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Marilyn Hagerty’s Eatbeat: Out and about in Bemidji

Marilyn Hagerty
Raphael’s Bakery Café

319 Minnesota Avenue, Bemidji

Most people look for boating, fishing, golf or water skiing when they drive into Bemidji. In these waning days of summer, our first stop was at Raphael’s Bakery Café.

There we found dumpling soup and egg salad sandwiches for lunch. The place at noon, as always, was crowded.

I was traveling with my daughter, Gail Hagerty (GH). Though the tables and booths were full, we were invited to sit at a table with other customers. That’s what they do in Bemidji.

Here the food is reasonable. The ambience is homey. Service is friendly and welcoming. And to add interest, there is the largest cookie jar collection ever.  

Ruttger’s Birchmont Lodge

Garden Court Grill, on Lake Bemidji

Though the dining out scene is constantly changing, there are places around Bemidji that keep drawing me back.

One of them is the Garden Court Grill at Ruttger’s Birchmont Lodge. Here you find Red Lake walleye and wild rice on the menu. In the fleeting days of summer, the outdoor seating beside the lake is inviting.

With GH, I enjoyed sitting outdoors on a summer evening. But for our serious dining, we chose to move inside.

Inside the lodge, the dining room is vast and pleasingly old fashioned. The complete menu includes a Ruttger’s Cobb salad. And among dinner choices after 5 p.m., there are walleye, salmon and ribeye dinners.

Mi Rancho

677 Anne St. NW, Bemidji

This Mexican restaurant is larger, more attractive and busier than most of its kind. With GH, I met Jan Linfoot Pratt (JLP) there for lunch.

There were a series of beautifully decorated dining rooms. The music was playing. The place was busy. And the quesadilla fajitas were so good. They were grilled with bell peppers, tomatoes, onions and cheese.

The hot sauce here is chunky. Better than most, said JLP. And we agreed. The place is lively. And colorful. The décor extends to the rest rooms.

Customers kept coming in well after the lunch hour. Specials at mid-day include chicken quesadilla and burrito supreme.

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