultimate ploy in marketing.

Marilyn and Bill: A Busy Week

Marilyn Hagerty

Bill Clinton









I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again:  No two days in the TV news business are the same.  And that’s why I love it so much.  Take the last few days for example.  Last Thursday and Friday, I spent a considerable amount of time tracking down Internet sensation Marilyn Hagerty’s cell phone number and planning coverage of all-things Marilyn.  All the while, I was helping Good Morning America and ABC News with their coverage.  If someone had told me at the beginning of last week that I would be trying to get Marilyn’s cell phone number, I would have said, “I doubt that seriously.”

Now this week brings me the task of planning coverage of former President Bill Clinton’s visit to Grand Forks, which includes, but is not limited to, covering his speech live on Saturday for a statewide ABC audience.  It is also rumored that Clinton will be making one or two other stops around the city while he is here.

So we have a great task in front of us, but we’re ready to tackle it head on.  Which leads me to this:  Will Bill Clinton mention Marilyn during his speech?  I have set the odds at 3:1 that he will.

Spicy Pie

Spicy Pie, downtown Fargo on Broadway. Notice the "Fargo" sign in the background. As a former photographer I'm witty that way.

Since it seems as though Grand Forks and East Grand Forks are getting two new restaurants a day, I decided that I better get my vote in for the next big thing.  And the winner is:  Spicy Pie.  What follows is a private letter to the good people of Spicy Pie in Fargo.  If you’re not a member of the Spicy Pie hierarchy, then please skip ahead to where I stop using italics.  Thanks.

Dear Spicy Pie People,

Please find it within your infinite wisdom during this joyous Christmas season to open a Spicy Pie in Grand Forks.  Or East Grand Forks.  Whichever works better for you.  You see, we need your awesome pizza and grinder offerings here in the Grand Cities.  And good news:  I’ve already taken the liberty to scope out a couple of locations.  Actually, I think that makes me a legitimate candidate for part owner.  And let’s try get this wrapped up by March 1st.  Thanks!

Spicy Pie of Fargo found its way onto my radar a couple months ago.  Since that day I’ve been inventing reasons to go to Fargo for the sole purpose of eating there.  They have two locations there and one in Minot.  I’ve been frequenting the downtown Broadway location.  Three separate visits.  Once with Red Sox Daughter, once with my boss, and the last time with TV’s David Schwab.  All three agreed that it was simply delightful.  Even Schwab, who normally doesn’t eat and when he does it’s usually something weird.

The genius of Spicy Pie is the simplicity of its menu and the quality of the food.  They basically do pizza and grinders.  And you can order specially made pizza by the slice.  You don’t see a lot of that in these parts.  Keep in mind that this isn’t a slice of pizza that has been sitting under glass and a strong lamp for an hour.  This is the freshest tasting pizza this side of West 97th in New York City.  All this and cheap prices.  If you’re into that kind of thing.

Toys for Tots: WDAZ

WDAZ (L), Whalen's Truck (R)

It’s always fun to be part of a “good cause,” so in the effort to make Christmas a little more merry for area kids we at WDAZ decided to use our promotional clout to help the Toys for Tots efforts.  We’ve teamed with Whalen’s Moving and Storage (they provided the truck) to ask for donations of new, unwrapped toys for area children.  You can drop off your gift at WDAZ-TV located at 2220 South Washington Street in Grand Forks between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. between today and next Tuesday.

WDAZ anchors Molly Thorvilson, Charley Johnson, Pat Sweeney and Terry Dullum preparing for our Toys for Tots promotional spot.

Jake’s to Undergo Changes

In the very near future, Jake’s Bar and Grill will be undergoing some big changes.  According to my sources, the south end business in Grand Forks will be changing its name to Wild Hog, which stands to reason with the addition of a commercial sized smoker that was installed a few months ago.  With the name change, the menu will also undergo a face lift with an array of smoked items being added.  Those include whole chickens, wings, ribs and brisket.  The last couple of months have been a trial run of recipes and special menu items to help gauge the popularity of different smoked meats.  And if the testing phase is any indication, Jake’s Wild Hog is headed in the right direction.  Suffice it to say that the wings are worth the drive alone to the far end of South Washington Street.  Also, the hint of smoked meats creates a lovely aroma when you set foot in the joint.  Below are the aforementioned wings.  Editor’s note:  the wine is not mine.  I was with Farming Bro #1 and sometimes he likes a nice glass of wine after a big day of farming.  I’m not judging.

When you take pictures of food at restaurants people look at you funny. Then when they realize that I work at The Tales, they nod knowingly.

Olive Garden Rumor May Be True

Grand Forks Olive Garden?

For nearly 20 years the rumors of an Olive Garden coming to Grand Forks have run rampant.  I’m still skeptical, but if that’s not an Olive Garden in the above photo, well, then someone is building a really cool house across the street from Texas Roadhouse.  Complete with a large parking lot.  My sources are telling me that it was confirmed six months ago that it was indeed an Olive Garden but like I’ve said for years, I will believe it when I’m face down in some pasta and sausage dish and a couple 13-14 bread sticks.

Happy Birthday REA

On October 5th, 2001, Ralph Engelstad Arena opened its doors for the first time.  10 years and 4.4 million people later, The Ralph still shines brightly as the Palace on the Prairie.

Ralph Engelstad’s vision when he built the arena was that it would draw visitor’s from far and wide and would have a large economic impact on the region.  He was right.

Thank you Ralph.

Dickey’s BBQ Coming to Grand Forks?

Dickey's BBQ in Eagan, MN

Remember the one time at band camp when I wrote about my wish for a Dickey’s BBQ Pit to come to Grand Forks?  That’s right, two days ago.  Anyway, it seems that my wish isn’t the craziest thought I’ve had this year.  After thinking about it for a while, I decided to check out their website.  Under locations I clicked on North Dakota.  To my surprise it said that Dickey’s would be coming to both Grand Forks and Fargo.  Now, I fully realize that chains will sometimes run these ideas up the flag pole to see if anyone salutes it.  We all remember how Sonic teased us a few years ago in much the same manner.

So being the veteran newsman that I am, I called the Dickey’s headquarters in Dallas, Texas.  A nice lady with a southern accent answered the phone.  Her drawl made me hungry.  I explained to her who I was and where I was calling from.  After a minute of southern hospitality on her part, I interrupted and blurted out, “Are you opening a Dickey’s in Grand Forks?”  Without missing a beat or putting me on hold or leafing through some imaginary papers, she replied, “That’s the plan.  You should be hearing more in a couple of months.”

That was confirmation enough for me.

You know how when a new Star Wars movie comes out, or a Harry Potter movie is released, people will camp out in line and wear crazy costumes just to be the first in line?  Well, that’s pretty much what I’m going to do if/when construction starts on the Grand Forks Dickey’s BBQ Pit.  I hope the construction workers don’t mind me watching them work while sitting in a lawn chair in front of my tent.

Raise Up Minot

Here at WDAZ-TV in Grand Forks we are excited to announce our participation in an exciting project to raise donations for relief efforts in the Minot area due to flooding.  Grand Forks Airport Director Patrick Dame came up with the idea for Raise Up Minot. Patrick lived in Minot for three years before moving to Grand Forks with his wife Jen, who used to be part of the news team here at WDAZ.  It sounded like such a good idea to help the people of the Souris Valley region that we asked if we could jump on board.

To check out the list of participating businesses in which to drop off donations and to see a list of the types of things to donate, go to wdaz.com or check out our WDAZ Facebook page.

I hope we can make a difference.  It’s the least we can do.