By Rick Gion
They’re slinging skillets at just about every diner around here these days. Let’s take a mosey around town and taste how a few of the local breakfast big guns match up.
First, visit Fargo's Main Avenue Fryn’ Pan. Their new location is very close to the old location. However, the new space doesn’t quite have the feel of the old space. If you’re looking for the classic Fryn’ Pan ambience, you’ll want to head to the Moorhead location off of Highway 10.
I have fond memories of the former Main Avenue location. Back in my high school days, you could drink coffee and smoke cigarettes until the wee hours. I can still remember eating 2 a.m. caramel rolls there as I think many readers can.
After turning 21 years old, the Pan served a different purpose. There were the frequent after-bar stops to get a meal to sop up the booze-soaked evening. Does that sound familiar to anyone? I thought so.
But enough reminiscing, let’s get back to the issue at hand, skillet sampling. At the Pan, I ordered a country-style skillet that included sautéed vegetables, sausage pieces, and over-easy eggs on a bed of hash browns with pancakes as the side. The eggs, hash browns, pancakes and vegetables were perfectly cooked. Whipped butter came with the cakes, which was excellent. However, the syrup wasn’t of the best quality. The sausage crumbles also needed improvement. The meal was typical Fryn’ Pan fare: nothing super fancy, but you will leave with a full stomach.
By the way, in the spirit of the downtown Fryn’ Pan, I ate this meal at midnight. And, just so you know, I was not drinking booze beforehand. These food reviews are serious business and take much concentration. The Pan is an interesting place to people-watch at that time of day. Speaking of interesting people, the cook and server that morning were sisters. This kept the late-night stop lively as their conversations were quite colorful – in a good way. It was the cook vs. server banter that you recognize if you’ve ever worked in a restaurant like I have.
Now, let’s travel a little further south and make a stop at Randy’s on University. There, I ordered a country-style skillet that included sautéed vegetables, a meat medley, and over-easy eggs on a bed of hash browns with pancakes as the side. The eggs, hash browns, pancakes and medley were perfectly cooked. However, Randy’s should try to use fresh mushrooms in the saute blend and not canned fungus. To cover for that mistake, there was a warm blanket of country-style gravy that was heavily ladled on top of the skillet. A sprinkled cheese blend was also a good addition. Lastly, the pancakes were very good, nice and fluffy. The syrup tasted of higher quality than the Pan.
One unique thing about Randy’s is that it’s the weekday breakfast hangout for big shots in the community. Every time I go there during day hours, I see leaders from Fargo’s business or political circles drinking coffee and yacking about the local this and that.
To review costs, the price was fairly comparable at these breakfast joints. Both meals were between $11 and $13. Randy’s was a little more expensive, because the two pancakes I ordered were a $1 upgrade. They were well worth the extra dough.
In this skillet duel, Randy’s was the winner for best-quality food. However, Fryn’ Pan is open at all hours and the staff is always very colorful and friendly. It’s a unique place, that’s for sure.
Rick Gion administers a Facebook group page called “Fargo-Moorhead Eats” that’s dedicated to the area’s great cooks and cuisine. Check it out, join, and feel free to post items about your local culinary adventures and home cooking.
YOU SHOULD KNOW
Randy’s University Diner
2130 University Dr S, Fargo
Fryn’ Pan Moorhead
2920 Highway 10 E
Fryn’ Pan Fargo
310 Main Ave Suite 170
November 13th 2023
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