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Pattie's Place in Mapleton is a (not so) well-kept secret

Arts & Culture ·

1 The table setting at Pattie's Place in Mapleton, Minn. before members of the local garden club came for lunch. Pattie's Place is a private dining club and boutique that can seat up to 65 people. 
2 Elaine Cramer, right, looks at Christmas decorations for sale at Pattie's Place before the Mapleton Garden Club had lunch on Dec. 19. 
3 Pattie Krengel, owner of Pattie's Place in Mapleton, Minn. shows a customer the total for items purchased in her boutique. Pattie started her private dining club and boutique 14 years ago, after her husband became ill with Parkinson's and dementia. Serving up home made meals and offering seasonal crafts and decorations in her boutique, Pattie's Place is thriving simply by word of mouth. 
4 Pattie's sister Jean Ann Bartholomew serves lunch to members of the Mapleton Garden Club at Pattie's Place. Jean Ann and her husband Dick are two of four people who help Pattie serve large groups of people on a regular basis. 
5 Pattie Krengel prepares a dish of sirloin roast beef au jus to be served to the Mapleton Garden Club on Dec. 19. Pattie said that a lot of her recipes are passed down, and many of them are revamped. Everything she makes for the private dining club is homemade. 
6 A plate of sirloin roast beef au jus is ready to be served at Pattie's Place. The lunch menu for the visiting Mapleton Garden Club also included romaine lettuce with blue cheese sugared walnut dressing, mashed potatoes with onion rings and beef gravy, string beans with homemade cheese sauce and buttered crumbs, homemade rolls with honey butter and a dessert of apple cranberry crisp with whipped cream. "I can do that all for just $18," Pattie said, "And it's all you can eat." 
7 Members of the Mapleton Garden Club enjoy their lunch at Pattie's Place on Dec. 19. Groups are booking up to a year in advance to dine at Pattie Krengel's house. 
8 Peggy Starkey grabs some dishes of apple cranberry crisp with whip cream to be served to the Mapleton Garden Club on Dec. 19. "I've worked in bars and restaurants most of my life," said Starkey. Pattie is taking Starkey and the rest of her staff to New Orleans next year. 
9 Elaine Cramer, right, shows a necklace to Betty Alleven that she considered purchasing at Pattie's Place boutique after the Mapleton Garden Club had lunch. Patti said the boutique is primarily frequented by people shopping when she hosts a dinner. 
10 Three Santa figurines are just a few of the many items that are for sale at Pattie's Place in Mapleton, Minn. Pattie Krengel doesn't advertise for her place, and everything is spread by word of mouth. "I probably could (advertise), but I don't need to," Pattie said, "I like to have it a well-kept secret." 
11 Dick Bartholomew, Pattie's brother-in-law, puts dishes into a dishwasher after the Mapleton Garden Club finished their first course. Pattie and her four helpers stay busy in the holiday season, hosting three parties a week in December.