The Doc is in, El Roco opens their revamped kitchen

Ben Godfrey, Staff Writer

If you’ve been in the El Roco bar in the past few months, you probably noticed something slightly different going on in the corner. The kitchen is now operated by new management and under a new name, Doc’s Grill. Open from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, 5:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. Thursday and Friday, and 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. on Saturdays, Doc’s serves up tasty bar food (for the most part), that goes great with a cold beer or soda.

The thing that separates Doc’s from other places in town is the way they approach the dining experience. They’ve decided to cut out the waiting time involved with traditional service, such as waiting for your order to be taken and for the bill to come.

Instead, you simply go up to their counter (separate from El Roco’s bar), order off the menu and pay for your food right away. You then go back to your table and wait for your meal to be brought out to you.

In theory, this method is very convenient and allows you to have more time to play darts, cards or whatever you like to do. In reality, the system can get a little slow, especially when there is only one server at the time (which is common for a week day).

On the other hand, this isn’t fast food, and it isn’t really fair to expect it to come out right away. The cooks at Doc’s have created an extensive menu, all of which is cooked up fresh. Most people I’ve spoken with have told me that the food is hit or miss. In my experience, it’s always been above average. That’s not to say it’s amazing or mind-blowing; that is definitely not the case. As far as bar foods go, Doc’s does the trick.

The menu has an array of appetizers including curly fries, onion rings, mini egg rolls, traditional and boneless wings, jalapeño poppers and many more. The fries and onions are very good, and the wings come with a ton of different sauces/seasonings. There are also wraps, sandwiches, burgers, salads and baskets. All entrees are reasonably priced and served with french fries (which are really good here), or an upgraded side. I definitely recommend the Cuban sandwich with fries for $10. A few other delicious options are the shrimp po’ boy, walleye sandwich and the Doc’s jalapeño burger.

The cooks at Doc’s Grill like to experiment with new creations, and have different nightly specials that change often. Check out their Facebook page to see some of the great things they’ve come up with and keep up to date on new specials!

Thursday through Saturday, Doc’s is open till 11:00 p.m. After 10:00 p.m. is when they start serving their late-night menu. This menu has slightly more limited options, but is perfect for satisfying the munchies before a night out.

When talking about Doc’s Grill, I can’t forget to mention El Roco. These two have a sort of symbiotic relationship — people come to “the rock” to have some drinks, play casino and bar games, and maybe sing some karaoke. Now that Doc’s is here, they can also get some good food. On the other side, people might just come in because they’re hungry and end up ordering something from the bar. I’d say that the two make a great pair.

There’s usually something going on at El Roco. Tuesday and Wednesday is free-to-play poker night. Wednesday is also the open mic night, although I rarely see people participating. Thursday is, of course, karaoke night. This used to be a huge pull for college students on Thursdays, but bars downtown have recently begun to compete for business with awesome drink specials. Friday is also a karaoke and DJ night, and Saturday is live trivia from 5:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

The old kitchen at El Roco was sub-par. Now, with the new operations of Doc’s Grill, hopefully more people will think of food when they think of the “the rock.”

Ben Godfrey is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected]