If you spend your driving days in cities or towns, you know how easy it is to pull over for a cup of coffee. You can’t do that out here on the vast open prairies of North Dakota. You can, however, pull in to a small town such as Halliday, just off of Highway 200 in Dunn County. We did that one Sunday afternoon in March, early spring.
Jode O’s was open, and the coffee was waiting for us.
It’s a traditional small town family cafe, right down to the swivel stools at the counter, and that’s where we perched ourselves. Coffee coming right up!
Jode O’s is quiet and comfortable. Half of the ownership waited on us at the counter. Sometimes she was in back cooking when an order came up. The other half of the ownership, an oil field businessman was at the center table — approachable, talkative and friendly.
There’s no doubt that Halliday once was a noisier town with a lot of hoopin’ and hollerin’ goin’ on. It is past those busier days. Highway 8 clips the eastern edge of the town. Before the Army Corps of Engineers flooded the Missouri River Valley, Highway 8 was a major thoroughfare from the Canadian border to the Black Hills. Traffic dried up when the lake took over the valley.
Now, oilfield workers live in town, and some of the long time residents of Halliday work in the oil field. So, oil has been good for the little town, and that’s something to holler about.
The hand-written daily special menu advertises what is good, such as the apple-pie filled pancakes. We didn’t try them since we were there for only coffee, but it’s on our list of things to try next time we’re there and it is the special of the day.
We thought it humorous that the handwritten menu also lets us know there are a few items that are not currently available.
Next time we’re in Halliday, we aim to make it a mid-week stop to see if we can catch all the latest news of the town shared at the center table in the middle of the cafe. If we miss it, we can always get the latest happenings from the town crier hollering on the street corner, or as it is now, the quiet little entry bulletin board.