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Remember the old Lincoln Del? (Bloomington, MN)

Anyone remember the old Lincoln Del restaurant in Bloomington along 494 off of France? What a gem it was.

I worked there in high school as a host during the summers and I have such fond memories of their rebeun sandwiches, yummy pot roast, spaghetti with HUGE meatballs, Napoleon dessert, etc.

Anyone have any recs for places with comparable dishes in the area?

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  1. Yes, I absolutely remember the Lincoln Del and think of it often. It was the closest facsimile to an east coast diner we had here in MSP -- something I miss since my last relatives have moved away.

    There really aren't any places exactly like that that I have found. Since I have started eating at the Good Day Cafe in Golden Valley, I mentioned to a couple people that for some reason it reminds me of the Lincoln Del. Part of it is the layout and part of it is the energy/vibe that exists there. Not much of it has to do with the menu although the food is outstanding. I can't really put my finger on the connection.

    What I can tell you is that if someone says Fishman's or Cecil's I think I'll vomit.

    6 Replies
    1. re: MSPD

      You are probably remembering this article: http://www.startribune.com/entertainm...

      That's the Lincoln Del I remember. I have many memories of going to the Lincoln Del after a movie at the Cooper Theatre. Wah.

      1. re: MplsM ary

        Wow, yeah I remember the MyPi as the best pizza ever and the first time I ever played a video game. It was Pong on a table style machine where you sat in a chair across from your opponent and the screen faced up. Awesome pizza, I think there's still a branch of this failed chain in Chicago. Maybe the original branch. http://www.mypiepizza.com/

        1. re: ski9600

          Wow. I had no idea my pie still existed. Back in the day it was such an odd restaurant. Pancake house by morning and deep dish pizza by night. It may just be a memory, but I thought the pizza was always worth the wait. I am afraid that mail order would not live up to the memory.

          1. re: ssioff

            I'm not sure if it was the same place or nearby but I also remember a Swedish Smörgåsbord in the same spot or next door. Kind of like a Las Vegas buffet with meatballs, or something else entirely. I didn't know that the My pi did breakfast. That is kind of out there. I'm on the Lou Malnatti's mailing list for shipped frozen pizza, but I hear it isn't like the real thing. They send coupons though, so I've got that going for me.

            1. re: ski9600

              ski9600, I do not recall a Swedish place nearby, but it was a long time ago and entirely possible. My Pie did not do breakfast. The restaurant was two restaurants that shared the same space. Pancakes by day and deep dish by night. Both restaurants had signage on the outside.

              1. re: ssioff

                Jolly Troll Smorgasbord was the "Swedish " place..

      1. Every other place I have eaten is but a pale imitation. You might try the Crossroads Deli if you really need a fix.

        1. Oh, man, I worked there in high school, as well, back in the early/mid-80s. Completely forgot about that. The Sunday buffet was crazy. And those puffy omelets.

          5 Replies
          1. re: Jeff

            Do you of anyway I could get the recipe for their baked spanish omelette? It was awesome and we drove quite a long ways to enjoy. It would be great if they could publish a cookbook or post recipes. Thanks.

            1. re: Sadie Grace

              The cheese omelets at the Del were the best!!!

              I took a class once at the Del on omelet making. They gave us the run of the kitchen and an endless supply of eggs so you could practice flipping the omelets.

              You could then buy an omelete pan and the little cast iron bakers that they used. And which I did.

              They used clarified butter, I think, and once the omelet was cooked in the omelet pan, they flipped it into the little cast iron bakers. A slice of cheese (and I think it was just processed cheese that melted really well) went inside the folded omelet and on top. The secret to their process was about 5 minutes in a really hot oven in the little bakers. The omelets kind of puffed up in that last little treatment.

              I just sold my omelet pan and the bakers at the garage sale I had last week. I was kind of sad to see them go.

              When my Dad was sick, he had a craving for those omelets. I learned that a deli on the west side of the metro area was using the Lincoln Del recipe. The name of it started with a "Z." Ziggy's? Something like that.

              So I went there and brought him omelets to go. I'm not sure if that restaurant is still in business. It was about 6 years ago now.

              1. re: karykat

                I think you meant Zaroff's. It was at 394 and Hopkins Crossroad. They closed a couple of years ago. Not enough business.

                1. re: cheeseguysgirl

                  Yes, that was it.

                  Someone else needs to revive those Lincoln Del omelets.

                  (I am available as a consultant and taster.)

                2. re: karykat

                  I agree, the cheese omelets were unbelievable, but how about their hash browns? Or the del-wich, man do I ever miss their food and the atmosphere, brings me back to sunday school at Temple Israel and going after and seeing everyone you know! Why didn/t they publish a cook book!

