When I go to Bemidji, I eat. Many times the first stop is at Raphael’s bakery and café downtown. However, with teenage grandchildren the search becomes more complicated. We ended up at a place near the lake called Lucky Dogs.

There we found outside tables with umbrellas as well as seating within. There on Sunday afternoon, people were dropping by to eat their favorite hotdog.

The dogs have personality. Some almost too much for me. But they bring plenty of people back. Servers inside are courteous.

Later on, the Mexican restaurant Pollo Rancho called. It was packed with many families on Sunday evening. With seating for 150, the brightly decorated restaurant has been part of the Bemidji scene for 10 years.

Hampton breakfast

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The best was yet to come. Breakfast served to guests at Hampton Inn is a pleasing, far better than average event.

The selection of fruits, beverages and availability for waffles, eggs is beyond average. So, too, is the dining area. There are comfortable tables and seating beyond in the lobby looking out over the lake.

You find maple sugar, fruit and slivered almonds alongside the oatmeal. And with newspapers, computers and comfortable seating, it doesn’t seem to matter whether the day is cloudy or clear.

Minnesota Nice

In years past, reviews have been on such Bemidji area restaurants as Minnesota Nice, Tutto Bene and Ruttger’s Garden Court Grill which has now reopened.

On this, the second day of summer, the focus is on the Red Stu Breakfast Bar. It’s located along with Bar 209 in the same old, amazingly revamped building at 217 Minnesota Ave. N.W.

There, with Joel and Amy Medd, we explored the breakfast choices at Red Stu. And the menu says it’s noon somewhere. So our choices included country style meatloaf with onion, Dijon mayo and cheddar cheese on wheat bread. Another late morning choice was described as La Havanna Na Na Na. This sandwich at $12 is made with pulled pork, ham, spicy pickle and Swiss cheese.

The wide open, white and light décor brings life and interest to the revamped building. And as service in the Red Stu breakfast bar is closing, the action moves into the Bar 209 section.

While hours for Red Stu breakfast ranges from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., the hours for the adjoining Bar 209 are listed from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.

There, customers find a menu designed for late lunch and evening fare. Among the offerings is a custard dessert. One that I must try again.

Much of the charm in visits to the Red Stu and Bar 209 was the presence of an exceptionally good server – Jaz Venzor. She said she originally came from Colorado to play basketball at Bemidji State University. She told us, “I love this town.”