Sit Down and Eat!

Linda Burton posting from Bismarck, North Dakota – After the fifth person suggested I eat at Kroll’s, I decided to go for it. “Where can I find some German food?” was the question I’d been asking around this town with a German heritage and a German name. I checked Kroll’s website first, looking for their address, and soon fell into such a giggle fit I didn’t care if the food was good or not, I just wanted to be there. Kroll’s is a 50’s-style restaurant with locations in Bismarck, Mandan, Minot and Fargo and has been serving up German (and American) food since 1972, according to their online blurb. Go there for your Knoephla, they sell it by the bucketful (bring the bucket back for a refill), or your Fleischkeuchele; have a little Kuchen for dessert. But the menu isn’t what was making me laugh. It was Clara, and Carol, and Eileen, Kroll’s “girls” who will make you laugh too, just watch.

And then, Sit Down And Eat!

As a southern girl who grew up eating down-home chicken and dumplings, I took to the Knoephla right away; it’s a chicken-based creamy soup with German dumplings called “knoephla;” here’s one recipe.

The Soup

4 cups water, 2 cups chicken broth, 1 large onion diced, 1 stalk celery diced, 2 cups potatoes diced, 2 bay leaves, 2 chicken bouillon cubes, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 cup cream

Knoephla Dough, a German dumpling

3 cups flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 3/4 teaspoon salt


Soup: In a big soup pot add water and broth, then add onion, celery, potatoes, bouillon cubes and spices. Boil until potatoes are done, about 12-15 minutes. Add cream and knoepfla. Simmer 30-40 minutes.

Knoephla Dough: Mix flour, salt, and baking powder together to make a fairly stiff dough. Add enough water to make the dough stiff — 3/4 cups or more depending on how much gluten is in your flour. You can use milk in place of the water — some do. Roll into 1/2 inch ropes and cut with a pair of scissors into 1/2 inch pieces right into the simmering soup.

As you can imagine, everyone has their opinion as to the best recipe – no garlic, no bay leaves; add chicken, add carrots, use more cream. There are even disagreements as to exactly what size the knoepfla should be. At Fried’s Family Restaurant in Mandan they choose to cut the knoephla in small bits, saying they absorb the liquid better that way; Kroll’s are at least an inch thick. I find it delicious either way. Make it a day ahead and allow the knoephla time to absorb more liquid; as you know “everything tastes better the next day,” just like Thanksgiving leftovers.

For all who aren’t familiar with German cooking, the Fleischkeuchele is seasoned ground beef wrapped in pastry and deep fried; the Kuchen is a custard/fruit-filled pastry that is almost pie, but isn’t. I agree with Clara, and Carol, and Eileen. Sit down and eat!


Fried’s Family Restaurant’s knoephla soup was featured in Bon Appetite Magazine in an article “The United Plates of America: A guide to the best things to eat, drink and buy in all 50 states” in May 2009.

Kroll’s Diner’s North Dakota Rancher’s Skillet was chosen by the Food Network Magazine as the Best Breakfast in North Dakota, under “50 States, Fifty Breakfasts”

And one more tickler, a TV Commercial you’ll really like