If you’re in North Dakota and looking for something fun to do (and chances are if you’re in North Dakota, you DEFINITELY will be), then make sure to stop by the Space Alien Grill and Bar! It was the tail end of our family road trip and we were joined by my eldest son, Alex, who is stationed in Minot. He’d spend the last two nights of our vacation with us in Bismarck as I planned that Saturday; our only full day together. North Dakota is the least visited state in the US and, since it’s 90% farmland, I can understand why. Another interesting tidbit – if North Dakota ever seceded from the United States, it would be the country with the third most nuclear weapons. Amid all the nukes and cows lies Bismarck, an oasis of sorts with a small zoo, museum, and all the usual stores and chains (including my favorite coffee place, Caribou, which is now extinct from the Midwest) most of us take for granted. Imagine my happiness when I not only discovered this novelty restaurant but that it was right down the street from our hotel!
Spending less time on the road was definitely a bonus as we’d driven ten hours the day before going from Keystone, South Dakota to pick up my son in Minot, North Dakota and then to our hotel in Bismarck. The problem is that we were stuck on local highways which meant you’d go from driving a hundred miles per hour on open road to 15 miles per hour stuck behind Ma and Pa Hoozenbottom’s family tractor. We did see some wildlife but it was few and far between and looking back, I wonder how many of them weren’t a mirage.
We spent our Saturday morning in Bismarck visiting the Dakota Zoo which was about a quarter the size of my Brookfield but, again, a helluva lot better than driving. We went from there to the Space Aliens Grill and Bar for lunch.
UFO themed restaurants are a rare and wonderful treat for me. Sure, novelty restaurants by nature mean overpaying for mediocre food but I’m all about the “experience.” In that regard, the gaudier the restaurant, the better! Last year the other Dave and I visited one such place in Sedona, Arizona and then he and his girlfriend, Melissa, went to a place called the “Cup & Saucer” in New York not long ago. That one turned out to be UFO-related in name only which is why you’re only hearing about it now. Thankfully, the Space Aliens Grill and Bar was about as garish as you can get with just about every square inch featuring something fun to look at or snap pictures with.
They even had someone walking around in an alien mascot costume who would entertain and pose with guests. I really wanted to cuddle with him/her but, knowing my luck, it was probably some underage kid inside and I’d end up spending our last night of vacation in a Bismarck prison. That poor alien, every time he/she tried saying hello to a little kid they’d burst into tears. Meanwhile, this “Baby Huey” was jumping up and down in the back ground waiting his turn.
Just as the name implies, there is a bar here so it’s not just for kids but adult kids like me too!
The menu had space-related names for their food such as “Martian Munchies” which further ingratiated me to them.
While waiting for our food, I ran around the restaurant snapping photos & selfies. My kids, meanwhile, were trying to hide under the table.
It was a good thing we had access to the lunch menu because I was feeding five people and the place wasn’t cheap. If it had been, we’d have returned that night for dinner!
The next day we passed another going through Fargo but it was early and before it had opened. A third restaurant in this franchise is in Albertville, Minnesota but still way out of reach from my Chicago.
We visited the Bismarck Heritage Museum (to be covered on my dinosaur site) and then relaxed in our room with crappy ScyFy shark-related movies leading up to their latest Sharknado film. The next morning a friend picked up Alex and brought him back to base while we embarked on the fifteen-hour drive back to Chicago. The idea was to do a straight shot but there was still one very important stop we needed to make first…
Coming up…the Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota!