Yea! East Side Subway openPublished 10:02am Monday, November 19, 2012 Updated 12:05pm Monday, November 19, 2012
In big cities, the concept of neighborhoods is a big one. You live in the South Side of Chicago, or in Lower East Side of Manhattan in New York or in Chinatown in San Francisco.
In a place like Fergus Falls, however, there is little talk of neighborhood. You live in Fergus Falls, period. In fact, to an outsider, nearby communities are also considered to be essentially Fergus Falls.
If you live in Dalton, Elizabeth, Foxhome, Carlisle, even Underwood, if someone who doesn’t live here asks where you live, generally, you’d say “Fergus Falls.”
However, I have found that, in recent months, those of us who live and work on the “east side” of Fergus Falls have bonded on a particular issue — the construction of the new Subway on “our” side of town.
“Can’t wait until the Subway opens,” says one east sider.
“No kidding,” fellow east sider says.
The fact is, on our side of town, another restaurant has been desperately needed for quite some time. Don’t get me wrong: I fully appreciate the long-time restaurants and convenience stores on the east side of town. They have 20 years worth of breakfast and lunch money from me to prove it.
But the thing is, on the southeast corner of Fergus Falls, there simply weren’t a lot of daytime food options: Burger King, Dairy Queen, Casey’s, Pebble Lake Take Five, and in the summer, the golf course restaurant.
That’s about it. And while I enjoy many menu items at each of those places, everyone needs some variety.
On the other hand, the numbers of people who both work and live on the southeast side has continue to grow. Between PioneerCare and Broen Home, Northern Contours, Minnesota Motor, the state Department of Transportation, even Lake Region Healthcare and some east side downtown businesses (I tend to take a visual lunch poll at the local eateries), there are people who need some variety in lunch options.
Oh sure, if you have the time, you can venture downtown or take Interstate 94 to the west side. But that’s the thing: for the past 20 years or so, I rarely have a lot of time for lunch. I have had close to 1,000 lunch periods over the past 19 years, and only a rare few have I not felt like I had to get my food and rush back to the office. (I know — it’s not healthy, but it’s who I am.)
So here’s to another lunch option on the east side of Fergus Falls. Considering the numbers over here, I certainly believe and hope there’s enough business to keep all the local lunch options viable, and maybe even attract a couple more.
After all, as tasty as those Burger King burgers are, one can only eat them — and subs for that matter — so often.
• • •
Speaking of the east side, it was an interesting experience riding across the new POW-MIA Veterans Memorial Bridge this week.
As I crossed the bridge, I was pleasantly surprised at how beautiful the Otter Tail River looked, and that’s in November, not exactly the showiest month in Fergus Falls.
I was also struck by how easy the “roundabout” was to navigate. You just veer left and slip right onto Alcott. I was expecting a scene from National Lampoon’s European Vacation, when Clark Griswold goes around the roundabout for hours (Classic line: “Hey kids! Big Ben! Parliament!”º
The jury is still out, of course, on whether the bridge will save we “east siders” time. If you’re headed from our office to, say, one of the retailers near the other side of the bridge, I think it will. It’s certainly nice to avoid the typically crowded sections of Union and Lincoln. But will it really be faster if you’re headed to, say, Walmart? Not sure.
I’m interested to see traffic studies in a year on who actually uses the bridge, and whether it will actually help disburse traffic. I certainly hope it does.
Joel Myhre is The Journal’s publisher. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org