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Marilyn Hagerty, Forum News Service, Published May 29 2013

The EatBeat: You know what you’re getting at Perkins

GRAND FORKS - “This is the best coffee in town,” said Mike Mahoney, as he took a sip from his tall mug.

He was sitting in a booth in the back corner of Perkins Restaurant, where he meets regularly with friends including Richard “Diddy” Quesnell and retired Rev. Fr. William Sherman.

The coffee is piping hot with a fresh, sharp flavor. It costs $2.19 per person for unlimited servings. The corner booth has windows looking out on Columbia Road. The wallpaper has a design showing cases of books.

There are other regulars at Perkins in the morning, including Margaret “Peggy" Shearn who sits in a booth closer to the kitchen. She has been coming to Perkins once or twice a day for 16 years. She likes the cereal they serve, and she likes the decaffeinated coffee.

Perkins is a regular stop for many who want breakfast, coffee and dessert or a full-blown meal. The restaurant handles a flurry of customers after church on Sundays. Then in the afternoon, the traffic tapers down to peace and quiet. On a recent Sunday afternoon in May, Cindy Johnson of Crookston and Nadine Mandt of Grand Forks stopped by for strawberry chicken salad off the current special strawberry menu. And they finished their meal with strawberry pie and peanut butter silk pie.

This was one of those Sundays when I found myself running on hungry late in the afternoon, so I headed Perkins. Instead of the usual 55-plus lower priced offerings I usually order, I went for what was described as a new “fit favorite” special of spinach and mushrooms with scrambled eggs. It comes with two slices of a coarse brown bread and a side of fairly good fresh-cut fruit. On a scale of 10, I would grade it about 8.

My check came to $11.96, which included coffee and a tip. I usually do 15 percent.

Perkins on Columbia Road is one of two in Grand Forks. The other is located at 1214 North 47th Street, south of Gateway Drive near the Interstate 29 intersection.

I like Perkins because you usually know what you are getting. The restaurants are consistent. They have a homey feel about them. There’s a wide choice on the menu to suit most ages and most appetites. And there is the temptation of pies and desserts to take home near the checkout counter.

The fine art of watching out for extras is needed at Perkins and most other restaurants. Many soft drinks run $2.59 and bulge up the total check. I got drinking water when I asked for it. And I try to tell myself water is a fine beverage.