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Frozen In Time: Red Onion [VIDEO]

Ashli Gerdes, WJON

BELGRADE –The Red Onion in Belgrade is known around the state for both their burgers and their rich community history.

The restaurant was originally built by Pearl Elfering. It opened as Red Onion in 1961 on the corner of Nelson Avenue and Wells Street.

Elfering eventually sold the business to Vernon and Karan Braegelman who maintained the name and the same traditions. 

Since the 1960s the businesses has been open seasonally from April to mid-October.

The restaurant serves up a variety of entrees in a unique style. Customers can phone in their order ahead of time, walk-up and order at the window or wait in their vehicle.

Current owner and manager, Deb Wander started working at the Red Onion when she was 14-years-old. She and her husband John have owned the Red Onion for the past ten years.

Deb says when she first started 36 years ago, there were only four choices of soda and limited ice-cream options. She tries to add a new item to the menu every year. She has added two new soda flavors, an additional ice cream machine and a nacho and slushy machine.

The owners buy all of the buns and beef fresh five days a week. Deb says the beef comes from a local butcher and the buns from a local baker. She grinds the meat and her staff put together the beef patties each morning.

The Red Onion has become a summer tradition for many Minnesotans. Deb says many people stop at the restaurant when they are going to their cabin or camping, “there’s one family from Sioux Falls and they stop every Friday night and every Sunday night.”

The Red Onion is open seven days a week from 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

See a video of the Red Onion below.

See more of our Frozen In Time features

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