Photos By Nolan P. Schmidt
Stone Town Grill in West Fargo is serving up a one-of-a-kind dining experience where guests can customize their meals from a large selection of healthy whole foods. Owners Jessica and Marty Larghe were inspired to make fresh food more approachable and delicious, and thus arose Stone Town Grill’s large fresh food bar and 12 made-from-scratch sauces inspired by cuisines around the world.
Nearly everything on the menu is made from scratch in-house. Guests build their own salad, grain or noodle bowl beginning by selecting their base, choosing from a variety of grains, mixed greens or noodles. Next, select from over 20 fresh vegetable options plus meat and plant-based protein choices. Then choose a sauce, ranging from flavors like TexMex to Korean BBQ, before dropping your bowl off at the grill to be cooked.
Stone Town Grill is independently and locally owned. Even the restaurant’s coffee, desserts, craft beers and pasta are locally sourced. “It’s important to us being locally owned that we use as many locally owned companies as we can,” Marty said.
Both Jessica and Marty have backgrounds in the restaurant industry. The idea for Stone Town Grill came from the flavors they’ve experienced through traveling
and how they cook at home: gluten-free, a lot of vegetables and made from scratch. On a trip to Zanzibar, Tanzania, which used to be a major spice trade hub, the Larghes were inspired by the city’s vibrant spice blends and cuisine. Stone Town Grill’s name pays homage to Stone Town, Zanzibar.
“At that point it was like, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice to find a way to incorporate these spice blends somehow into a concept,’” Jessica said. “That idea is loosely brought in here, with the sauces from around the world. All of our spice blends are made in-house. We blend everything in-house. We just wanted to take the element of simple food that’s fresh and whole and you know what it is and being able to get exactly what you want in your bowl.”
Jessica began creating and testing sauce recipes a few years ago and the couple officially began pursuing the restaurant in 2019.
“With this concept, we wanted to keep things customizable,” Jessica said. “We know people appreciate having a fully customizable meal and we wanted to make healthier fresh food really approachable and have different flavors. So the big thing for people is they have all these great choices and they can make something fresh and healthy.”
Stone Town Grill’s menu offers delicious options that can accommodate nearly any diet, dietary restrictions and food allergies. Diners with celiac disease can build delectable gluten-free bowls. All of Stone Town’s flavorful sauces are even gluten-free. And omnivores can build a filling meal from Stone Town’s selection of proteins and enjoy the menu’s chicken wings.
For people wanting to eat healthier whole foods and those with autoimmune conditions or allergies, Stone Town Grill strives to be a safe and delicious dining option.
“Our long-term goal was to build an approachable restaurant in town that people could come and try different foods,” Marty said.
Stone Town Grill’s emphasis on creating healthy meals is also carried into the restaurant’s innovative cooking process. The restaurant utilizes electric steam grills to simmer food at 250 degrees to retain the food’s nutritional value and add to the flavor of the meal.
“When you cook over high heat or you’re frying things you can break down a lot of the nutrients,” Marty said. “When you simmer, we actually build a nice slow heat into the meal. The heat will last longer and we believe you get more flavor out of it.”
Stone Town Grill is an incredibly convenient and healthy option for eating out. The healthy eating philosophy that Jessica and Marty implement at the restaurant can also be weaved into your everyday routine.
“I think the main thing is knowing what is going into your food, avoiding all those chemicals and preservatives, all the extra stuff that goes into highly processed foods,” Jessica said. “The more whole the food can be to start with to make the meal, I think overall it doesn’t matter if I eat some bread here or there because it has whole ingredients in it.”
“A big thing that people who are serious about or at least looking into a healthier diet, is looking at portions,” Marty said. “If your idea is to eat healthy, a lot of it is portion control.”
“The other thing I really focus on and think helps a lot with healthy eating is we have so many vegetables here. Vegetables are good and they’re fun and the sauces can help make them more palatable,” Jessica said. “I don’t like raw kale, but if I get it sauteed with some sweet potatoes and a good sauce, I’ll eat loads of kale. Obviously, meat has its purpose and grains, but we really push the vegetables.”
Learning how you best like your vegetables prepared can be instrumental in deriving the most enjoyment from eating them. That’s what Stone Town Grill sets out to do, create new flavor combinations and dining experiences for its guests while building a healthy and filling meal.
“Just because you’re eating healthy doesn’t mean it’s gonna taste bad,” Marty said. “You can be creative and you can have fun with it.”
Stone Town Grill
705 32nd Ave. E
West Fargo, ND 58078