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Eatbeat: Much to choose from at the Moose

There are specials and bonuses. So many that it makes my head spin when I go into the Blue Moose with friends or visiting relatives.

There's an annual uptick in business when classes resume at UND in late August. And the Blue Moose continues as one of the most popular restaurants in the Forks. These days, customers are choosing outdoor seating on the balcony high above the Red River of the North.

This provides a nice view of the Red and the Sorlie Bridge leading over to Grand Forks. It would take a master's degree in menu reading to figure out all the bargains on the large, newspaper-style menu. But many visitors seem to be steady patrons of the Blue Moose and know the specialties available.

Special dinners include walleye on Wednesdays and steak on Thursdays. A wide variety of choices are prepared in the kitchen supervised by Chef Nate Sheppard, who is a part owner of the Moose. Others are Patrick Boppre, general manager, along with Dave Homstad, Lyle Gerzewski and Greg Stennes.

Oriental Chicken Salad ($13) has long been my favorite choice for lunch at the Moose. It is a pleasing mixture of greens topped with chow mein noodles, celery, Mandarin oranges and grilled chicken.

When I order it, I am happy. I was not happy recently with another lunch combo when the soup had too sharp of a taste and too thick a cheese topping. The burger came with meat that seemed ground too coarsely. And there was a fly — I think it was Philip — doing cartwheels over the table.

Most visits to the Moose are good. It was the choice of a granddaughter, Carmen, to celebrate her 15th birthday. She came recently on a visit from Pittsburgh and had long remembered sitting on the balcony at the Moose. The menu is so varied that it seems to suit customers of all ages.

The strength of the Moose seems to be the wide variety of choices. There is a lounge area with a bar. There are extra rooms on an upper level for private parties. There is general seating along with the outdoor balcony. And to welcome guests, there is a huge and freshly painted Blue Moose at the gently sloped entryway on Second Street.

Restrooms in the Moose rate an A plus. They are modern. They are clean. And I am told there is video available for viewing in the men's room.

This may seem a bit weird, but I am still watching for a restaurant where customers can wash their hands before eating.

Blue Moose

507 Second St. NW, East Grand Forks

Telephone: (218) 773-6516

Head chef: Nathan Sheppard

General manager: Patrick Boppre

Hours: 11 a.m. to midnight Sunday-Thursday with midnight closing Friday-Saturday

Report card: One of the largest restaurants in Greater Grand Forks with a most extensive menu to suit most appetites. Seating on all levels and the outdoor balcony totals 350. Service, usually, is well organized. Choice of bar-lounge seating or at booths — along with the outer deck. Average lunch ticket $12-14; average dinner $20 to $22.