‘Sipping Imaginary Cola . . .’

We’re heading out of town briefly today, meeting Jeff Ash, proprietor of the fine blog, AM, then FM, and his bride, Janet. We’ll have lunch at one of the last real supper clubs that I know of, Jack & Jim’s, in the tiny burg of Duelm, not quite fifteen miles east of St. Cloud.

Supper clubs used to be a big deal in Minnesota (and elsewhere in the Upper Midwest), places where you could dine on fish and steaks with potatoes and rolls, supplemented by a plate full of stuff from an amply laden salad bar; along with the requisite lettuce and its companions, you’d frequently find such delights as liver pate and pickled herring. (Delights? Well, for me, yes.)

The places were somewhat rough-hewn, often with stuffed fish and animal heads on the walls, and those north of here – and there were many – had their parking lots filled with cars and trucks hauling fishing boats in summer and snowmobiles in the winter.

They’ve mostly gone away now, maybe because most of the newer and larger resorts offer their own restaurants and lounges, maybe for other reasons, too. But I’m sure a few still hang on in the northern portions of the state, and Jack & Jim’s has made it through the pandemic.

As we’re there for lunch instead of dinner today, I imagine the offerings will be more slender, and I kind of doubt the salad bar will be going, which means no pate or herring for me, sadly. But we’ll be there and eat well, no doubt.

Nothing in the digital stacks really worked with this piece, so we’re using a slender link to cue up a tune about where we might have ended up today had things not gone well: “Abandoned Luncheonette” by Hall & Oates. It was the title track of their 1973 album that broke the duo into the mainstream.


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