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THE EATBEAT: Earl's Drive-In: Go for the gizzards

Marilyn Hagerty

They say Earl’s Drive-In on Highway 11 East is kind of a hot spot in Roseau, Minn., on nice summer days.

They also say people go there for chicken gizzards.

So I swung into Earl’s when I arrived in Roseau recently. The nicely painted red tables and chairs outside were so inviting that I hopped out of the car and had a burger and cola. I watched the cars, campers, bikes stop in and the people of all ages enjoying the outdoor setting.

None of them were eating chicken gizzards. So I went back before leaving Roseau and ordered gizzards. They came in a paper tray in all their glory. They were breaded, deep fried and crunchy. And I gingerly approached one.

That was enough for me.

A gizzard dinner with fries, coleslaw and toast runs $7.99. And for people who like gizzards, this is the place to go.

Otherwise, Earl’s Drive-In is a well kept, inviting place. Service was slow, but the food was good.

The Drive-In is owned and operated by Doug and Teri Magnusson. They met when she was a carhop when her parents owned the restaurant. Now, two of their sons, Andy and Gabe, help out at the Drive-In. A third son, Josh, is in military service in Korea.

During the school year, the Magnussons both work at other jobs in Roseau. She says this time of year they have a “ton of cars” from North Dakota stopping by regularly. They welcome the business they get from Polaris employees of Roseau.

Along with other businesses in this town near Lake of the Woods, the Magnussons had to recoup after the flood of 2002. “People were broke,” she said, “and we had to re-do.”

Now they have fresh paint along with a flag and red geraniums on their premises. And a sign that says, “Uff da. Let’s eat lefse for sale.”

Earl’s Drive-in features tubs of chicken and dinners of ribs, gizzards, chicken, shrimp and fish. The dinners come with fries, coleslaw and toast. And the crew at the Drive-In makes up 50 pounds of potato salad every day.

You can get coffee or milk for 99 cents at Earl’s Drive-In. And there’s a baby ice cream cone for 60 cents.

Earl’s Drive-In

Highway 11 East

Roseau, Minn.

Telephone: 218-463-1912

Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Owners: Doug and Terri Magnusson

Report card: A well-kept, attractive and inviting drive-in. Food is good quality. Chicken gizzards are a unique draw. Service was slow.