What do you order when you go to the Blue Moose?

When that question was posed to some bridge players after a game this week, the answers were varied and lively.

The first response came loud and clear: Chicken Meisner.

Then there were votes for an assortment of favorite foods at “the Moose.” There were preferences for the walleye, the chopped chef salad. Someone said the Swiss burger is absolutely delicious.

Eventually we got back to the Chicken Meisner that it is named after one of the chefs, Bruce Meisner. It’s lightly breaded chicken breast stuffed with prosciutto ham and gorgonzola cheese for $15. It’s served over jasmine rice and topped with gorgonzola cream sauce.

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The Blue Moose is one of the largest restaurants in the area. The décor is northwoods style. The interior is finished with logs and light wood. This time of year, customers are drawn to the outdoor tables overlooking the Red River of the North.

There is seating for 60 on the deck. And including the dining and lounge areas along with the upper level dining room, the Moose can hold 360.

This summer, the moose at the main entry is welcoming customers with a fresh coating of bright blue paint. With the opening of UND and harvest under way, there’s a feeling of anticipation and autumn on the way.

Seating on the deck will continue as long as weather permits. One wasp that liked my Oriental salad drove me inside this week.

Nevertheless, most outdoor diners were at ease. And managers say outdoor service continued last year through September.

The Moose has become an institution in East Grand Forks, outliving the former Whitey’s – a café that was for decades the destination place. The Moose started out on the south side of Demers Avenue. Then during the Flood of ’97 it was closed for 40 days. At the time, an original owner-manager Dave Homstad said, “They were building the dike on the wrong side of us.’’

The whole building – except for the kitchen – was then moved to its present location.

After the move by the Blue Moose, Homstad said, “They were building the dike on the wrong side of us.”

He credited some of the newfound success to the coming of Cabela’s to East Grand Forks. And he was looking forward to the new theater operation in the nearby mall.

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Blue Moose Bar and Grill

507 Second St. NW, East Grand Forks

Reservations: 218-773-6516

Food service hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday with 1 a.m. weekend closings

Owners: Patrick Boppre, general manager, and Nathan Sheppard, chef.

Report card: With seating for more than 300 and 60 on the deck, the Blue Moose is one of the largest restaurants in Greater Grand Forks. An inviting variety of offerings and wide range of prices appeals to customers of all ages. The average tab ranges from $10 to $15 for lunch and $16 to $25 for dinner. Service is generally good. Friendly.