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Brainerd updates?

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Found a couple old threads...looking for more up-to-date recommendations that have plenty of moderate-priced options besides sandwiches, burgers, pasta (we don't eat wheat--nothing with flour).

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  1. I was up there last winter and was very pleasantly surprised by Prairie Bay (which is technically in Baxter) - I don't recall what I got, so I can't provide a lot more detail. Here's a link to their web site.


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    1. re: diesel

      We went to Prairie Bay...very nice setting, good service (except waitress got one order wrong--we didn't realize until after we had eaten part of it and she didn't offer to make it right). Prices are a bit high, but they have a nice special between 3-5:30pm of 12 dif. dishes for $12 ea. More affordable than the rest of the menu, and interesting seasoning/sauces. "Grilled sauteed veg" means two julienne spears of zucchini that were past their prime to begin with (aka completely inadequate). So, nice enough for a bit of a splash-out night, but not the attention to detail or customer service that would make them first-rate in my book.

    2. So far we've tried:
      * The Sawmill (for breakfast - rather too greasy for our taste, won't be back)
      * 371 Diner (for dinner - cheap, simple diner food in a fun atmosphere; the fish & chips is nice but not authentic version)
      * The Barn (for lunch - had a Maid Rite burger; the buns are totally lame so didn't miss not eating them. The mustard, mild raw onions and pickles make it. More of a neat experience than gastronomic heaven. Don't bother with the basket ($5+), the fries are not great. Got pie to go ($3 per slice)--the fruit pies are pretty decent, not the best I've ever had but probably in the top 3.)
      * Matty's (for dinner - had the sunfish sandwich...again, bun not worth it, but the fish was sublime and seasoned really nicely (parmesan peppercorn mix), $9 and sweet potato fries that were the 2nd best I've had in my several decades on the planet-$3 per order and is more than enough for 3-4 people. Really.)

      Local color, a sign at The Barn: All special orders are handled by Helen Wait. If you need a special order, please go directly to Helen Wait.

      The ones we're interested in repeats from are The Barn (but only for pie to go -- rhubarb custard and blueberry this time...have to go early before they sell out!) and Matty's for another order of sunfish (and their tasty "tartar" sauce with dill...yum!).