Big Sioux Cafe, a right of passage


Stephanie Hollman, Staff Writer

It’s 2 a.m. and after a Friday night full of shenanigans and bar-hopping downtown, my group of friends are more hungry than tired, and thus, in dire need of some sustenance.

Unfortunately, Grand Forks offers limited options for dining after the usual hours, even on the weekends. The food that the bars offer after kitchen hours are often expensive. My group combed through Yelp reviews and shot down each other’s suggestions. Even though we seemed desperate, we weren’t quite desperate enough to want pancakes from Denny’s for the third time this week.

Right off I-29, the Big Sioux Cafe is located on the side of 32nd Avenue that lacks the more popular dining options. The cafe is located in the Flying J Truck Stop and if you aren’t a trucker passing through or a local of the area, the cafe is a place that is always overlooked for IHOP or even Darcy’s Cafe.

If you’re like me, who at first was skeptical when someone suggested eating at a greasy spoon off the highway, then you may understand my initial hesitation to eating at a truck stop. However after three years of living in Grand Forks, the truck stop has been a right of passage for the college experience.

The Big Sioux cafe at the Flying J truckstop offers a variety of typical "greasy spoon"-type fare.
The Big Sioux cafe at the Flying J truckstop offers a variety of typical “greasy spoon”-type fare.

I am not a picky eater. I will eat anything and everything, but when breakfast is your favorite meal of the day, and one of the happiest moments in your life was when McDonald’s began serving McGriddles past 10:30 a.m., I have weirdly high standards when it comes to food that is pretty mundane to the normal person, like pancakes and eggs. The Big Sioux Steak and Eggs includes most of the things on my go-to list for late-night munchies: a 12-oz sirloin, homefries or hashbrowns, toast and two eggs.

At two in the morning, our order was taken by a bright-eyed waitress whose patience for a slightly inebriated group of college kids. This particular group had trouble deciding between eggs over easy and medium and wheat or white. Despite this indecisiveness on our part, and the fact that she was the only one tending to the late night crowd of burly truck drivers and college students with late-night munchies, she was attentive. Our waters were never empty. She was able to balance a huge platter of all our food with one hand, which is a very underrated and impressive feat.

It may have been because my hunger was immense, or because there’s just something about breaking those crazy diet rules about eating carbs after 7 p.m. or for eating at all past it, but for around twelve dollars, the Big Sioux Steak and Eggs at the Big Sioux has made it on my top list of go-to breakfasts.

The steak, though slightly overcooked for a medium-rare, was tender and went well with the syrup and the runny, over-easy cooked eggs.  The wheat toast was deliciously pre-slathered with butter and because you can, I suggest adding even more of the prepackaged apple butter to truly satisfy your midnight cravings.

Some advice for those of you who are intimidated by the cafe’s massive selection of food and want something a little more than just breakfast food: take advantage of the specials of the day. Not only do you save a lot of money, but you also get the pleasure of trying something from a different part of the menu that you would have previously overlooked.

The Big Sioux Cafe has a great selection of food, is open 24 hours a day, and offers the great service that many other places in town lack.You’re probably not going to have a memorable dining experience by eating solo at the truck stop, but when you have a late-night with your friends, or sharing your experiences over breakfast during the notorious morning after, the truck stop does more than just satisfy, it becomes part of your University of North Dakota experience.

Stephanie Hollman is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected]