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Best Hashbrowns in the Twin Cities?

It's a quest that few go on, but we're on it, and have been for at least 8 months. We adore Minneapolis, like St. Paul, and are always in search of new fun breakfast places. Last weekend was Sweet Lorraine's in South Mpls. Very great service, good food, but not perfect hashbrowns. Close, but no cigar. So, let's hear it from all you breakfast-eaters on your opinion of the best hashbrowns and breakfast spots in the Twin Cities, please.

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  1. From the Search function:
    A decent round-up of the existing threads: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/457293
    In the eastern suburbs: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/444212
    In the southern suburbs: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/432738
    In South Mpls: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/413423 and
    In Northeast: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/475702 and http://www.chowhound.com/topics/451985

    Al's Diner -- from nearly every mention of breakfast
    Hell's Kitchen -- from nearly every mention of breakfast

    1. For some reason, my mind was jogged while reading this and I thought of a place I haven't eaten at for years: the Seward Community Cafe. I really liked their hash browns when I've eaten there.

      Also, I enjoy the hash browns at Uptown Diner/Calhoun Grill/New Louisiana Cafe/other siblings. They're also pretty good at the Longfellow Grill/Edina Grill/Highland Grill (again - siblings).

      Highland Grill
      771 Cleveland Ave S, Saint Paul, MN 55116

      Seward Community Cafe
      2129 E Franklin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55404

      Longfellow Grill
      2990 W River Pkwy, Minneapolis, MN 55406

      Louisiana Cafe
      613 Selby Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55102

      Edina Grill
      5028 France Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55410

      Calhoun Grill
      3220 W Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55416

      Uptown Diner
      2548 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55405

      2 Replies
      1. re: bob s

        Hey thanks bob s. Is the Uptown Diner anything like the Uptown Bar and Cafe? The Uptown Bar and Cafe is one of our go-back-to places in which the hashbrowns are consistantly good, the overall breakfast and atmosphere is awesome there on a Saturday or Sunday morning. Whats the Uptown Diner like? We loved the food at the Calhoun Grill. Froze our butts off in there though in January...turn up that heat!

        1. re: heine143

          The Uptown Bar and Uptown Diner are completely different. (I used to confuse the two when they were right next door to each other about 10-15 years ago.) The Diner and the Calhoun Grill have the same menu - along with the New Louisiana, the New Uptown, and the Grandview Grill in St. Paul.

          Also, just remembered that the Day By Day Cafe in St. Paul has decent browns.

      2. They don't serve breakfast, but the hashbrowns w/ onions @ Manny's are about as good as it gets. For breakfast I like Al's Diner's hashbrowns...or the Potatoes O'Brien @ Mickey's Diner.

        4 Replies
        1. re: g rote

          Also not available at breakfast, the hash browns at Erte in NE Minneapolis are the best I've had. They're a side dish to accompany steak, fish, or whatever. They come as a perfectly circular disc, so crispy on top that you need a knife to slice out a wedge. That's assuming you're willing to share. ;)

          1. re: Jordan

            Another "not at breakfast" but the St. Paul Grill's hash browns are worth the price of admission.

            Aside from that, it probably depends on your criteria for "best". Sometimes I like the low-grade kind like you get at Al's (mopped up with hollandaise), Milda's Cafe, Our Kitchen, Emily's, Day By Day, etc. The ones at Manny's, Erte, St. Paul Grille, et al are more "upscale".

            The beauty of the hash brown for me is having egg yolk, hollandaise and/or other sauce bleed into them. Or having them inside something like the Tex Mex at Grandview Grille (jarred salsa, cheddar cheese and sour cream).

            1. re: Jordan

              Wow, a circular disc? Sounds interesting! ...And I only share hashbrowns or ice cream with my soulmate...! :)

            2. re: g rote

              If you want really great hash browns, go to Ruth's Chris Steakhouse. Then Manny's would be my 2nd choice. (Ruth's Chris are better because theirs are cooked smaller and flatter, so you get more overall crispy outside).

            3. Not in the Twin Cities, but there is a little place called Don's Cafe in Morris, Minnesota. They have the greatest hashbrowns. Crispy on the outside, mushy on the inside, and topped with a large pat of butter. They come on a plate the size of your head and cost about $2.00. I miss those hashbrowns.

              Also, amazingly, the cafeteria at my work has great ones about half the time. The other half the time they are burnt.

              1. Al's Breakfast -- always perfectly crisp with right amount of grease.

                1. al's. i'll second Bob S. on seward community cafe too.

                  10 Replies
                  1. re: soupkitten

                    10 years ago, I lived across the street from the Seward cafe. Breakfast was always good, but it also took forEVER to get the food. Has it improved?

