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Marilyn Hagerty: Erickson's in Fertile has supper club feel

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FERTILE, Minn.—You get the feeling of an old-fashioned supper club when you walk into Erickson's Smokehouse Grill and Bar here. On my first visit I learned beef brisket is the big draw.

The meat is tender and tasty with a pleasant smoky taste. It is the best I can remember in my adventures through very large and very small restaurants.

The chef is Mark Erickson who with his wife, Sue Erickson, operates this somewhat new and mostly old, sprawling restaurant. They draw people from a wide area. They also cater in the area towns.

They were providing the meal at the beautiful nine-hole golf course in Fertile on a recent Saturday evening. I was at the restaurant at the top of the hill in town with Susie Shaft (SS).

We found the drive of around 40 miles from Grand Forks a pleasant outing on a beautiful summer evening in August. The restaurant on the main drag is easy to find—when you take Highway 32 southeast from Crookston.

The brisket dinner ($13.95) is the Saturday evening special along with steak and shrimp ($15.95). With the dinner, there's a salad bar. To me, it is inviting because the choices are limited to essential basic choices of potato, salad and soup. Not all the excess choices too often resting in salad bars.

There's a friendly feeling around the old lounge area at Erickson's. For some steady customers, it's a second home. SS and I sat at the old U-shaped bar and visited with Aleesha Benbo, the server.

She was efficient, friendly. And she remembers customers when they come back. Just as their loyal kitchen crew, the Ericksons credit her for keeping customers coming back.

Along with brisket and pulled pork, hamburgers along with the salad bar are top choices of customers. Then there's a dessert of salted caramel ice cream with brownie bites ($4.95)—and well, why not?

Erickson's Smokehouse Grill & Bar

Fertile, Minn.

Owner-operators: Mark and Sue Erickson

Telephone: (218) 945-6806

Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday; 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday

Report card: With an old-fashioned supper club ambience, Erickson's Smokehouse Grill & Bar draws customers to Fertile, Minn. The brisket dinner is the main attraction.

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

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