            2. The Lincoln Del resides along with the original whirling metal platform carousel at the old Cornelia Park and the long-gone wishing well and hot cocoa room in the Gabberts basement among my earliest happy childhood memories. For me it was the reubens and the potato pancakes and, when I had been very very good, the C. Everett Koopcake.

              Nothing compares. Hell, I've been living on the East Coast for 15 years now, and the East Coast diners don't compare. The closest I ever come is when I happen on independently owned coffee/sandwich shops in small towns while on road trips and the proprietors happen to be German.

              11 Replies
              1. re: planetjess

                mspd, I thought you said this board was to get people in the mood to eat...so please don't lose your lunch, I won't bring up the dreaded places you mentioned. Planet jess, could you tell me what is the C Everett Koopcake please?

                1. re: faith

                  The C. Everett Koopcake was a towering monstrosity of chocolate layer cake and whipped cream and cherries and chocolate shavings. It was displayed, tantalizingly, right alongside the roped-off line to get to the hostess's station, bedecked with a faux "Surgeon General's Warning" as to its bad health effects. Those were the days when Koop was everywhere letting everyone in on the secret evils of smoking, and it made the cake seem even more decadent and forbidden and hilarious.

                  1. re: planetjess

                    thanks, I think I remember seeing it! Scary--seems like it was a Jewish deli fixture to have the rotating display case with huge wedges of cheesecake and other gooey stuff.

                    1. re: faith

                      The rotating display case is actually an east coast diner fixture rather than Jewish deli. As biga290 below mentions, Lincoln Del had the atmosphere of an east coast diner with elements of New York/Jewish deli. This meant a lot to me when I moved from the east coast to Minnesota in 1990...I have a strong affinity for Jewish deli and diners (real ones, not the crap we have here).

                      1. re: MSPD

                        Well, the main place I remember seeing them was Jewish delis. And I suppose if Lincoln Del is any indicator, the terms 'diner' and 'deli' perhaps are not as separate as some may think.

                        1. re: faith

                          I think it depends, as with most things, on where you're standing. If you're standing in the greater NY-NJ metroplex, a deli and a diner are not the same thing at all. If you're standing in the Lincoln Del (sob), they can seem like natural kin. I guess in its way it was early fusion food--the breadth of a diner, the comfort of a really good deli.

                          1. re: planetjess

                            Well, where I lived during these memories was Philadelphia and Schenectady NY. And maybe they weren't the same thing, but those revolving dessert things were in upscale Jewish delis. So there- and I didn't go to diners that much. Maybe they both had them- seems like the Jewish delis liked to have huge slices of cheesecake that I think would not be typical in a standard diner. I am thinking suddenly of something my mother used to say when my siblings and I would bicker and split hairs-- 'You kids would argue over toilet paper!'

                            1. re: faith

                              Faith, I haven't posted a single word regarding whether revolving dessert things are found in delis or diners, merely that delis and diners aren't the same thing, and I attempted to do so in a good-humored way. Feel free to disagree in Minneapolis or Schenectady or Philadelphia.

                2. re: planetjess

                  Oh, the hot cocoa room at Gabberts! You're making me all nostalgic.

                  My mother loved to prowl Gabberts. Never bought anything but she got lots of ideas there, I think.

                  So us kids would accompany her there. And our reward was the hot cocoa. And the wishing well.

                  1. re: planetjess

                    I TOTALLY remember the hot cocoa room at Gabberts, but was an adult when I went there. I still miss it!

                    1. re: KristinK7

                      Yes, I loved that room! My mother was a Gabberts nut and I think that cocoa room is how she got me to go with her.

                      (That was brilliant marketing!)

                      Many fond memories. . . .

                  2. I am a native new yorker. however I lived in mpls in the early 1970s and ate lincoln del many times. I remember it as kind of a combination of a new york deli and diner and a social mecca. i thought the deli sandwiches were the best i had eaten west of the hudson river. I later lived in chicago and found nothing in chicago as good as lincoln del

                    1. The Lincoln Del I remember best was the one on West Lake Street in St. Louis Park just past the Minneapolis city limits, not the one in Bloomington or at Highway 100 and US 12. They had great pastries most of all. For deli sandwiches I preferred Bernie's just another block west. Bernie's had a Reuben and onion rings to die for. At the time I live just a few blocks away from both back in the 70s.

                      1. When and under what circumstances did the Lincoln Del close?

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: biga290

                          I don't know exactly but I think after Moishe handed it over, it went downhill from there. Also, I heard that their expansion to 494 and highway 100 was not a good move, they weren't able to handle them all.

