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Jun 10, 2012 03:49 AM

Early early (or, I suppose, late late) breakfast spots in TC's on weekends.

Reviewed a pretty good Breakfast thread here but there was little discussion on opening hours.
I am an early-bird weekdays -and- (sometimes even MORE so) on weekends. I have been struck by how surprisingly late-started many breakfast spots are in the TC's, especially at weekends I find myself often out and about wanting a good breakfast between 530am and 730 am Sat & Sun. There's Mickey's, of course. But there must be other taxi-driver haunts out there. But they are not easy to locate by driving around randomly and hopefully.
Would anyone be able to contrive a list of either 24-hour diners other than Mickey's or breakfast spots who who don't observe bankers' hours (on weekends)? Let's say open before 730? Obviously we're not talking Perkin's or McD's.

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  1. Said it before, I'll say it again: Stockmen's Truck Stop. Open 24 hours/365 days a year.

    Closer in, Bonnie's Cafe on University is open at 5:30 on weekdays, 6 on Saturday, and 6:30 on Sunday.

    Al's Breakfast opens at 6:00.

    In the south metro, Windmill Cafe in Savage is open at 4:30 a.m. on weekdays, 6 a.m. on weekends and the Buckboard in Lakeville is open at 5 a.m.

    These are all of my go-to spots for a no-nonsense breakfast (blue collar, greasy spoonish).

    8 Replies
    1. re: MSPD

      I think Al's opens 900am on Sundays, but I may be wrong. Where is Stockman's at? It doesn't ring a bell. Windmill cafe sounds like it has the goods. Ditto Buckboard. This morning I had a terrible abortive hunt for Patrick's on Lyndale (had the address, but could nto find it: address was 6011 Lyndale or thereabouts: that stretch appeared a wasteland in terms of restaurants and I drove up and down 5 times!), then to the Anchor (at 8am they don't open till 10), the place on 13th (Modern?) there similarly wasn't open. I ended up back at the Finnish Bistro simply for want of being able to find anywhere else! I had always assumed the NOrdic blood still ran strong with people eating breakfast at 600am Sundays with nary a blink, but the old school habits must ahve died out. :-)

      1. re: bishopsbitter

        Patrick's is inside the Bachman's garden center at 60th and Lyndale. I had lunch there a couple of years ago. I was not aware they served breakfast. Interesting.

        1. re: justalex

          SH** I Drove around their lot, but it looked deserted. But according to the Web site they open @ 700am. Oh I now see he has two locations. THe Lyndale is "call for hours." Poorly designed website combined with looking at at 600am before my eyes had fully started to focus for the day. ^^^^!

          1. re: bishopsbitter

            My poor dear. Their website is bad. I can't imagine Patrick's would open before the garden center's hours. You didn't miss a whole lot. If I recall my lunch correctly, it's just a cafeteria line and you dine in the middle of the quite pretty houseplant section. You didn't miss anything spectacular. I'm not an early riser on weekends so I have no recs sad to say.

            1. re: justalex

              I had read he was ex pastry chef @ Sofitel. I wondered if he could actually bake bread & pastries like the much-missed Napoleon's on St Clair - a place I liked and patronized very much circa 1982-3. (When bloody Starbucks (at least as a ubiquitous nationwide scourge) was not even a gleam in any Lex Luthor's eyes.) Napoleon's did nice real coffees
              and superb bread & pastries.

        2. re: bishopsbitter

          Stockmen's is by the 494/Hardman Ave exit in South Saint Paul. It's part of a big truck plaza on Farwell; just go a little north on Hardman and it's on your left.

          1. re: bishopsbitter

            Patrick's main location is near Southdale. The Bachman's thing is just an outpost.

          2. re: MSPD

            Thanks for these tips. They will get used next weekend I am over-weekending here! bb

          3. Day By Day Cafe opens at 6 on Saturdays and 7 on Sundays. It's not the best breakfast in town, but it's solid and probably better than Bonnie's. I like the scrambled eggs with cream cheese.

            1. Hard Times Cafe on the University of Minnesota's West Bank is open 22 hours a day, from 6am to 4am. It's a vegetarian/vegan collectively owned place that serves a strong cup of coffee and some big breakfasts for a nice price. Order at the counter. Atmosphere is old hippies and new hipsters and students and everything in between. I personally like its vibe. Be aware: there's a lot of street work going on there now, sadly. Address is 1821 Riverside Avenue, Minneapolis.

              5 Replies
              1. re: cayjohan

                Thanks, I am gathering at least a handful of "go to" suggestions - I appreciate yours, and everyones' responses.:-)

                1. re: cayjohan

                  I just recently "discovered" this place, meaning, I drove by it and was surprised to find it. Is there anything there you recommend? Also, have you tried meals other than breakfast?


