MAPLE LAKE, Minn. — Times change. Traditions linger. And they still serve fried chicken and lemon meringue pie on Sundays at the Inn at Maple Crossing. The previous hotel at the northwest end of the lake was run for years by Dora and Clarice Buhn after their parents died. They would come up every spring from Minneapolis and open the hotel with its cafe. They would close up again each November.
The One-N-Only, a bar and restaurant in nearby Euclid, Minn., seems to be a well-kept secret. A reader recently messaged The Eatbeat to say it's a gem in Polk County. The food is very good, the premises very clean with knotty pine walls and light furniture, according to the reader. So, with Sue Huus (SH) and Susie Shaft (SS), I headed north of East Grand Forks on Minnesota Highway 220. At first it seems you can't get there from here. But you can if you try. It's an adventure taking bits of County Roads 20 and 19 over to Euclid on U.S. Highway 75.
Before noon most weekdays, the large parking lot at the rear of Wild Bill's Sports Saloon on DeMers Avenue is nearly full. You walk in the large saloon and find a barrel of peanuts welcoming customers. It's dark around the bar area, but not real dark because of all the TV screens. And there are large windows looking out on DeMers Avenue. The kitchen is in full view. Near the front of the large saloon there are booths and tables. And there are people gathered early for lunch. For many, the lunch is the $5 hamburger that comes with fries. Beverages are extra.
A sign that says ''Responsibility Road'' leads into the huge, orderly lunch room at Discovery School in Grand Forks. I recently joined second-graders from Megan Carlson's class. It was Friday, and they were serving turkey tidbits with mashed potatoes. I also picked up a slice of whole wheat bread along with some corn and a salad.
The wait was long. Maybe a half-hour. But it was on a rainy evening, and I had my mind made up. I wanted lobster. When I entered the Red Lobster with my daughter, Gail Hagerty (GH), we found a pleasant place to wait and watch the lobsters in the big tank. We actually got tired of watching since they were all cuddled up in a corner — not doing much. I learned later they are in a state of hibernation as they await selection.
KARLSTAD, Minn. — Very good food with a Swedish flair is served at the Nordhem Restaurant in this northern Minnesota town with a population of 769. Unlike most small-town cafes, this one is large and beautifully decorated in a Swedish theme.There are fine wooden booths and tables. The restaurant is rich with beautiful Scandinavian rosemaling and designs in tones of sage green, harvest gold and rose.
Die-hard sports fans head for the bar area of Buffalo Wild Wings. Casual patrons who like the burgers as well as the wings choose booths or tables. On a recent visit, I opted for the sunroom with windows along three sides. Because wasps had claimed the outdoor patio area, the customers were all inside on the last Sunday of August. This is the time of year when UND students also show up in droves.
"Step up. Step up," said a server at one of the three ordering stations inside Culver's the other day. "I can't," I said. "I haven't decided what I want." Culver's is one of those places with so many choices it is almost bewildering. It's comfortable to most customers who go there more often. Or maybe they are quicker at making up their minds.
Because it's quiet at midday and rather upscale, I enjoy occasional visits to the Boardwalk Bar & Grill in what I consider "restaurant row" in East Grand Forks. The Plain Jane Burger ($10) I had there recently convinced me I would go back and order the same. This is one of eight burgers on the menu. It's served open-faced with lettuce, tomato, mayo and onion. The beef seemed of good quality, and the portion was adequate.
While the menu is long and varied, a couple of recent visits to the Italian Moon convinced me that a trip through the bar with its salads, soup, chicken and pizza is what many of the customers order. Actually, it is an all-purpose food bar beginning with homemade soup. It continues with salad items — maybe too many. There is plenty of fried chicken and freshly baked pizza coming out of a well-staffed kitchen.