Area Restaurants Serve Hope

Local restaurants recently came together for the ninth annual Dining United campaign, which aims to help the community thrive by investing a portion of sales in programs and services through United Way of 1000 Lakes. 

Dining United provides local restaurants the opportunity to open their establishments for a community-centered experience and gives patrons an easy way to help those in need through United Way. The campaign runs from October 1st through mid-November each year, allowing patrons to savor a wide range of dining experiences from restaurants sprinkled across Itasca County.

Tavern on the Range, located in Bovey, participated in Dining United for the first time in 2021.

Funds raised stay local, meaning that Dining United participants are giving back to the communities they operate in.

“We’re excited to participate and look forward to it every year,” said Bill Martinetto, manager of Rapids Brewing. “It gives us a good opportunity to support the community as well as make new friends along the way.”

Martinetto said Rapids Brewing has participated in Dining United since it opened in 2019 and uses the fundraiser as an opportunity to welcome new and returning patrons to the taproom and outdoor patio.

Brandon Nemec, Sam Molencamp, and Alex Eisland celebrate Zorbaz’s contribution to fall 2021’s Dining United fundraiser.

This year’s effort raised more than $5,400 – the highest total since the initiative began in 2012. Over the years, participating restaurants have raised over $30,000 through Dining United. Money raised supports United Way’s Impact Fund, which awards grants to nonprofit programs working in and around Itasca County that address the education, health, financial stability, and basic needs of families and individuals in the region. 

“United Way’s Community Impact Fund is invested into programs like Boys and Girls Clubs, Grace House, area food shelves, and the First Call 2-1-1 resource line,” said Kim Brink Smith, executive director of United Way of 1000 Lakes.

In all, thirteen restaurants participated in fall 2021, including Applebee’s, Brewed Awakenings, Culver’s, Forest Lake, Hotel Rapids & HR Bar, the Locker Room Bar & Grill, NoPo Coffee Co., the Pickled Loon, Rapids Brewing Co., Tavern on the Range, the Timberlake Restaurant, UnWined Up North, and Zorbaz. The AmericInn also participated, donating a portion of proceeds from pool parties hosted during Dining United.

The AmericInn donated proceeds from pool parties to United Way’s Helping Here campaign. Pictured (left to right): Marie Booth and Lori Whitted present the AmericInn’s gift to United Way.

Community members who missed out on Dining United but would like to support United Way through different events, volunteering, or donating, can learn more at

United Way has numerous opportunities for restaurants and other local businesses, large and small, to make a difference and pursue philanthropic goals. To learn more about United Way involvement, visit or call 218-999-7570.

Dining United returns for its tenth year in fall 2022, and will take place October 1st – November 17th. Visit or contact for more information.