                          1. re: biga290

                            I heard it closed because of the freeway expansion in Bloomington; because it was kosher the kitchens were seperate, they couldn't just keep the one restuarant in St Loius Park open. The Saturaday night pot roast and potato soup with the cheese on top were the best. I was a hostess there for years in high school and even though I now live in New York am still looking for its equal.

                            1. re: daniellx

                              This article includes a fuller explanation of the closing. Basically, there was more value in the land than the restaurant.


                              More here http://nokohaha.com/2011/03/14/the-li...

                          2. There were two things I remember most from the Lincoln Del. The first is their French dressing. It needed to be shaken as it separated but it held lots of flavor.

                            The second and for me most important is their French Dip sandwiches. I have searched high and low in the Twin Cities and can't find anything comparable. Wally's in Bloomington makes wonderful sandwiches but they are not the same.

                            Anyone have any suggestions?

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: EdinaDad

                              My mother lives in Bloomington and raves about those sandwiches at Wallys.

                            2. The Brother deli downtown is probably your best bet for basic deli fair. Cecils will have more of an expanded menu ala the Lincoln Del.

                              12 Replies
                              1. re: Latinpig

                                First, I'm grumpy at daniellx for dredging up this FIVE YEAR OLD thread and reminding me how miserable I feel about not having a place like Lincoln Del around.

                                Then, I get kicked while I'm down by someone comparing Brothers and (barf) Cecil's to the Lincoln Del. The Lincoln Del was more than just a few similar menu items. Curious, Latinpig, did you go to the Lincoln Del?

                                1. re: MSPD

                                  I know people ride Brother's hard on this board. But can I just say that when I worked downtown, nothing made me happier than their Wednesday special. Open faced turkey sandwich smothered in gravy and served with a heaping mound of garlic mashed potatoes. All for $6.95. It was my one splurge of the week because when you work downtown and you only make 28K per year, money was awfully tight. To this day, it remains one of my favorite versions I've ever had of the dish and I order it a lot when I'm eating out for lunch.

                                  No, Brother's is not Katz's, or the Carnegie Deli, or even the Lincoln Del (my old man took me a few times when I was younger). But it's no where near as bad as it's made out to be on this board. And frankly, even if it was as good, people would find something to complain about anyway. I am surprised anybody even bothers trying to open a deli in this town because all you are going to get is scorn and ridicule, even if you do it right.

                                  1. re: Db Cooper

                                    I didn't mean to say Brothers was bad, just that it's not reminiscent of the Lincoln Del at all (food being only one of many factors). I can't explain it I guess.

                                    1. re: MSPD

                                      MSPD um wow nice. Yes, I went to the Lincoln Dell very often growing up. I also knew members of the Berenberg family very well. The fact is that the Lincoln Dells strengths were not core deli items. In that regard, they were more like crossroads with a broad menu. They had amazing baked goods. The breakfast items were also outstanding. They were no known as the New York pastrami mecca. I think you would be suprised how good the quality of the deli food is at the brothers. They probably have the best pastrami in town.

                                      1. re: Latinpig

                                        I'm well aware of Brothers. Again, that wasn't a knock on them, but rather that it is nothing at all like the Lincoln Del (which is why I asked if you had been there...I should have put a carriage return before "Curious").

                                        It's like of like if Mancini's closed and someone said, well you can replace it with the Fogo de Chao. Yeah, it's meat, but that's about where it ends.

                                        Also, you have to read the humor in my post (continuing from my original response years ago). I should be well-known on here after 10 years of posting for having a very strong affinity for NY style Jewish foods, east coast diners, etc. Hopefully I get credit for generally not talking about Cecil's anymore.

                                        Lincoln Del had those ridiculously large cases of baked goods, the clientele and wait staff reminiscent of a New Jersey diner, a crazy huge menu, and so on. It's just not something that can be recreated.

                                        1. re: MSPD

                                          I miss the baked goods most of all. There really is no comparison. Does anyone remember the cookies they used to make...they were really buttery and had choc, and cashews and i think coconut in them? I'd love to find them or a recipe. **sigh**

                                          1. re: Bobannon

                                            I miss The Lincoln Del's chocolate frogs!!!! Those were like The Food of the Gods to a little kid!

                                            1. re: gryffindor249

                                              Oh, those frogs - how I miss them! I found something visually similar in an LA grocery store a few years back, but it wasn't the same. I really miss the Lincoln Del.

                                                1. re: Royboy1256

                                                  This is what I found in LA (photographed after my mom sat on the box).

                                                  A local post from a few years ago implies that PJ Murphy's Bakery still makes 'em.

                                                  1. re: AnneInMpls

                                                    Ahhh, yes. Now I remember seeing them in the display case.