                    1. re: Jordan

                      i remember it being reasonable 5-6 years ago (busy weekend am) but honestly haven't been back more recently, so my rec may be no good! Bob S' mention of the place was a blast from the past for me too. i used to order the "super red earth" and put extra hot sauce on it. . . i remember it being great for soaking up a hangover ;)

                      1. re: soupkitten

                        It was banana buckwheat pancakes for me, and I paid the extra quarter to get real maple syrup.

                        1. re: Jordan

                          A quarter? It's been a loooong time for you, Jordan. During recent visits on busy weekends, the wait hasn't been too bad. I do find the hash browns are a bit loose and greasy compared to other spots.

                          The menu is basically unchanged. They also still charge 90-something cents for coffee plus 50 cents for refills, and hand out those little old church-hall cups that hold four ounces. The coffee is weak enough to fit the reference 100%.

                          Since the most likely reason is to discourage table squatting, I'm unapologetic about bringing my own drink from Second Moon, just down the street.

                          1. re: KTFoley

                            Yes, I'm old. When I lived there, there was no Second Moon nor a Pizza Luce on the corner ... but the Seward Co-Op was just across the street (where the hardware store is now).

                            And Big Olaf's was there ... talk about a greasy spoon breakfast joint...

                            1. re: Jordan

                              Yep, I had my first Seward breakfast in 1990, before Second Moon or Pizza Luce but after the hardware store. And seriously, the coffee has not inproved in that time.

                        2. re: soupkitten

                          We are a little impatient - usually to hungry to wait - what's the best time of day/week to go to Als and not have to wait?

                          P.S. A cozy little waiting area is always worth the wait :)

                          1. re: heine143

                            saturday am is the worst day. weekdays are better, particularly if you can time your visit for when the u is on a break. if you get there before 8 am you are ahead of the game, with chances for instant seating going up the earlier you get there. parties of 1 or 2 are best, 3 at your own risk, 4 be prepared to split into pairs, anything bigger is ridiculous. al's can sound like so much work for breakfast (!) but it is a dear classic to many. once you are seated, the food comes fast and they'll give you the boot when you're done!

                            "P.S. A cozy little waiting area is always worth the wait :)"
                            LOL have you seen al's? it doesn't get cozier or littler than al's "waiting area"-- standing behind the stools of those you are waiting to displace! ;)

                            1. re: heine143

                              I've had pretty good success in going on a weekday before 8:00. I think the key is to not go in a party larger than 2. (Dining solo can speed things up too!)

                              The term "cozy" in my mind connotes a pleasant comfortable experience. Just FYI (in case you haven't been there) while standing right behind the counter waiting for a seat is not horrible, I would never say its comfy.

                              1. re: heine143

                                The other day I met a friend for lunch at Al's -- around noon on a mild-weather weekday. There were 2-4 people waiting at any given time and we stood for about five minutes maybe.

                        3. I have to agree with those that mentioned Manny's (I like them plain) and Erte. Very similar in that they are big and fit on a plate and are crispy on the outside and go from firm to almost mashed quality in the center. Manny's are big fluffy hash-pillows. How they get the mass so fluffy, I have no idea. Salty, buttery, delicious.

                          Breakfast places rarely par-boil the potatoes first, so they seperate and you get the Andy Cap's french fry effect...but the Springer's Spring Street Browns are outstanding (with onions & peppers). Love Al's. Ideal Diner has some good ones...

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: Foureyes137

                            Manny's sounds worth the trip...my mouth is watering now after reading these...thanks everyone!

                            Anyone been to Hells Kitchen when it WASN'T busy? Tryna find a good time to go there...tried twice and like 45 minute waits...too hungry to wait on those days...of course it was a Saturday or Sunday morning at 10 a.m., probably the WORST time to go, right?

                            1. re: heine143

                              We went Sunday morning when it was -20 at 10am and it was only a 30 minute wait. We don't mind the wait at all since we can then go across the street to the Local and have a bloody. The beeper they give you works for 2 blocks...

                              1. re: heine143

                                Yes, that's the worst time. Go much earlier, go on a weekday, or call ahead for a reservation.

                                1. re: heine143

                                  Go to Hell's Kitchen at 10 or 10:30 AM on a weekday. No waits - at least, there were none when I was there.

                                  I suspect that there are ALWAYS waits on a weekend.


                                  1. re: AnneInMpls

                                    i've gotten lucky hitting hell's before 10 am even on the weekend. seems like even *five* minutes before 10 and you can still often get a table, and at 10:01 the line is out the door. . .