‘Top Fun’ found at Taste of Dorset

The annual feast was held Sunday, Aug. 7 in the self-described “Restaurant Capital of the World.” This year’s theme was “Top Fun.”

Dessert time! Emma Vrieze hands out mud ball sundaes. It's served with vanilla ice cream, Oreo cookies, strawberries, chocolate sauce and whipped topping. She has worked at Dorset House for four summers.
Shannon Geisen/Park Rapids Enterprise
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From spaghetti balls to fried pickle chips to turtle sundaes, Taste of Dorset aimed to satisfy all appetites.

The annual feast was held Sunday, Aug. 7 in the self-described “Restaurant Capital of the World.” This year’s theme was “Top Fun.”

Isaac Zinniel doles out highly anticipated pork chops from Dorset House at Sunday's Taste of Dorset.
Shannon Geisen/Park Rapids Enterprise

Isaac Zinniel dished up delicacies for the Dorset House, like steak bites.

There was a long line for the pork chops, he said. “They sold out right away. Sold out of brisket, too.”

Emma Miller serves slices of pizza from the Dorset House to a hungry Russell Brown.
Shannon Geisen/Park Rapids Enterprise

Meanwhile, Emma Miller sold sausage, pepperoni and cheese pizza by the slice for the Dorset House.


In fact, there were so many provisions proffered in Dorset, Russ Brown said he hadn’t even had enough time to eat what he had purchased.

Laura and Rick Kempnich, who previously owned Companeros, returned to help at Sunday's feast. They served the non-alcoholic variety of strawberry margaritas.
Shannon Geisen/Park Rapids Enterprise

Former Companeros owners Laura and Rick Kempnich helped at Taste of Dorset, serving their famous strawberry margaritas.

“We haven’t missed a Taste of Dorset,” Laura said.

“Every one,” Rick agreed.

Both work at the restaurant “a little bit,” Rick said.

Korean beef bowl ingredients sizzle on the grill. Martin Booge prepared the family recipe.
Shannon Geisen/ Park Rapids Enterprise

Martin Booge has worked for Companeros for 30 years. In addition to Mexican fare, Booge introduced his Korean beef bowl served over a bed of rice at Taste of Dorset. It featured beef, onions, green onions, ginger, soy sauce, brown sugar and carrots.

“It’s my mom’s recipe,” Booge said.

Nina Schoenfelder and Sandra Erickson from Dorset Chick'n Coop unload a cadre of corn dogs for 2022 Taste of Dorset.
Shannon Geisen/Park Rapids Enterprise

If fried food tickled your fancy, Dorset Chick'n Coop delivered with its fried green beans, corn dogs, fried pickle chips, cheese curds, and, of course, fried chicken.


Business was steady, according to Nina Schoenfelder. Her aunt, Rachel Erickson, co-owns the restaurant with Carter Erickson. Managing Taste of Dorset was a family affair. Nina’s mom, Renee, bustled about on behalf of her sister, along with other relatives.

Craving dessert? Ice cream, sundaes and slices of pie sated the sweet tooth.

Janet Miller, at right, was one of several First English Lutheran Church members who baked homemade pies for the festival.
Shannon Geisen/Park Rapids Enterprise

First English Lutheran Church of Dorset started the day with roughly 550 slices of pie, plus baked goods like brownies and s'mores kits.

Eighteen-month-old Rui Meyers of Afton, Minn. gnaws on a hot, buttered corn. His parents, Josh and Katie, were recreating a newspaper photo taken when Josh was the same age and ate corn at the 1996 Taste of Dorset.
Shannon Geisen/Park Rapids Enterprise

Janet Miller, a congregation member for 12 years, said, “We did 54 pies at the church Friday. Other ladies baked pies and brought them in as well.”

“One gentleman donated 20 quarts of wild blueberries that he picked,” she added.

Miller said about six to seven women brought homemade pie crusts into the church. “We started at 9 o’clock Friday morning. We got done around 4 p.m., I think.”

By the end, they had ample cherry, rhubarb, blueberry, pumpkin and apple pies. All of which were gobbled up on Sunday.
The church also offered hot, buttered corn, another popular treat.

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Shannon Geisen is editor of the Park Rapids Enterprise.
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