Let’s Cook: Dining Reflections


Last week I had the delight of leading a discussion about hometowns; the topic was “Restaurants and Cafés.” It was an afternoon of memories, old-fashioned story telling about favorite dining places, and why they still remain close at heart. As soon as I heard the first response, I grabbed a pen and paper and started jotting about this step back in time when family cafes were more popular than chain restaurants. These responses reminded all of us in the room of the star power of a good homemade pie!

These family-run cafes were unique, and many of them had a gift for pampering their customers. It could have been the daily homemade special, perhaps it was the special linens they used on Sundays, or the way they continuously managed to have hearty and tasty soups. Come along and see what cafes were recalled in this afternoon of merrily going back to legends of the tastes and talents. As you read keep in mind not only did the gathered guests patronize these establishments but many of them were employed as waitresses, cooks, and kitchen staff.

Arvid’s Red Carpet: “We came here on special occasions and meals were served buffet style. They were located on Central Avenue with a red canopy out front. Upon entering, you went downstairs.”

Elks: “When we went to the Elks, out came our long dresses and the men wore suits. The 1089 was their signature steak, and it was served on a hot metal tray with sizzling butter! Each table was also served with a relish tray which featured radishes, olives and so forth. Their dessert was my favorite a walnut caramel topping over vanilla ice cream.”

Ellison’s Café: “This was located upstairs and was such a fun place to go for lunch. Their egg salad sandwich and their meatloaf sandwich served on dark bread were delicious.”

Langseth’s Café: “Good food located on Central Avenue West. They were known for making pancakes that truly pleased the hungry soul.”

Frazier’s Coffee Cup: “They had bowls of oyster crackers on the counter each day. This was a busy place and located on Central Avenue.”

Lydia’s Café: “My husband and fellows workers enjoyed noon meals here. Home cooking at its best.”

Woolworth’s Lunch Counter: “I liked their hot sandwiches and hamburgers that were made with real hamburger, not a frozen patty. They grilled the buns which made them the best. We also rode the escalator as much as possible–much to our mother’s dismay. They had matching uniforms which added to the experience of eating here.”

City Bakery: “This was located at 210 Main South and operated by Olger E. Barsness. He made everything from bread to wedding cakes.”

Kresge’s Five and Dime: “They served ice cream and tasty sandwiches.”

The Dutch Mill: “When we went here, we wore our fancy hats. The Kontos brothers operated this place. It was known as the spot to “Dine and Dance” and was located on Highway 2 East. They served fine food.”

Bergman Café: “Carl Bergman operated this café in Kenmare. It was a real good hometown café.”

Frances’ Café: “In Maxbass, and it was a place where families enjoyed dining and sharing stories.”

Leland Parker Café: “They served prime rib at noon which was popular for sandwiches.”

Nifty Nook: “This was a college hangout where we had lots of fun and were served good food.”

Beaver Palace: “This was near Minot State and operated by Emma Stutsrud. College students enjoyed this place. In addition to good food they offered punch cards which allowed you to win prizes.”

Pete’s Café: “Located in Balfour and was well known by truckers and others for home cooked meals and plenty of delicious pie. They like to support the local sports teams and showcased their trophies at the café.”

Copper Pot: “This great café was located at Gordon’s Holiday Spot on South Broadway. Their calling card was broasted chicken and the interior featured a huge copper, stylish air hood.

Speedway: “A family restaurant that had an excellent reputation for fish. Our family also enjoy the drive to get there.”

Kings Food Host: “My children loved to order here using their phone system. Strawberry shakes were the best when paired with a Cheese Frenchie.”

The Shirley Room: “It was in the lower level of the Midwest Federal building. A busy place for business people. Their daily specials often included tasty hotdishes.”

Leo’s Chicken Inn: “It was at 1435 Second Street SW, and our kids liked this place because the chicken was flavorsome and close to our home. We said “yes” to many chicken dinners here.”

Daddy-O-Drive Inn: “It was operated by Leslie Soine, and it was a lively, fun place to have a meal. The Market on 4th is now here. This was a real hotspot in the 1960’s”

Farstad’s: “It was in Benedict, and they served good meals with plenty of homemade desserts.”

Saunder’s Café: “It was a longing-standing hometown café in Bottineau where delicious hot beef sandwiches and many other things were served.”

Park Inn Café: “This café was in Underwood and was known for having homemade pies and especially eggnog pie. The walls displayed interesting pictures of the construction of the Garrison Dam.”

Rollin Pin Restaurant: “It was located on North Hill, and it was my favorite place to enjoy sour cream raisin pie. We always enjoyed being waited on my Bonnie, a long time waitress who could work circles around everyone I think she now works at the truck stop.”

Paragon Café: “It was located in Mohall; they served family style meals.”

Chieftain: “This is in Carrington, and my mom’s favorite was their bread pudding.”

Charlie’s: “They always had pierette pie and German chocolate cake.”

After our discussion, we did enjoy some homemade kuchen. This recipe was Ida Hoppe’s which she made at the Park Inn Café in Underwood.


2 cups warm sweet milk

½ cup sugar

½ cup shortening

1 teaspoon salt

1 package dry yeast

2 eggs

Flour to make a soft dough– usually between 7-8 cups

Sprinkle yeast over warm milk, add sugar, shortening, salt and eggs and mix until well blended. Add flour 1 cup at a time until it forms a soft dough. Make dough into rounds with rolling pin to fit pie pans. Cover with a towel and let rise for 20 minutes.

Fill with cream filling and then place apples, peaches, apricots, prunes or raisins on top. Sprinkle crumbs over top and finish with a sprinkle of cinnamon.


2 cups cream

2 eggs beaten

½ cup sugar

1 ½ tablespoon flour

1 teaspoon vanilla

Heat cream slightly and then add the rest of the ingredients. Cook until thick, constantly stirring. Cool slightly before spreading on kuchen. Note: if you like plenty of filling, then double!

Crumb topping

1 cup sugar

1 cup flour

½ cup butter

Cut together and sprinkle on kuchen.

This will make 10 kuchen