Gramma Butterwicks is one of Grand Forks’ original restaurants, independent and home-owned by Terry and Ruth Jensen. It is an old school diner with cheap prices and is located off South Washington Street across from Wendy’s.
When you walk into Gramma Butterwicks, you will feel like you stepped into a time machine that has traveled to the early 50’s. Even the people inside seem to be stuck in a time warp, making the time machine theory even more realistic during your visit.
If you’re into that sort of vintage diner thing, you will love this place. Nothing has changed since it opened, or so it seems.
The diner is seat-yourself, so if you want to eat here during the after-church rush, keep that in mind. Especially because there are not many options for seating since the restaurant is pretty small.
There are five bar stools at the front counter; otherwise the rest of the place only consists of about ten booths and the kitchen. I try to get a booth in the front by the large windows facing Washington Street.
Their hours of operation are 7:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. on weekdays, and 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
Gramma Butterwicks is thought to be a breakfast place because of their hours, but they serve regular food items as well. Their most popular item is actually the Reuben sandwich, and it has been for many years.
I overheard the man behind me ordering; the waitress asked him if he would like his usual order. He said “yes,” and they joked about how long he has ordered that Reuben sandwich and how it will never change.
On the contrary, I ordered breakfast when I went to Gramma Butterwicks. I got a skillet breakfast. All of the ingredients included sounded perfect. Hashbrowns topped with cheese, onions, ham, bacon, peppers and two eggs.
My mouth was watering and I was starving by the time my food got to our table. My first couple bites were amazing until I pulled a long hair out of my mouth from inside the skillet.
Since I was already disappointed with our service, I didn’t mention the hair. I just took a mental note as the cherry on top of reasons why I probably won’t go back there. Our server seemed stressed and crabby; she did not want to be serving us just as much as we didn’t want her to be our waitress.
After we sat down, we sat without service or drinks for at least 10 minutes, and then it took probably twice as long to get a refill. I had to grab our silverware and some condiments from another table. We could also hear most of the yelling and drama from the kitchen as we had our meal.
I was really excited to try this place out since it is old and original, and the prices are great especially for college students. But I have to say, I was pretty disappointed with the overall service and cleanliness of the joint.
Jordan Hermes is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected]