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Colossal Cafe, Minneapolis MN

This weekend I went back to a breakfast spot that I've mentioned before: the Colossal Cafe on 42nd Street and Cedar Ave South. Thought I'd mention it because it's just the sort of place that deserves a little word of mouth publicity.

Sunday's special was salmon "hash." Here's how the Colossal folks do that dish: a layer of garlicky greens (chard?) sliced thin like a persillade and sauteed, then cubed potatoes that were roasted & fried crisp, a cornmeal-crusted green veg like a tomatillo or a steamed broccoli stem, eggs anyway you like them, generous chunks of salmon, a light drape of sauce that spoke of cream & white wine.

My eggs were ethereally scrambled and served with slices of freshly toasted homemade bread. No grease, nothing heavy-handed.

Dark fresh coffee was refilled with perfect timing, though folks who want to read the whole paper can order a french-press potful. I had a bit of raspberry scone, which offered just the right crumb -- my only sadness was that I ordered too much food.


This breakfast and lunch place is a tiny little spot next to the historic-fire-station-converted-to-architect-offices.

For those who like breakfast, this is worth stopping by.

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  1. KTFoley gets today's review reward for using both "persillade" and "ethereally" in the same review. Huzzah!

    1. I've heard only good things about this spot, but still haven't tried it yet.

      Given that it's so small, is waiting for a table an issue?

      1 Reply
      1. re: Mill City Modern

        It was not an issue last Sunday morning at 9:30, when the wait at Zumbro or Hot Plate sometimes stretches to 40 minutes. In good weather I remember seeing a lot of bicycles parked outside, but those months are passing away quickly.

      2. Oh my heavens, fellow Chowpeople, if you have not yet eaten at the Colossal Cafe, you simply must do so as soon as possible, preferably not all tomorrow morning, because the place only seats only a handful of people, as it is the size of a postage stamp, but the food is so fabulous!! (how about that run on sentence?) I am absolutely chagrined that we live not even 6 blocks away from the Colossal and had never been there prior to this morning.

        We ate:
        - 1 delicious, savory, tender spinach-feta scone
        - 1 perfect, lovely giant biscuit
        - 1 ginormous (well, *I* think it should be a word) yummy vegie omelet
        - 1 humongous breakfast burrito filled with potatoes, black beans, eggs, queso fresco, sausage, with a perfectly-spicy poblano pepper sauce (this was today's special)
        - 2 perfect cups of dark coffee

        I would insist on returning there for breakfast tomorrow, except that we purchased a lovely looking chicken pot pie to eat tonight, so I get to have my Colossal fix even sooner. The chef has a way with pastry, folks, so make sure you order some. We did not sample the cream filled flip, the giant, fluffy pancakes, the sticky rolls bigger than your head, or any of the cookies, but I am looking forward to doing so.

        I tried valiantly to convince the chef to start serving dinner, but she says she already starts work each day at 4:00 am and can't stomach staying any later. I suppose she does have to sleep, but perhaps cloning is an option?

        1. By the way, the chicken pot pie we took home was also absolutely fantastic. The sauce was creamy and delicious, the chicken was tender, the pastry was flaky and rich.

          I want to eat one every day.

          1. man i used to live 5 blocks from this lovely sounding place & now it is totally across town. :(

            1. I read a review in the local Longfellow Rag and was under the impression that it was take-out only. My wife has insisted they serve breakfast and I didn't believe her until she showed me this posting.

              They do take out as well, right? I want to prove that I am not totally wrong. Only mostly wrong.

              Irregardless, we're going this weekend so I hope you all stay at home so we can get a table.

