By Rick Gion
It’s the Packers vs. Spartans breakfast battle of two locally established heavyweights. You guessed it: I’m talking about West Fargo’s Deaner’s Diner and North Fargo’s The Shack on Broadway. This is a serious competition so let’s get ready to rumble.
In this debut column, I’ll be comparing just breakfast items: meaty omelets, hashbrowns and pancakes. In a different bout, I’ll maybe do a review of hot beef sandwiches at the two establishments. A hot turkey sandwich round in that competition might also have to take place to cover the whole squared circle.
I’ll be honest about my bias. I’ve been a fan of The Shack since high school. I grew up a north sider and lived about a mile from the breakfast icon. That means I’ve been eating there for over 20 years. There’s a reason why The Shack consistently wins best breakfast in local media competitions. It never disappoints. Never.
But, the battle isn’t over quite yet. I’ve been enjoying the homemade pie at Deaner’s before it was Deaner’s. Back in the day, it was TNT’s Diner. TNT’s was solid, but I think Deaner’s is at a different level these days and that’s a good thing. It’s why Deaner’s gets recognition on the internet by plenty of foodie websites as one of North Dakota’s best diners. The place is legendary.
Since The Shack won the High Plains Reader’s “Best Bets” for the Fargo-Moorhead area’s top breakfast last year, let’s review Deaner’s first to give them the first shot.
At Deaner’s, I ordered the “meat lovers” omelet, two pancakes and orange juice. The pancakes did not come as a side for the meal so I had to order them separately. I ordered two, and they were huge - like face-covering huge. The omelet had bacon, ham, sausage and a melted cheese blend. Hashbrowns came with the meal, and they were nice and crispy. Toast was also included. All in all, this breakfast was superb, and the service was excellent.
Here are downsides to Deaner’s: It’s a drive for me from downtown Fargo, and the pancakes didn’t come with the meal.
At The Shack, I ordered the “meat lovers omelet” and orange juice. The pancakes were part of the meal so I didn’t have to pay extra for them. The omelet had bacon, ham, sausage and a melted cheese blend. Hashbrowns came with the meal, and they were nice and crispy. Toast was not included.
By the way, The Shack’s pancakes are the best in the area in my opinion. I’m guessing they use malted milk powder in the batter. That’s probably what gives them a little twang. I apologize to The Shack if I just gave away their secret ingredient!
Here are downsides to The Shack: The weekend brunch wait, and it’s also a bit of a drive for me from downtown.
Omelet plates at both establishments were about $11. However, my tab at Deaner’s was a bit more due to the addition of pancakes.
Paying a fitting homage to these local breakfast giants is tough. And, there wasn’t a knockout to end this match. It was extremely close. For the ‘most important meal of the day,’ The Shack gets the heavyweight belt by only a few points. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t items at Deaner’s that may be better. It’s worth going back there to try other Midwestern lunch or dinner fare.
The next bout in this local breakfast challenge is a comparison of Fryn’ Pan vs. Randy’s on University. Bring it on!
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
The Shack on Broadway at 3215 N Broadway in Fargo
Deaner’s Diner at 405 Main Ave W in West Fargo
September 15th 2023
August 15th 2023
July 22nd 2023
June 14th 2023
May 14th 2023
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