“Nothing is more important to us than being North Dakotan,” said Jeremy Mahany of The Starving Rooster. “We’re all North Dakota boys and girls here, and our families go way back in our state’s farming tradition. From the moment we started planning this restaurant, we knew every aspect of it had to reflect our pride.” Founding The Starving Rooster in the old Altman and Taylor Tractor Company building in downtown Minot was the right start for such an homage to North Dakota. The restaurant’s name is a nod to the old company’s symbol — they had boasted that their threshing machine was so efficient, it wouldn’t leave even a kernel or two for the poor old rooster. The Starving Rooster has since opened a second location in downtown Bismarck, just north of the Event Center.
The Starving Rooster’s decor is fitting for its historic inspiration. Nearly every stick of furniture there is fashioned from rich, glossy barnwood. Corn heads, tillage disks, and other combine apparatuses are happily retired from the farm to this eatery. Old worn steel panels line the walls, still feeling as though they radiate some of the prairie summer’s sun. It’s a cozy, rustic atmosphere.
Unlike their emblem, The Starving Rooster’s guests can expect nothing but the best fare North Dakota has to offer. “We only use North Dakotan milk, grain, meat, and produce whenever possible,” said Jeremy. “That’s solely out of our commitment to the community. Of course, we make exceptions when we have to — North Dakota isn’t known for its olives and shrimp, and will probably stay that way unless we invade California and Louisiana. But when we learn we can get a new ingredient locally, we jump at the opportunity.”
The Starving Rooster’s menu would make its namesake lick its beak. They have prime rib Philly paninis, Buffalo chicken sandwiches, pulled pork quesadillas, rotisserie chicken wings, shrimp and crab stuffed mushrooms, chili, salads, bacon macaroni and cheese, and much more. My favorite, however, is their brick oven pizza.
“We run our brick oven at 700 degrees, the perfect temperature to make our dough chewy or crispy in the right places,” Jeremy explained. “Better yet, in that heat it only takes two minutes for our pizza to bake. That makes our cooks happy, and our guests even happier — some can’t believe how quickly we can bake them a whole pizza.”
The Starving Rooster’s beer list is another example of their commitment to North Dakota. In addition to the domestics, they serve beers by local breweries including Buffalo Commons Brewing, Laughing Sun Brewing, and Fargo Brewing. These premium beers are poured for only $4 a pint all day on Tuesday and Friday.
Tuesday isn’t the only special day to go to The Starving Rooster — they always have something good going on, like $5 Moscow mule Monday, half price wine (bottle and glass!) Wednesday, and $1 off 22 oz taps Thursday. The crème de la crème, however, happens on the weekend. From 10am to 2pm on Saturday and 11am to 2pm on Sunday you can build your own Bloody Mary or Caesar, starting with The Starving Rooster’s own five pepper, rosemary/ginger, or horseradish infused vodka (or plain if you prefer it), and then on to a selection of garnishes like cheddar cheese cubes, blue cheese stuffed olives, deviled eggs, and smoked ribs. If you’d rather it, bottomless mimosas are available then as well. Either is the perfect accompaniment to the weekend brunch menu including pancakes, cast iron egg scrambles, and eggs Benedict that will curl your toes.
From 3pm to 6pm and 9pm until closing The Starving Rooster offers great happy hour specials like $2 off appetizers, $3 domestic pints, $4 rail drinks, and more. If you’re clever and competitive, you’ll love their Wednesday trivia nights, which cover topics like The Office, Game of Thrones, the 90s, and other pop culture lore. The winners get a $25 gift card, while the runners-up gets a couple free beers to numb the sting of defeat.
The Starving Rooster serves fine food, beer, wine, and spirits daily at 512 E Main Ave in Bismarck. To see their menu and learn more about them, visit thestarvingrooster.com.
By David Scheller