              1. hi-- so my curiosity got the better of me & we stopped by colossal for late lunch yesterday:

                KTFoley is right-- more chowhounds should check out this place-- it's little, local and trying to do some great things. Even though my review might appear mixed, we will definately go back there & see what's cooking at colossal.

                first, i was amazed to visit my former 'hood and figure out that colossal is situated in the former digs of that terrifying, tiny chow mein hut on 42nd (i never dared to enter, too too frightening)! once inside however, we discovered that the wee place has been lovingly fixed up with lots of help from ikea, and is now very clean. there is seating for about 10 people total, but it appears they do a brisk takeout business from local folks, the staff knows their regulars including some older fellows stopping by for their bowl of daily soup (a good sign).

                they were out of pancakes, i was sad-- ordered an omelet with roasted vegetables & feta, dh had a roast turkey sandwich. when the nice counterperson/cook brought out the omelet it was fluffy, beautiful & overstuffed with gorgeous roasted veggies including lots of red peppers & courgette. it came with some very good house-baked bread which pleased me very much. it was far & away the best omelet i've had in years. DH liked his sandwich. it was served with boring old potato chips, nothing else but he said the sandwich itself was excellent. emboldened, he ordered a bowl of beef-mushroom-wild rice soup, when we got this it was extremely greasy and we couldn't eat it-- what could be tasted of it had good flavor, though, it may have been a fluke. just ordering soup in a restaurant is a big deal for us though, there are probably 5 places in town where i'll order soup-- i have ridiculously high standards for something that is often an afterthought in most places.
                so then we tried one of their "flips"--kind of a dessert pancake/cannoli bastardization. this may have been good but it was definately not to my taste, would have done something with the filling, while i was wasting calories on it.

                despite soup (& dessert?) i'd have to say that everything at colossal seemed fresh, well-prepared, wholesome, and pleasing to the eye and palate. this is an unfair review because it is only based on one experience. i'd go back to colossal, i'd take my mom there for lunch, if i found myself in the neighborhood i'd remember my lovely omelet & go back pronto. chowhounds should support this nice little cafe so that maybe the proprietor can begin to dream of a bigger & better place we'll all fit inside!

                1. We finally went for breakfast yesterday.

                  Coffee: Decent. Not great, but better than most coffee that gets served with breakfast in this town.

                  We ordered some of the yeasted pancakes (3) and the special, which was a cauliflower-and-a-bunch-of-other-veg-and-cheese frittata. Both were excellent, and it was far too much food for the two of us. The toasted homemade rye that came out with the frittata was great. We also got a chicken pot pie (the last one, at about 10 a.m.) and a huge cinnamon roll to take home. Both were very, very good. In fact, all the baked goods looked amazing.

                  Despite the tiny, cramped space, I can't wait to go back! Everything was fresh and perfectly prepared, and best of all, reasonably priced (unlike some other good, but unnecessarily spendy places cough*hellskitchen*cough).

                  1. Okay - I have a breakfast date at Colossal on Friday morning! These reviews are just too scrumptious sounding to pass over! Will share what we have....thanks for the tip!

                    1. A note: they do not accept credit or debit cards; they take cash or check only.

                      1. Thanks for the heads up MCM! I will make a note to visit an ATM prior to heading over

                        1. Thank you fellow Chowhounds for the heads up about this tiny place with Collossal taste! A friend and I went for breakfast this morning and enjoyed those yeasty, light pancakes with real maple syrup, a couple of eggs, buttery hashbrowns, thick sliced bacon and warm, toasted bread slathered in butter. My cholesterol jumped a bit but it was clearly the best breakfast I've had out in a long time - and it's my favorite thing to do (go out for breakfast)! Cheers!

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Abacus

                            I tried Colossal for the first time this morning with wife and chowpup. DW had the pancakes with apples, walnuts, and brie. Delish! I had today's special, the Best Damn Breakfast Burrito I Have Ever Had (my designation-- They just called it "breakfast burrito" on the specials board). Chorizo, crispy fried potato cubes, eggs, feta, and a nice vinegary tomatillo salsa rolled into a grilled flour tortilla. Half of each of these are now residing in two to-go boxes in our fridge awaiting our delighted leftover noshing tomorrow--they were pretty huge. DW said she is just going to order aplate of those hashbrowns next time. The pot-pies and scones at the counter looked mighty tempting.

