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Another State Fair icon bites the dust
Minneapolis Star Tribune ^ | August 16, 2011 - 10:25 PM | RICK NELSON

Posted on 08/16/2011 10:07:23 PM PDT by Hunton Peck

Edged out by corn dogs and chocolate-dipped bacon, one of the few remaining church dining halls at the fairgrounds is calling it quits.

File this one under E, for End-of-an-Era. Or at least the beginning of the end.

When the State Fair opens for its 148th year next Thursday, it's going to be the last season for the Epiphany Diner. The landmark dining hall, operated by the Church of the Epiphany in Coon Rapids and one of the fair's three remaining church-run operations, is closing up shop after this year's fair. Its space will be used for tasting Minnesota wines.

"It's been a tough decision, and we hate to see it go," said the Rev. Dennis Zehren.

The main reason for the closure is simple: declining revenues. According to figures released by the State Fair, the dining hall had gross sales of $156,851 in 2009. Last year they were $137,456.

***

Although a wine bar is more in keeping with the times, many will likely miss the old-fashioned diner. The church and the fair share a long history, dating back to 1966. "Before that, St. Joseph's parish in West St. Paul had it, and before that another parish had it," said Zehren. "It has been a Catholic dining hall for a good long time."

It's a comfort to know that fairgoers can rely upon the Epiphany one last time for a shaded table, a kid- and senior-friendly atmosphere, a souvenir church cookbook and an affordable hot turkey, chicken or roast beef dinner, before saying their goodbyes.

"I think that it's going to be emotional," Zehren said. "Lots of tears and hugging and toasting and raising our eyes to heaven. But we're going to go out on a positive note, expressing our gratitude and reliving happy memories."

(Excerpt) Read more at startribune.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Food; Local News
KEYWORDS: churches; diner; diners; fair; food; minnesotastatefair; onastick
Haven't been to the State Fair in several years. I'm sorry to see yet another old reliable denizen of the Minnesota Get-Together go.

A wine bar at the Fair. It's just wrong. Maybe if they figured out a way to batter and deep-fry the vino and put it on a stick, but otherwise....

1 posted on 08/16/2011 10:07:31 PM PDT by Hunton Peck
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To: MplsSteve

MN State Fair ping!


2 posted on 08/16/2011 10:08:30 PM PDT by Hunton Peck (See my FR homepage for a list of businesses that support WI Gov. Scott Walker)
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To: Hunton Peck

The Lutheran Apple dumplings and ice cream is a must stop at my hometown fair.

An d I aint Lutheran!


3 posted on 08/16/2011 10:18:40 PM PDT by mylife (OPINIONS ~ $ 1.00 HALFBAKED ~ 50c)
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To: Hunton Peck

Fairs should be about fun and newfangled stuff, balanced with a hefty dose of TRADITION.


4 posted on 08/16/2011 10:20:49 PM PDT by mylife (OPINIONS ~ $ 1.00 HALFBAKED ~ 50c)
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To: mylife

I think my favorite food stop at the MN fair in relatively recent times is the New Prague Hotel (don’t know if it’s still there — the actual hotel in New Prague, MN closed several years ago, but its food-only fair offshoot stayed on). They had a Czech sausage called Jternitze (sp?) that was terrific. Not on a stick, just on a bun, with kraut and/or mustard.

Worst newer-fangled thing: Deep-fried Twinkies. The batter throws the divinely ordained starch-to-creme ratio way off.


5 posted on 08/16/2011 10:57:34 PM PDT by Hunton Peck (See my FR homepage for a list of businesses that support WI Gov. Scott Walker)
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To: Hunton Peck

The hotel and restaurant in New Prague was one of our favorite haunts when we lived in Prior Lake. Six or seven course meals, then upstairs for an overnight stay in one of their rather small hotel rooms.
Pity, it’s been closed for several years...


6 posted on 08/17/2011 3:02:49 AM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks (Eh ?)
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To: mylife

“... the Lutheran apple dumplings”

When I got to a state fair, I always look for the the church dinners. For one thing, church ladies are experts when making really good food. I don’t care how elaborate or simple... it is just good. Sad to see that they are being replaced by a wine tasting stop.


7 posted on 08/17/2011 5:03:27 AM PDT by momtothree
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To: Hunton Peck

I’ve never been to Minnesota or their fair, but I’ve had many an excellent church dinner and I can get wine anywhere. Tragic.


8 posted on 08/17/2011 6:14:11 AM PDT by EN1 Sailor (I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness)
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To: NorthWoody; Manic_Episode; mikethevike; coder2; AmericanChef; Reaganesque; ER Doc; lesser_satan; ...

WELCOME TO FREE REPUBLIC’S MINNESOTA PING LIST!

148 MEMBERS AND GROWING...!

FREEPMAIL ME IF YOU WANT ON OR OFF THIS LIST!


9 posted on 08/17/2011 6:33:08 AM PDT by MplsSteve
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To: Hunton Peck

Thanks for the PING! I’ve eated at the Epiphany Diner - but not in the last few years. The food was decent and it was nice to be able to sit down at a regular clean table.

