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Early Breakfast in the Twin Cities

gkeepers Jun 17, 2009 06:21 PM

Im going to be catching a red - eye to MSP next friday and was hoping I could get some tips on a good early breakfast spot to patronize with my girlfriend after I land at 545 AM. Any suggestions?

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  1. Foureyes137 RE: gkeepers Jun 17, 2009 06:25 PM

    There is really only one suggestion:



    Ok, maybe two:


    11 Replies
    1. re: Foureyes137
      getgot211 RE: Foureyes137 Jun 17, 2009 06:33 PM


      Colossal Cafe

      1. re: getgot211
        sullysully RE: getgot211 Jun 17, 2009 08:16 PM

        I second Colossal Cafe, and it's close to the airport, just up Cedar. So delicious...

        1. re: sullysully
          tex.s.toast RE: sullysully Jun 17, 2009 09:41 PM

          Foureyes has the conventional answer (in Al's, i love mickeys but not for the food) but i am with getgot and sully here, Colossal Cafe is the only place i ever want breakfast out anymore, and im pretty sure they open at 6 (though god knows ive never been before 1030/11).

          Best.Breakfast. Sandwiches. Ever. No ifs ands or buts. plus they come on your choice of an amazing house-made biscuit (they are serious about their bakery items) or wrapped in a giant yeast pancake (which are delicious on their own, but soooo much better stuffed with fluffy eggs, fatty protein of your choosing and some cheese.

          definitely dont forgo the other baked good too - ive had pretty great scones and the signature pastry are these cream filled spongey cake things called flips (im doing them no great service with that description, basically its a cake base topped with a flavored cream, ive had the strawberry and chocolate-banana and both were terrific)

          1. re: sullysully
            prasantrin RE: sullysully Jun 22, 2009 04:34 AM

            Is Colossal Cafe accessible via LRT. This year we decided to skip a full trip to MSP (much to my regret), and will only have a several-hour stopover at the airport. We were going to go to the Mall, but if I can have good food instead, I`m all there!

            1. re: prasantrin
              KTFoley RE: prasantrin Jun 22, 2009 05:34 AM

              It's a bit of a hike eastward on 42nd St. from the rail line to Cedar Ave, so you would probably need to take a short bus ride.

              1. re: prasantrin
                tex.s.toast RE: prasantrin Jun 22, 2009 05:38 AM

                Well it depends on how into walking you are because its about 4 blocks south and a bit over 10 blocks west from the LRT, but its not too far from the 38th street station (google says to expect about a half hour walk, check out metrotransit.com for their convenient public transit scheduer if youd rather take a bus).


                For that you'd definitely earn an extra breakfast pastry or two. To warn you there are about 5 2-tops and a 5 seat counter, plus a smattering of outdoor seats. I havent waited long, but i have waited often, so you'd want to build that into your trip time.

                Id walk there from st paul for their breakfasts though, so 15 blocks seems pretty trivial.

                1. re: tex.s.toast
                  prasantrin RE: tex.s.toast Jun 22, 2009 07:38 PM

                  Thanks KTFoley and tex.s.toast.

                  I could certainly walk it, but my travelling companion is less able-bodied. I'll check out transit options. We arrive around noon, and if they close at 3 we'll have to find the quickest way there. (Would taxi really be out of the question? Is there anything else around there worth seeing?).

                  We usually stay near the UofM within walking distance from Al's. I keep putting other breakfast places on my list, but I never stray from my eggs benedict and Wally blue. This is my chance!

                  1. re: prasantrin
                    Brad Ballinger RE: prasantrin Jun 22, 2009 07:55 PM

                    Taxis in the Twin Cities are more expensive than in many other cities in my experience. $2.50 flag, $2.35 per mile, and $3.00 more if you're leaving from the airport. Better off with light rail, and sticking to places closer to the line.

                    1. re: Brad Ballinger
                      prasantrin RE: Brad Ballinger Jun 22, 2009 10:25 PM


                      Well, I started to look up transit directions, but then I realized they're only open Wed to Sun, and I'll be there on a Tuesday!!!! We might still try to take a weekend trip to MSP later in the summer, so it's still on my list!

                      1. re: prasantrin
                        Brad Ballinger RE: prasantrin Jun 23, 2009 01:13 PM

                        Right across the street is Stabby's Cafe. I like the gingerbread banana pancakes.


                        1. re: Brad Ballinger
                          Brad Ballinger RE: Brad Ballinger Jun 23, 2009 01:34 PM

                          I should have also mentioned another place not too far from there--Hot Plate at 52nd and Bloomington on the west side of Lake Nokomis. No web site.

