RED LAKE FALLS, Minn. -- Janet Rodriguez, the only server, was moving around the Memories Café in an orderly manner. Taking orders. Serving up homemade food. The restaurant at noon was filling up with people who seemed mostly to be regular customers.
There was a big table of women who said they come in every day. There were a few tables of men who seemed to be stopping in from their jobs.
It took us awhile to find the restaurant once we found Red Lake Falls. But four of us were hungry and happy to get a table in the well lighted, spacious facility. My Eatbeat companions were Ann Porter, Susie Shaft and Beth Randklev.
We found the chili was mild but still had personality. The toasted cheese sandwiches on wheat bread were somehow better than those we eat at home.
In this wide open restaurant, customers can see the cook, Julie Vidette, at work. They are comfortable waiting their turn for service.
And as the server, Rodriguez says when customers who come regularly fail to show up she worries about them. They are people who enjoy eating together.
Among the usual lunchtime guests on Tuesday were Callie Malevitz, JoAnn Thibert, Pat Byron, Mildred Thorfinsson, Shirley Schmit and Kathy LaPlante.
These women are in no rush. They say they are like family, and they enjoy gathering everyday at Memories.
The menu for Memories is well designed – succinct and easy to read. Appetizers, of course. There are a dozen versions of burgers. They are served with French fries and pickles for prices ranging from $6.99 to $9.99 for a double bacon cheeseburger.
The menu is complete with sandwiches, salads and baskets. Dessert choices include peach cream strudel, raspberry cream croissant and cookies.
The breakfast menu offers classic choices in an easy to read format. Omelets are offered in western and south of the border versions. And customers can build their own for $8.99 with choices of three ingredients.
As we drove around Red Lake Falls hunting for the café, it looked as though everyone in this town of 1,404 people (as a sign says) had just mowed their grass. We learned the mayor is Allen Bertilrud, but we didn’t meet him.
Memories is owned by Red Lake County Co-op, and Michelle Longtin, the manager, says work will soon begin on a new building nearby. She said the new restaurant at 217 Eighth St. SE, will be larger. It will have seating for 65 to70. And it will have convenience store “grab and go” merchandise.
Red Lake Falls, Minn.
Hours: 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Owner: Red Lake County Coop
Report card: Ordinary food seems extraordinary in large, comfortable café. Well lighted, very clean restroom is a plus.