Adventure. Explore. Eat!
Could this cool badlands eatery be the best kept secret in western North Dakota? Could we have found a hidden gem?
Our day began early, as did our adventures and explorations in the Beautiful Badlands of North Dakota. A three hour drive to one of our favorite events, the Poco Rio Frio, took us to the CCC Campground area near the Long X Bridge, south of Watford City, North Dakota. There we met a group of fun loving fat bikers and snowshoers who laughed in the face of frigid temperatures (double digits below zero!). Seems the bigger the challenge, the happier they were!
Next stop, the North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, one of our favorite places to snow shoe, and to ‘interact’ with the bison. They’re seemingly friendly creatures from afar, but they can charge! (Just ask Mike!) Be careful when they roam around your vehicles, and do not intentionally join their herd!
The memory of a sign on Highway 85 west of Watford City prompted us to head out of the park before sunset, and soon we were past Arnegard and headed south on roads we’d never driven. We knew only that we were going south towards the Little Missouri River. We encountered some mighty friendly creatures along the way!
By the time the sun was setting, we’d reached the Little Missouri River nearly directly west of the North Unit, and were on our way back to Highway 85. And Arnegard! And we were hungry!
For a long time we’d noticed a sign for the PDQ Club, but never stopped to investigate. This time we did! And we are so glad for that! Arnegard boasted a population of 166 residents in 2014. Though it’s a bustling little town in the heart of oil country, we weren’t expecting much of a menu. We were hungry! We just wanted to eat!
What a surprise we got! After a drive of several blocks north, off of Highway 85/200, we came to the PDQ Club. It’s exterior was well lit, and the building was in good shape. And…..there were cars. And pickups. And more pickups. It looked like the place might be packed!
It’s Big, and It’s Friendly!
Not so! Turns out the place is large! We entered through the main door of the bar area, and to our surprise we stepped into a spacious, clean, and inviting area. We were greeted by the bar staff with smiles and welcomes.
The bar itself was the main attraction there! Pennies! It’s covered in pennies! Turns out one of the former bar owners crafted the surface, which is worth a look!
After walking through an adjacent area of the bar which was well equipped as a cafe type space, we ventured through beautiful doors into a formal dining area. What a surprise! We did not expect such surroundings. The place was busy! There was a din of conversation among families. People of all ages were dining, and enjoying Saturday night in Arnegard!
After just a short wait, which was understandable with the large number of diners, we were greeted with a big smile from Nellie, our wait person. What a friendly and knowledgable young lady! Turns out, like many people in western North Dakota, she was not a native of the area, but from Utah. It was fun to visit with her to gain her insights of the booming ranch/oil area. Good things said!
Friday and Saturday Specials
It was Saturday night, and Snow Crab was the special. From the looks of the tables around us, it was popular and it was good! We found out that Friday nights are especially busy as well, when Prime Rib is the feature. Yup, we’ll be going back to try that!
The menu was more extensive than we had anticipated! Of note was an entire page of Mexican offerings. We learned later that all ingredients are fresh, and everything is made from scratch! That was apparent from the taste, which was not like restaurants which open cans of food, or thaw menu items purchased off of food service trucks. The Mexican food was authentic, home made. Impressive! The serving sizes were substantial, and the steaks were cooked as we ordered.
Fresh, Made from Scratch. And Good!
Nellie introduced us to Jen, the owner and obviously an excellent cook! Jen hails from Washington, DC, where she attained considerable experience in the culinary arts. Lucky for the Watford City area, and all of western North Dakota, that she likes small town life in Arnegard. Her dedication and passion for good food translate into a real treat for all who dine at the PDQ Club. Arnegard is lucky to have her!
We’re Going Back!
There is no doubt, because of the friendly staff, clean and spacious surroundings, and excellent food, that we will be going back to the PDQ Club in Arnegard, North Dakota again. Whether after more area explorations, or when passing through on our motorcycles (they love bikers here!) our goal is to try more items from the menu, have one of the weekend specials, and continue our conversation with Nellie and Jen. We like this place, and appreciate the hospitality!
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What’s Going On? A lot! Find out by checking out our Things To Do page.
And that North Unit we mentioned? Wow!!! Check out what we encountered there on our Wedding Day!!
Our photos are on display, and for sale, at the Long X Trading Post Visitor Center/Pioneer Museum in Watford City. Stop in and take a look!
We’ve got stories to tell, oh boy, do we! Book us for a speaking engagement, or gallery showing. We’d love to spend some time with you!