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THE EATBEAT: Paula’s a full-service restaurant with homemade pies

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MAYVILLE, N.D. — Things are much the same this spring at Paula’s Cafe on Main Street. And the extensive menu is one reason I like to go back from time to time.

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The restaurant was established in 1959 by the late Paula Tunseth. Her sons David and Kelly Lipsiea took over after her death.

They sold the business to Joe Bertrand seven years ago. He puts in about 70 hours a week as chef and baker. But he now closes at 4 p.m. and no longer serves evening meals.

Instead, the doors open bright and early, and steady customers start filling in the booths in the cafe area. Later on, for lunch, many prefer the carpeted dining area.

The restaurant added a salad bar in the dining room. And it seems to be popular with the regulars who eat there. My companions for the day were Marijo Shide (MS) and Ann Porter (AP).

We branched out with our orders. AP opted for an old-fashioned home style dinner plate ($7.95). And it appeared with the mashed potatoes, bread dressing, turkey gravy and everything you need. Except, there was no cranberry.

The presentation of the Mandarin chicken salad ($8.25) ordered by MS was delightful. There was a row of Mandarin slices around the large salad bowl.

For me, the small Chef Salad ($7.25) was a full meal. The greens were chilled and the breadstick heated. The tomato slices were marginal, but better than some I have been served this spring. The honey mustard dressing was just right.

The orders were delivered during the mid-day rush by a couple of servers who did not seem harried. They just kept moving as the dining room grew busy. They seemed to know the customers.

I make a lot of dumb decisions when I order, but I made a very good choice in Mayville. I asked for the homemade bread pudding and three forks for sharing.

The forks were minimal quality. But, nevermind, the bread pudding was over and above expectations with its warm caramel pecan sauce ($3.95).

As we walked away, MS was praising the Mayville version of bread pudding. Pies are a big draw. And they are made fresh every morning.

Paula’s is a comfortable, homey sort of place. The rest room was nice and clean, but kind of cold. The booths in the cafe section were almost full of customers during the noon hour. And there is plenty of room for people to mingle in the dining room.

It is one of four or five choices for eating in Mayville and an easy drive of about 40 miles. Many customers make a stop at the downtown bakery before heading out.

Paula’s

11 W. Main Street, Mayville, N.D.

Owner-manager-chef: Joe Bertrand.

Hours: 5:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday; 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday

Telephone: (701) 788-4026

Seating capacity: 120 in cafe and dining room.

Signature item: Homemade pie.

Report card: Although it is no longer a steak house with hours extending into the evening, Paula’s is a full-service restaurant with above-average, home-cooked meals. The place seems homey and friendly. The prices are fair. Doors are open early, and the pies are baked in the kitchen — not trucked in.

Reach Marilyn Hagerty at mhagerty@gra.midco.net or (701) 772-1055.

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