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Jun 17, 2009 06:21 PM

Early Breakfast in the Twin Cities

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. re: getgot211

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

        1. re: sullysully

          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

            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

              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

                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 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

                  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

                    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


                      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

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


                        1. re: Brad Ballinger

                          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.

          1. 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. 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. 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 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

                    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

                      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

                        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

                          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

                          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.