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Marilyn Hagerty: Bonzer’s egg salad sandwich ‘almost an art form’

The soup is piping hot. The spoon is just right. And on a cold day in winter, I like to stop for lunch at Bonzer’s.

I don’t even need to tell them I would like an egg salad sandwich. They know. It’s about the only place I will make that order. I enjoy this sandwich made with 9-grain bread. It’s almost an art form. And I enjoy it with a hot cup of soup.

So things were pretty much the same on my January visit to Bonzer’s. The sandwich on soft 9-grain bread went well with the tomato soup.

The choice of breads is a strong point. There’s rye, white, 9-grain and pumpernickel, as well as onion or a French roll. And a croissant option is available.

The menu at Bonzer’s is creative. Here you can find a Braunschweiger sandwich served with mustard and onion on rye. Or you can have a Prague plate with a bratwurst and a Polish sausage on a bed of sauerkraut. There’s a slice of rye and mustard on the side.

Bonzer’s chili con carne is described as an old family recipe and not for amateurs.

Later in the day, regular customers at Bonzer’s enjoy warming up around the stove near the entryway. Some regulars, as well as new customers, prefer a place on a high stool chair along the big, long wooden bar.

Others prefer booths that are surrounded by historic banners and remnants that reflect the history of UND. The Bonzers brought treasures of the past collected by their family when they opened their first bar-restaurant at 12 N. Fourth St. In a way, they were successors to the once popular Golden Hour restaurant.

The Bonzers have been in business since 1983. They started in the same building where the Golden Hour ended.

They were determined to continue as a part of downtown after the flood. They moved to their current location on DeMers Avenue. They now are going into 35 years of business. And they are working with their son, Matt, who will take over the family business.

A graduate of the University of Wisconsin and the UND law school, Matt feels he should continue Bonzer’s. He wants to carry on the traditions of his parents. And he said he and his wife, Lexie, enjoy cooking.

Bonzer’s Sandwich Pub

420 DeMers Ave.

Telephone: (701) 775-0365

Owners: Jon and Cindy Bonzer; Matt Bonzer

Seating: 75 in booths and at counter

Hours for food service: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday

Specialties: Chili, Philly Dip Sandwich

Average ticket: $9 to $10             

Report card: A unique café and bar with 35 years history in downtown Grand Forks. Sandwich choices creative, extensive. Homemade soups with personality.