THE EATBEAT: Happy-hour coffee, numerous pies greet Paula's visitors
MAYVILLE, N.D. -- You can get coffee for 25 cents when it's happy hour at Paula's Steakhouse and Lounge in this Traill County town about 60 miles from Grand Forks. Happy hour is from 3 to 4 p.m. daily, except Sunday. On Sunday, it's happy hour wh...
MAYVILLE, N.D. -- You can get coffee for 25 cents when it's happy hour at Paula's Steakhouse and Lounge in this Traill County town about 60 miles from Grand Forks. Happy hour is from 3 to 4 p.m. daily, except Sunday. On Sunday, it's happy hour while the restaurant is open between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Owner-operator Joe Bertrand had never heard of coffee being featured during a happy hour. "But why not?" he asked.
Joe was at the grill, at the counter, behind the cash register. He was everywhere when I stopped for lunch in August. Joe puts in 14 hours a day running Paula's in the heart of the business district in Mayville. The restaurant has a big room with two horseshoe counters and booths along one side where people come in for a quick meal. Joe calls it "the mud room." Customers who want a more formal meal go into the dining room, where Joe recently had new carpeting installed. The room is nicely decorated with historical pictures on the wall. It has a lounge at the back where food also is served.
Prime rib is featured on the weekends. And the walleye pike fillet coated with Japanese bread crumbs and pan-fried golden brown for $14.95 has been a local favorite. Steaks, seafood, chicken and pasta dinners are in the $10 to $18 range, with a 20-ounce T-bone charbroiled steak at $20.95. Dinners are served with an old-fashioned flair, and Paula's is one of the few places you still can find a relish tray with a dinner.
It was good to see Paula's humming on a weekday at noon. After all, Paula Tuseth has been long retired. And her two sons who succeeded her in the business -- David and Kelly Lipsiea -- sold the business to Bertrand in May 2007. Joe has been keeping up the reputation of the restaurant. He said he grew up in Mayville and wanted to raise his family in a small town.
So, he starts baking pies before the break of day and hangs in until closing time. His wife, Bethany, also works with him part time. The restaurant has 30 full- and part-time employees.
Paula's features a dozen or more pies at $2.35 a slice and $2.85 a la mode. There's banana cream, butterscotch, lemon meringue and sour cream raisin in the repertoire. By far, the most popular is the rhubarb. And the restaurant takes orders for whole pies. The restaurant also features old-fashioned bread pudding with warm caramel pecan sauce ($2.95).
It was the soup and sandwich that won me over at lunchtime and prompted me to make a mental note that I must go back. The lunch special on a Thursday in August was beef barley soup with a half-sandwich of either egg salad, roast beef, baked ham or turkey for $4.50. I ordered the beef and found it to be one of the best I have ever eaten. The bread was fresh and soft. The beef was tender and tasty with nary a touch of fat or gristle. It was perfect.
And then, just to be sure I wouldn't waste away from hunger on my drive back to Grand Forks, I had a piece of pumpkin pie. That is a rare choice for a hot day in summer. The pie was excellent.
I noticed there was a citrus salmon salad as a luncheon special and thought, "another day."
Reach Hagerty at email@example.com or call (701) 772-1055.