        2. s
          soupkitten RE: gkeepers Jun 17, 2009 08:33 PM


          1. The Dairy Queen RE: gkeepers Jun 17, 2009 11:27 PM

            Yep, Al's, Colossal. Also, Hell's Kitchen opens at 6:30am.

            I would almost recommend Maria's for their corn pancakes, depending on where you were headed and how long it might take you to get your bags, but they don't open until 7am and you'll want be well into a cup of coffee by then.


            1. b
              Brad Ballinger RE: gkeepers Jun 18, 2009 11:32 AM

              Another vote for Colossal Cafe given the proximity to the airport as well as the quality of the food. It's small, but there should be room for you. Sit outside if the weather cooperates. If crowded, walk across the street toward Cedar to Stabby's Cafe.

              1. Davydd RE: gkeepers Jun 19, 2009 06:58 AM

                Al's opens at 6:00 AM. Last March when I went there were people waiting outside before it opened to get at the 14 stools. Good breakfast, fun and friendly experience. Plus it is about as unique as it gets.

                6 Replies
                1. re: Davydd
                  The Dairy Queen RE: Davydd Jun 19, 2009 07:08 AM

                  The line at Al's forms even before it forms, if you know what I mean. People sit in their cars and "notice" who else is hanging around. Eventually, it reaches some kind of critical mass and people actually go form a line. I love waiting in line at Al's at 6am in February, when it's cold and dark and icy. It makes me feel like a real Twin Citiean. (Although, according to MplsMary, I still need to pass the "digging a total stranger out of the snow" test before I can officially be admitted to the club. I've been dug out of the snow by a total stranger; does that count?)


                  1. re: The Dairy Queen
                    dafekdkn RE: The Dairy Queen Jun 19, 2009 09:48 AM

                    It's not incredibly busy during the week in the summer, at least in my experience. I've arrived a few times recently around 6:30/7 am, and never had to wait.

                    1. re: dafekdkn
                      The Dairy Queen RE: dafekdkn Jun 19, 2009 09:59 AM

                      That's a great point. I see the OP is talking about Friday. (Was that today? or next Friday?), so, good thing you chimed in!


                      1. re: The Dairy Queen
                        gkeepers RE: The Dairy Queen Jun 19, 2009 01:34 PM

                        Wow thanks everyone for the advice. I'd love to try all of these places but unfortunately will only be there one day so I'll have to choose just one.

                        1. re: gkeepers
                          The Dairy Queen RE: gkeepers Jun 19, 2009 01:51 PM

                          Well, you have a very diverse range of choices. Al's is a counter--so, you'd be dining side by side. Very diner-y. Colossal is a tiny little hole in the wall neighborhood place, much lower key than Al's. Cafe'ish.

                          Hell's Kitchen is big and brash. Restaurant'ish.

                          Really, though, you can't go wrong, chow-wise. Have fun!


                        2. re: The Dairy Queen
                          prasantrin RE: The Dairy Queen Jun 22, 2009 04:29 AM

                          The last time I went to Al`s (last summer), they told me during the week it`s slower, but it picks up on Thursday and the rest of the weekend. Sure enough, I tried to go one last time before driving home on a Thursday around 7, and there was quite a line by the time I got there.

                  2. d
                    Danny RE: gkeepers Jun 19, 2009 02:01 PM

                    If you're looking for an early breakfast with the truckers, try Bonnie's Cafe on University in St. Paul. Big, cheap, hearty breakfast, mostly with the truckers that serve the surrounding industrial areas. They know a good, greasy breakfast when they see one!

                    They open at 4 or 5 AM, and close before 2PM, so they'll certainly be open when you're looking to visit. It isn't particularly convenient to the airport, but if you're heading in the direction of St. Paul, it's a good spot.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Danny
                      The Dairy Queen RE: Danny Jun 19, 2009 02:16 PM

                      Oy, Bonnie's is Greasy spoon with a capital G!

                      But , except for Mickeys (which never closes--there's the story floating around, apocryphal perhaps--that they once needed to close down for an emergency and a) they couldn't find the key because they'd never used it or b) don't even have locks), it's one of the few things open in the wee wee wee am's.

                      1. re: Danny
                        AnneInMpls RE: Danny Jun 19, 2009 08:18 PM

                        Anyone arriving by train should DEFINITELY remember Bonnie's Cafe.

                        As I recall, the east-bound Amtrak arrives at 7:30 or so, and Bonnie's is less than a mile down University Ave. Travelers can hop a #16 bus (or walk northish) and be eating breakfast in no time!

                        OK, so this info isn't particularly useful for airplane travelers, but us train travelers must have SOME rewards! (Another one is the more upscale Cupcake Bakery, another mile down the road....)


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