The Hamline United Methodist Church has a nice diner just up from the Grandstand. If you like Swedish Meatballs, that’s the place to go.


10 posted on 08/17/2011 6:39:20 AM PDT by MplsSteve
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To: Hunton Peck

Tasting wine, there’s KIND OF a religious connection. Sorta?


11 posted on 08/17/2011 6:46:08 AM PDT by DManA
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To: MplsSteve

You must pronounce Swedish SVE-DISH or they don’t let you in.


12 posted on 08/17/2011 6:48:47 AM PDT by DManA
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To: DManA

LOL! True!


13 posted on 08/17/2011 7:01:17 AM PDT by MplsSteve
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To: DManA
Ya gotta watch them "sorta" references.

You'll bring back the Fargo movie stereotypes.

14 posted on 08/17/2011 7:34:18 AM PDT by toast
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To: toast

Every time I open my mouth to an “outsider” I bring back Fargo stereotypes.


15 posted on 08/17/2011 8:05:56 AM PDT by DManA
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To: DManA

Yeah,sure youbetchya.


16 posted on 08/17/2011 8:09:36 AM PDT by WOBBLY BOB (My mind is like a steel trap: rusty and illegal in 37 states.)
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To: Eric in the Ozarks

Some of my extended family had a gathering at the NP Hotel restaurant on its last (or next-to-last) day of operation (we’re all part Bohemian). Chef Schumacher was making the rounds of the tables and schmoozing with da folks. He said the restaurant was still successful, but he’d been cheffing so long he wanted to try something else for a while.

I heard later that he was planning on opening a new restaurant nearby, but I don’t know if anything came of that.


17 posted on 08/17/2011 9:12:34 AM PDT by Hunton Peck (See my FR homepage for a list of businesses that support WI Gov. Scott Walker)
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To: MplsSteve

I don’t think I’ve been to the Hamline one. Salem Lutheran for breakfast is sort of a family tradition (though I liked the Robbinsdale OES hall, too).

I probably won’t make it this year. I hope there’s still one or two left by the time I get back!


18 posted on 08/17/2011 9:17:31 AM PDT by Hunton Peck (See my FR homepage for a list of businesses that support WI Gov. Scott Walker)
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To: DManA

Here’s a quick story about our supposed accent...

Back in ‘96, I was in Nashville. I paid a guy to take me on a tour of some Civil War battlefields in and around Nashville. They guy was good. He knew his stuff.

But when he and I were driving to a battlefield location, he said “Steve, have you ever seen the movie ‘Fargo’?”. I looked at him and said “Yes, I have and no, we don’t sound like that. That accent is exagerrated”. he replies “Yes, you do kinda sound like that”.

I wanted to ask “Have you ever seen the move ‘Deliverance’? You sound like some of the guys in that movie”. But in the interest of harmony, I opted not to.


19 posted on 08/17/2011 9:19:13 AM PDT by MplsSteve
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To: DManA

A consecrated wine bar.... Come to think of it, I wouldn’t put it past some of the trendier churches....


20 posted on 08/17/2011 9:21:19 AM PDT by Hunton Peck (See my FR homepage for a list of businesses that support WI Gov. Scott Walker)
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To: MplsSteve

I saw Fargo in a Twin Cities movie theater. The audience somewhere between twittered and roared every time someone opened their mouth.

It’s like looking at yourself in a fun house mirror. You kind of recognize yourself but it is so distorted and exaggerated it you can’t help laughing.


21 posted on 08/17/2011 9:59:53 AM PDT by DManA
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To: Hunton Peck
There is another Czech community like NP down in Cedar Rapids, IA. The CR “Bohemia” bakeries were just outstanding. I used to call on Wilson's Foods (pork packing plant) and if I didn't stop and bring in some bakery goods, I couldn't get anyone’s attention.
22 posted on 08/17/2011 11:31:27 AM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks (Eh ?)
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To: MplsSteve
I had lived in the South for years, and thought I'd shed my accent. But one day I was working in North Carolina, calling on a little, rural general store. When it came time to sell the owner on next season's stock, I went into my spiel, talking for several minutes as the owner's brow furrowed, leaving me to wonder what I was saying wrong.

Once I finished, she stared for a few more seconds, and then asked, "Boy, whar'd ye git that brogue?"

23 posted on 08/17/2011 11:51:25 AM PDT by Hunton Peck (See my FR homepage for a list of businesses that support WI Gov. Scott Walker)
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To: Hunton Peck

John Schumacher reopened the restaurant with an cafe style menu of more trendy dishes. There were a few old standby items, but the old Bohemian/German menu was gone. It ran a couple years and closed down last winter or early spring, I believe. I heard from a waitress that his wife has cancer and they wanted to devout time to beating it. I live in the area and went to the new place once - nothing like the old world place before, but good enough for a night out.


24 posted on 08/17/2011 6:38:53 PM PDT by WorkingClassFilth
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To: WorkingClassFilth

Thanks for the update. I’m sorry to hear about his wife’s cancer. I sure hope she beats it, if that’s still a possibility.


25 posted on 08/17/2011 6:52:29 PM PDT by Hunton Peck (See my FR homepage for a list of businesses that support WI Gov. Scott Walker)
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