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Bob Lind, Published December 26 2010

Lind: Good meal at a good price

Asking if people like to eat out during the holidays or any other time is like asking if the sun comes up in the east.

Happily, Fargo-Moorhead and the entire F-M region has many good restaurants today, and it had them in the past, too.

One of them was the Comstock Hotel in Moorhead.

However, previous Neighbors columns about it stirred up a controversy.

The Comstock had an “all-you-can-eat” deal in the 1950s. But how much did it cost?

Prices suggested by readers ranged from 49 cents to 99 cents.

Well, Bruce Peters, Moorhead, knows the price was 50 cents.

Bruce says the Comstock publicized that price “for all to see on two gigantic rooftop billboards.”

A photo backing up Bruce’s memory is shown here, thanks to Mark Peihl, archivist for the Historical and Cultural Society of Clay County.

Larry Fisher, formerly of Fargo and now of Las Vegas, says he remembers “surviving” on the 50 cent all-you-eat meals at the Comstock.

Mark, however, says the Comstock hiked the price to an astronomical 60 cents in the 1960s, if you can stomach that.

Eating up memories

Delicious memories of many other old cafes abound.

Larry, for instance, notes that “another good meal was the ‘buck 9’ steak at the Bison Hotel” in Fargo.

Also, Larry says that when he drove cabs in Fargo in the early 1960s, there was a “small, narrow, counter-only café just south of the Fargo Theatre” where he used to eat supper.

Larry probably is talking about the cleverly named Chick Inn, owned by Wilfred Fugere.

Morris Doyle, Fargo, remembers the Whip at 320 Broadway, Fargo. “When I was in high school in the mid-1940s,” he says, “we hung out there. I remember the slogan on the menu read, ‘You get snappy service at the Whip.’ ”

The Whip had 10-cent meals and 35-cent meals, adds Lois Minch, Fargo.

Lois also liked the “Kitty Korner” café, a diner across from the Graver Hotel in the mid-1940s. “It was run by a Mrs. Stevens,” Lois says, and it had “pies to die for.”

Al Borseth, Moorhead, liked the Dew Drop Inn in downtown Fargo.

Then there was the Dutch Maid on Eighth Street South, Fargo.

When he was a freshman at North Dakota Agricultural College (now North Dakota State University), Steve Strege, formerly of Wyndmere, N.D., and now of Fargo, says, “I made many trips there for suppers of hamburger steak and more hash browns than anyone should eat at one sitting. The price fit with a college student’s budget in those days, too.

“Another favorite eat joint for us half-dozen Wyndmere classmates at NDSU was Henry’s Hamburgers on 8th Street in Moorhead. It had the best broasted chicken.”

Helen Ostrem, Moorhead, writes of the White Castle hamburger shop in Fargo. “My girlfriend and I would have a hamburger there,” she says, “then go to the movie at the Princess Theater,” which, incidentally, Helen says they were hesitant to visit “because we heard there were rats there; but we didn’t want to miss a Tom Mix movie.”

Mom-daughter act

June Barth, Hawley, Minn., worked at the Gopher Grill on Main Avenue, Fargo.

“I worked weekends while attending Moorhead High School,” June writes, “and I made many milk shakes after games.” She graduated from Moorhead High in 1946.

And to bring this café column full circle (hey, remember the Full Circle Café Deb Jenkins ran in Fargo?), June writes that she used to wash dishes at the Comstock when her mother, Minnie Logan, was chief cook there and was in charge of those 50-cent meals.

Here’s hoping you have happy eating in 2011, neighbors.

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