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Bob Lind, Published January 13 2009

Readers send in their recollections of old restaurants

Let’s feast again on memories of former cafés in the Fargo-Moorhead area.

Many recollections of them were sent to Neighbors in 2008. Here’s more:

Terry Olson of Fargo is trying to remember the name of “a real small café in West Fargo on Main Avenue run by a man called ‘Boomer’ in the late 1950s, (although) at times, a woman was doing the cooking.

“My recollection,” he says, “is that the place had the best pancakes in the county and excellent coffee. He also opened real early, which appealed to the working-man crowd.”

Anybody know which café Terry is recalling?

Well, no problem recalling the Silver Moon Café in Moorhead. Columns about it led Mike Knudson of Mayville, N.D., to write: “The first words my wife ever said to me were, ‘Who let you out of jail?’ and our first date was a lunch at the old Silver Moon.”

Moving on from Mike’s sentimental story, there’s this from Lola (Jacobson) Hoganson of Minneapolis, who writes, “When you remember cafés in Moorhead, you have to think of the Bluebird Café on Central Avenue. It was a family café with homemade pies and a soda fountain.

“On rainy days in the summer,” Lola says, “the café was crowded with farmers from the area.

“The hot beef sandwich for 50 cents was a good buy.

“This was also a favorite place for people who worked in the area. Many college students were seen at the Bluebird after sporting events.

“I was a waitress there from 1940 to 1944 while attending Concordia College. It was a great place to work.”

Bruce Peters of Moorhead liked the White Spot Drive-in, just north of the old Moonlight Drive-in Theater “on the then-outskirts of Moorhead.” Andrea Halgrimson has written about the White Spot in her Forum column.

The White Spot had a teen disc jockey who played records. “He had a booth with a big front picture window overlooking the drive-in,” Bruce says.”

Shirley Hoggarth of Fargo writes of Woods Café, Moorhead, where her sister Doris worked.

“I was young, and I would come often and watch her work,” Shirley writes.

“When I reached 18, I asked if I could work there. The owner was so kind to let me start out, if Doris would train me, as he thought she was the best.”

And Ron Murdoff of Fargo writes, “There are still a couple of cafés that go way back and should be mentioned.

“The Fargo Café on Broadway. Best hot beef sandwiches in town.

“The Pheasant Café, owned by Phil Wong, father of Tommy Wong, who had Wong’s on NP Avenue.

“Phil Wong kind of broke the ice in Fargo for Oriental food. It was new to most people, as were Asian people back then. But Phil put out good food and everybody loved it. Also, Phil was one of the nicest guys you will ever meet.”

That’s it for now. But Neighbors eventually will serve up another column (or more) on the area’s old cafés.

If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107; fax it to 241-5487; or e-mail blind@forumcomm.com