As part of a broad and long-standing tradition of collective bargaining through rioting, the eighteenth-century food riots erupted when, faced with the threat of scarcity and rising prices, a crowd composed largely of the working class assembled to demand affordable, accessible subsistence.

Today in Dickinson, Food Riot, an Italian restaurant, has grown from humble beginnings with their eyes on keeping area residents’ cravings at bay — lest a riot occur.

Owner and Operator of Dickinson’s Food Riot, Jill Rosenow officially opened Food Riot at its present location on 40 7th St W. in Dickinson on March 13 of last year, at the height of the pandemic.

“If you can survive the year of the pandemic, you know, opening a new restaurant, what can’t you survive, right?” Rosenow said.

Food Riot offers unique takes on Italian cuisine, suited to the palates of Dickinsonians and the surrounding communities. Upon first glance at their menu, one can see offerings such as the best-selling Chicken Alfredo, Shrimp Alfredo and their Riot Alfredo — containing three different types of meat, chicken, bacon and shrimp, in addition to their housemade alfredo sauce and cavatappi pasta. All three are served with their signature Riot Bread.

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Freshly cooked bacon, housemade alfredo sauce, cavatappi pasta, combined with shrimp and chicken, better known as Riot Pasta, a dish that is sure to leave customers wanting more. (M.C. Amick/The Dickinson Press)
Freshly cooked bacon, housemade alfredo sauce, cavatappi pasta, combined with shrimp and chicken, better known as Riot Pasta, a dish that is sure to leave customers wanting more. (M.C. Amick/The Dickinson Press)

“We use the highest quality ingredients we can, we put a lot of effort and work into our food, we shred our own parmesan, puree our own garlic, our alfredo sauce only has those two ingredients, plus heavy cream, butter, salt, pepper and a few spices...all pure and good,” Rosenow said.

Food Riot also offers Italian favorites such as cannoli’s, zeppole (Italian Doughnuts) with a variety of fillings and toppings, and beverages such as Italian sodas.

Food Riot also offers Italian favorites such as cannoli’s, zeppole (Italian Doughnuts) with a variety of fillings and toppings, and beverages such as Italian sodas. (M.C. Amick/The Dickinson Press)
Food Riot also offers Italian favorites such as cannoli’s, zeppole (Italian Doughnuts) with a variety of fillings and toppings, and beverages such as Italian sodas. (M.C. Amick/The Dickinson Press)

When customers leave full of great food and are happy about the service they received, Rosenow considers that a job well done.

COVID-19 gave many businesses the opportunity to adapt, something Rosenow was accustomed to in her previous occupation as a dining service manager for Country House.

Despite the new location, Rosenow may be revisiting her roots, as some sections of the building return to their old medical operations. Rosenow said the owner bought the building in hopes of bringing a mental health facility or psychiatric ward to Southwestern North Dakota.

The old cafeteria space, occupied by Food Riot is equipped with food delivery equipment, so Rosenow will be able to deliver food to patients in the utilized medical spaces, whether that be a psych ward or a drug rehabilitation facility.