Summertime diners are finding their way to the Blue Moose restaurant and its deck above the Red River. Some are lingering over lunch and evening meals outdoors at Ely’s Ivy in downtown Grand Forks. Others choose to eat on the rooftop of Rhombus Guys at 312 Kittson Ave.

These restaurants are among those where dining out means eating out-of-doors. One of the joys of summertime.

The Blue Moose

The deck looking out over the Red River draws full tables to the Moose during summertime. Between the hours of 11 a.m. and 11 p.m. (12 p.m. on weekends) customers show their preference for eating outdoors.

The range of the menu is wide. It runs from small plates to pasta and salads. A long-time favorite of mine is the Oriental chicken salad ($13.50). It has greens topped with chow mein noodles, celery, Mandarin oranges and grilled chicken. And there’s a pleasant tasting honey poppy seed dressing.

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Most of the diners on a Saturday evening in July were ordering from the steaks and seafood side of the menu. The food is good. Some beyond good. The ambience is summer-time great. And down below, the Red River flows peacefully north.

Ely’s Ivy

The pocket park adjacent to Ely’s Ivy restaurant at 22 S. Third St. in downtown Grand Forks is becoming a draw for summer meals. There are nine tables with lunch running from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays and later on weekends.

There’s a wide range of the menu featuring lunch and dinner. And pan fried walleye is a popular choice.

Hanging on

In these days of coronavirus across the land, restaurants are challenged. In the Greater Grand Forks area, they are responding with precautions.

Nationally, there are creative ways of hanging on. The Wall Street Journal reports that some restaurants in Ohio have added plants to add life. And a restaurant in Australia is using cardboard cutouts of people to fill empty spaces.

Locally, customers are visiting favorite restaurants as well as ordering food deliveries. Zachary Aune, service manager at the Olive Garden, says there is an increase in customers coming in.

“But, it is not like it was before," said Aune, whose staff has been working with increased cleaning programs. “We’re slowly getting back to a full menu -- with steaks.’’

There are home deliveries at any hour for a minimum of $50. And there is curbside delivery service.

“It’s still not like it was before,” he said, “but there is an increase.”

Reach Marilyn Hagerty at