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Published May 20, 2014, 02:19 PM

Franchise with a conscience: Service slow but food tasty at Peoples Organic

FARGO – The good and bad of a franchise is that it’s predictable. It may not look quite like it does on TV, but it’s not a surprise either. “Standardize” is the goal.

By: Eric Daeuber, Forum food critic, INFORUM

FARGO – The good and bad of a franchise is that it’s predictable. It may not look quite like it does on TV, but it’s not a surprise either. “Standardize” is the goal.

With only four locations, Fargo being the only one outside the Twin Cities, Peoples Organic may not qualify. And that’s a good thing.

While not necessarily full of surprises, it delivers something new to Fargo, something that franchises rarely do – food with a conscience.

The menus at Peoples Organic are thorough. You know exactly what will show up on your plate. You know it will be fresh, natural, and it will taste like it’s meant to taste. And, using the hard-on-the-colorblind menu key, you’ll know what’s organic, what’s vegan and what’s biodynamic.

I’ll leave wine experts to talk about the last one.

You’ll also have a good idea who grew the coffee beans, and you can get a beer that came from right around here and didn’t require a tanker load of fossil fuel to deliver. However, what you might not be so certain of is when it will all get to your table.

You’ll get generally good food, very good baked goods and a stellar bowl of carrot and ginger soup ($4.50). You’ll also get decent meat, one interesting offering being the lamb meatballs served with a respectable tzatziki sauce and all the necessary Greek bits and pieces ($12).

Salads are nicely put together. One worth trying is the cobb salad with, not surprisingly, nitrate-free bacon and an organic egg ($11). The salmon, just a little overdone but well crusted, is a worthwhile addition.

A good way to start is the spreads ($8.50), including an unimpressive hummus served next to a spicy harissa and a sampling of house-made bread and crackers.

A great way to end is anything from the bakery, my choice being the apple crisp ($5.50) – earthy, warm and free from excessive sugar.

Service can be slow and a little chaotic. Our soup arrived twice and a little out of order. The wine flight ($8) included three uneven samples generally under the expected 2 or 3 ounces. Dishes were dropped from time to time, and as the evening wore on, it became harder to attract the attention of the otherwise friendly wait staff.

These things are often functions of time and testing, but all the pieces are in place, and Fargo can only benefit from this kind of dining option.

In spite of its strip-mall location, it offers a funky, contemporary-styled retreat for the conscionable.


Eric Daeuber is an instructor at Minnesota State Community and Technical College. Readers can reach him at food@daeuber.com.

Peoples Organic

Address: 2653 45th St. S., Fargo

Cuisine: American

Food: 3 stars

Service: 2 stars

Ambiance: 3 stars

Dining Details

Hours: 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday

Phone: (701) 356-6456

Reservations Accepted: Yes

Alcohol: Beer and wine

Dress: As you like

Credit Cards accepted: Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express

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