                                2. Ah geez, OK, I'll come off the sidelines. I too worked there when I was in High School, back when .25 cents was the going tip. Danny Berengberg was supposed to come out with a Recipe book of his Mother's recipes, but to my knowledge, never did. Very surprised that no one has mentioned the "Triple Tootsies", the "Matza Ball Soup" nor "The Beets" I had to carry up from the basement of the one in SLP. They were in 5 gallon white buckets and were given out as a free condiment. Crossroads Deli doesn't come close to LD's soup but fills a void when I need some hot matza ball soup. Someone mentioned Wall'y roast beef sanny's, very good but try Mavericks in St. Paul (Lex & Larpenter?). They have the best roast beef sandwhiches I've had, try the garlic one on dark bread, to die for.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: Royboy1256

                                    Loved the beets, omletes and the carrot cake.

                                    1. re: Royboy1256

                                      Back in the early 80's, I ate at LD in Bloomington and SLP. I remember the biggest matzoh balls I've ever seen in the soup. They weren't bad either. Substantial. Sinkers, not floaters.

                                      The corned beef on rye (my goto deli sandwich) was not memorable. I did like the atmosphere.

                                    2. I remember going to the one maybe near Hwy 55 (I guess it's I-394 now) and I think Hwy 100. It was a really big white building. Lots of seats for a restaurant. I guess the thing I remember getting was matzo ball soup. So good. I also remember that we used to go for Chinese across the highway at "Jon's Number One Son". It was in a strip mall near a Schlotsky's and a dental office. Very good pork ribs appetizer.

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: ski9600

                                        The strip center, with Schlotsky's and the Chinese restaurant, (if I remember right) was connected to Ruperts.

                                        1. re: suburban_mom

                                          I'm digging really deep here into Memoryland circa 1985. The Chinese restaurant connected to Rupert's that I remember was August Moon. I can still see their logo in my mind - two angled chopsticks over a large moon. The food was pretty decent for its' time also.

                                          Wasn't the Cooper Theater across from Rupert's before they tore up highway 12? It's entirely possible I mish-mashed it all up in my mind due to too many nights at Rupert's.

                                          1. re: justalex

                                            August Moon was there as late as 2001 or 2002...I used to eat there for lunch all the time when I worked over there. It burned down. They had the best spring rolls.

                                            Yep...the Cooper was across the road before 394.

                                      2. Lincoln Del was great - I used to work there, too. Have you tried Crossroads Deli?

                                        1. The Lincoln Del story ends when grandson Danny Berenberg decided to sell his 6.8 acre tract on the Bloomington strip to Walser Automotive for $6.4 million. Since the Bloomington store was also supporting the Park store and the Park location was too antiquated to run by itself, both had to go. The St. Louis Park store was closed in June 2000. Berenberg retained the rights to the name and all the recipes. Many of the recipes came with family members who immigrated from Russia and Romania, Berenberg said in a Dispatch article. At the time of closing, the borscht chefs moved to Zaroff's Deli in Minnetonka, which has now closed.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: fdsci

                                            What a huge loss. So sick of the cookie-cutter restaurants we have today. I moved away from Minneapolis years ago but I periodically think of the Lincoln Del and how much better it was than what we have available now.

                                            1. re: fdsci

                                              Zaroff's made cheese omelets like the Lincoln Del's. Now I know why.

                                            2. I was just talking about the Lincoln Del on highway 100 the other day. I loved the corned beef sandwiches and especially the desserts. I can't find anywhere that has good baked goods today.

                                              1. I had high hopes for Mort's in Golden Valley when it opened about 4 years ago. It started strong but the service was inconsistent, and I haven't been back in some time. They apparently get their cheesecake from the Carnegie Deli in New York.

                                                Crossroads in Hopkins (off Cedar Lake Road) has pretty good Motza Ball soup, decent sammiches, etc, but doesn't quite live up to my memories of Lincoln Del (though admittedly, those are pretty faded memories). They also do a brunch buffet on Sundays... I would give it a marginal thumbs-up - there might be a few dishes you aren't going to find on other buffets, however...

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: jsc73

                                                  My Jewish friends like the Crossroads.

                                                2. I worked with Mo. Back when I was a teenager. looking back, I drove the delivery truck for the del on MTKA. Blvd. Loved the rum cakes. My mom got them to add weight watchers vegetable soup to the menu. It was a real hang out. A jew's who...cast of regular characters. I worked at both the one on Wayzata Blvd and the main one on MTKA Blvd. Mo chastised me looking back for some fairly bush league kitchen habits and behaviors..I was a kid,serving up pastries and slicing bread for hurried customers...They liked me because I was young and fresh. Mo was like in his 60's or 70's. he was substance over there and many of us poster children were amateurs
                                                  with good form