                            We were there 9-10AM (on a Sunday!), and although the place is tiny and the seats were kept pretty full, there was never anyone waiting for a seat--they happened to be doing just the right amount of business. There isn't really room to walk in between the tables without dragging your arse across someone's entree, but people are good-humored about it since the food is so good. When warm weather comes there is room out front on the sidewalk for a few more tables.

                          2. I just got lunch (take out) from Colossal for the first time. I had the pork sandwich, which was okay. The bread was delicious, of course, as was the aioli. The pork itself, unfortunately, was nothing special and a tad bit dry. Too bad.

                            My lunch was redeemed, however, by the chocolate flip, which was light and delicious and super yummy. The chocolate cream filling was perfect.

                            1. My wife and I stopped in this morning for breakfast. Had been meaning to try for *months* now, but just finally got around to it.

                              I had a bacon, egg and cheese breakfast sandwich. A serious double-fister. Both the eggs and biscuit were very nice and fluffy. I also had a side of hash-browns, which were browned just how I like them.

                              My wife had the special, a smoked salmon omelette with cream cheese, capers, green onions, and probably some other things that I'm forgetting. We see this kind of thing on lots of breakfast menus, but Colossal's was really great. The omelette was cooked perfectly.

                              We'll be back, especially because they were out of the flips when we stopped in, unfortunately.


                              1. Just wanted to add that Colossal has added a new delicious sandwich to their menu: Egg, Prosciutto, sunsried tomatoes, and Swiss. Had one today, it was wonderful!

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: spunky_monkey

                                  so glad you brought this back up! we were thinking about going there this sat (hm, maybe i'm not glad you brought it up, maybe everyone will be there now?). do you remember their hours for saturdays?


                                  1. re: reannd

                                    Colossal's open from 6-3 Tuesday-Sunday, closed on Monday. If we want to eat there on the weekend, we usually call ahead to see how busy it is. 612-729-5766. If they're packed, we just order the food to pickup.

                                2. CG and I went to Colossal for breakfast yesterday with my Dad. Dad and I shared the bacon, cream cheese, and green onion omelet (YUM!) with a side of hash browns-- and they are the first place in a long time to truly make extra crispy hashbrowns when I order them... most places have some crispy bits and the rest soggy, greasy, yuck.

                                  CG had the pancakes, as he is a flapjack lover. However, his tasted really yeasty. I mean PROFOUNDLY yeasty, almost fermented, in his words. He actually didn't finish them-- which should be evidence of just how bad he thought they were. He is from the "people who do not waste food" tribe. Wondering if any of the other 'hounds can comment on if their flappers were that yeasty, or if maybe his were not usual.... in which case he'd probably order them again to give them another chance.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: cheeseguysgirl

                                    Colossal's pancake flavor is most definitely the yeastiest (is that a word?) that I have ever experienced in a pancake... and the reason I go back for them time and again. I tend to think of them more as a classic French pastry in pancake form, rather than a traditional pancake. Fermented is a word I hadn't thought of, but I do suppose that could be used to describe their flavor.

                                    If they aren't up CG's alley, then it's probably a personal preference thing. Colossal's pancakes are certainly one of the most unique in the area, so it sounds like this flavor was just not up his alley. Maybe one way to think about it is hoppy vs. non-hoppy beer. Some folks hate hoppy beers, some can't get enough of their flavor.

                                    1. re: Chris Mitra

                                      It also could be that whoever made the batter for cg's cakes slipped
                                      with the yeast and too much went in- or that they let it 'rise' too long
                                      making an overly strong flavor. I like yeasty things but dislike it when it
                                      is an overbearing flavor- an example is Great Harvest breads which to
                                      my taste have an overly yeasty, almost bitter flavor.

                                  2. The Colossal Cafe has opened a second location -- a bit larger than the first -- in St. Anthony Park. Location: 2315 Como Avenue, St. Paul MN 55108.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: TasteeMeadow

                                      The Saint Paul location is now serving dinner too, according to the Pioneer Press.