Weekend Breakfast in St. Paul - Help!
A friend and I are going to breakfast somewhere in St. Paul this weekend (around 9 AM, so brunch is out).
Where do you suggest? I would prefer not to go east of Dale or so (therefore, no A Rebours or Day by Day).
I'd like a place where my friend and I can leisurely eat and have lots of time to just sit and chat.
My favorite breakfast foods are (1) Pancakes and (2) Granola.
I've considered Bon Vie, Jay's Cafe (I'm concerned that this place will be too busy since it's popular), Blondie's (great granola w/applesauce), Highland Grill, Cupcake (Univ. & 280), Key's Cafe (Lexington/Larpentur location), etc.
What do you think about those places and what other places do you recommend?
I would put in a strong recommendation for Bon Vie. We go their alomost every weekend. It is extremely pleasant. You can get a traditional greasy breakfast if you want (great hashbrowns), but they also have several more creative options as well. (The hash with diced beets is awesome when its on the menu). The pancakes and waffles are very good, as are the eggs benedict. They also sell twice-baked almond croissants from the bakery down the block. They are inredible.
What about Bonnie's Cafe? 2160 University Avenue. It's a great little breakfast spot. It's pretty much the basic breakfast stuff. The hash browns and pancakes are great, and they have all the other breakfast staples as well, although I'm not sure they'll have your granola.
It caters mostly to the nearby industrial workers - so look for a good hearty breakfast. And, since it caters to that crowd, they're open really early. Something like 4 or 5AM (you might want to call to check weekend hours) although they close early - somewhere around 2PM.
I'm guessing it gets crowded between 11:30AM and 1:00PM, as there are signs that say there's a minimum of 2 people per booth during those hours. But, whenever I've been there it's been pretty leisurely.
One other note - I found out about Bonnies from Citypages - it got the Best Diner award last year.
Here's what they said:
To find good diner-eats, follow the men in Carhart jackets. No demographic, save perhaps the men in blue, are better equipped to sniff out the best all-day breakfasts and grilled lunches than these industrial-coat-wearing gents. They frequent Bonnie's Cafe for fast, hot morning meals that stick to your ribs and keep you warm until at least mid-morning. At Bonnie's the hotcakes are still called hotcakes, the hash browns are plentiful and greasy, coffee comes by the pot, and the servers are quick and efficient and then leave you alone. Menus are available, but it's easier to choose from the options hand-written on poster boards lining the mint-green walls. The "Your Choice: Pick Any Two" ($5.09) offers options of French toast, hotcakes, eggs, bacon, sausage, ham, and hash browns. Bonnie's opens before the sun comes up and closes before rush hour, so plan accordingly. A sign taped above each booth dictates Bonnie's busiest time: "Minimum 2 people per booth 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m."
Jay's isn't really a place for lounging - it's very small and there's no entry area, so if people are waiting for tables, they stand right next to you while you're eating. I don't think Jay's has granola, either; they have a short menu of upscale items such as creole eggs benedict and mango-whipped-cream waffles (the menu changes frequently, though).
Cupcake doesn't really do much for breakfast except coffee, pastries, and croissants - which are quite tasty.
The Highland Grill is nice, but gets very busy on weekends. Key's is a notch lower in food quality (and much higher in quantity - portions are huge); but the servers are nice and they don't rush you once you've settled in.
I haven't been to Blondie's or Bon Vie, so I can't help there.
Would you consider venturing across the river into Minneapolis? The Birchwood Cafe (3311 E. 25th St.) has good granola and great waffles. Maria's Cafe (1113 E. Franklin) has fabulous corn pancakes. Both are casual and good for leisurely breakfasts; they do get busy on weekends, but 9am is before the brunch peak, and you won't be rushed once you're at a table.