                  1. re: The Dairy Queen


                    TDQ, here're a couple of links to give you an idea of the Hard Times. Being a creature of habit, I always hear the Pavlovian ding that makes me a breakfast customer at the Hard Times - part of that is the more than decent coffee. My kids are both U of M students, have some food cred with me, haunt this place a lot, and rave about the other food as well, especially the falafel.. Check out the often excellent baked goods, too.

                    Is it a bit grungy? Yep...and most online reviews will make some mention of heebie-heebie inducing bathrooms, but I've never had that particular experience. Be prepared for your dive-o-meter to chime, in any case.. Write your order, with prices, pay (Cash Only!), and wait to be called. Enjoy a lot of food for the money, and some prime people watching.

                    We usually opt for an early early breakfast here, the downside to which is that nearby Keefer Court isn't open until 10 am, so I can't get my favorite West Bank Institution one-two punch of a Hard Times breakfast and a big box of BBQ pork buns to nosh on the rest of the day!

                    Worth checking out to see if it's an acquired taste you'd like to acquire! The place always leaves me with a smile, and I am not in any way, shape or form a happy morning person. <grin>


                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                      Hard Times has really really good huevos rancheros. And great people-watching.

                  2. M-Sat, Capitol View Cafe in St. Paul opens at 7am. I'll bet this would be your kind of place.

                    ETA: Also, French Meadow Cafe opens at 6:30am 7 days a week. It doesn't strike me as your kind of place though. and someone recently posted a "downhill" report on this place. I haven't been there to confirm whether or not this is really true. They've got some nice baked goods in addition to sit down meals. (Counter service only, though. You get a number and they bring your food out to your table.)

                    I think Maria's on Franklin in MInneapolis opens at 7am on Sat, but their website is down so I can't confirm. I always get the corn pancakes.

                    I thought I read somewhere that Pineda Tacos opens at 6 or 6:30 but I can't remember where I read that in order to confirm it. EDITED: I think I mis-remembered and it was Los Ocampo at their Suburban Ave location in St. Paul only-- and they are apparenlty open 24 hours on weekends according to They don't seem to have hours on their webiste in order for me to confirm.

                    Also according to that link, apparently Flameburger is also open 24 hours. But, isn't that a chain?

                    Golden's Deli in St. Paul has recently started serving a sit-down breakfast (starting at 7am), but I haven't tried it myself so can't vouch for it. Again, probably not your kind of place, but probably closer to it than French Meadow...

                    Manny's Steakhouse opens at 6:30 for a very upscale kind of breakfast.

                    Longfellow Grill opens at 7am. Probably not your kind of place but they do have a glorious patio.


                    4 Replies
                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                      I was wondering when someone would point out Flameburger. The OP was looking for taxi-driver type of hangouts which to me is a greasy if it isn't Mickey's or Al's it's Flameburger. Yeah it's a chain but they are open 24 hrs, everything is cooked on a griddle in front of you, and it's all good, greasy grub. Chowhounds will turn up their noses but not a guy making $8/hour and looking for a tasty meal in the wee hours of the morning! There's nothing like getting your eggs and burgers all cooked on the same surface and prepared the same way. Mmmmm

                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                          Yep, me too. chains I haven't heard of are OK :-)

                        2. re: GutGrease

                          Let me address the "chain" comment. There are two independently owned locations; one ~a mile south of 694 off Central/65 in Columbia Heights/Fridley, the other off Rice Street ~a mile north of highway 36 in Little Canada. The LC location has been a frequent stop for me over the years. Consistently good/very good diner food, like GG said, made right in front of you, to order. Breakfast is good (VERY good hashbrowns), but I can't go there and not order a burger. Fries are frozen/bagged variety, but always cooked properly.

                      1. Also just thought of these:

                        Colossal Cafe. Both Mpls and St. Paul locations open at 6 a.m. (closed Mondays)

                        Our Kitchen (2 blocks east of 36th and Lyndale in south Mpls) opens at 6 a.m. (another tiny very no-nonsense dinerish place).

                        Patisserie 46 is open at 7 a.m. on Saturdays.

                        Maria's Cafe is open at 7 a.m. on Saturday (8 on Sunday). Their corn pancakes are my favorite pancakes I've ever had.

                        Emily's F&M on Lowry in North Minneapolis is open at 7 a.m. on weekends. (Standard breakfast fare)

                        Milda's Cafe (weekdays only) is open at 7. (Standard breakfast fare)

                        You can find plenty of info on all of these. As with the above, most of what I have posted tend towards the blue collar breakfast joints (with the exception of Patisserie 46, obviously). My idea of a good breakfast isn't frou-frou. Give me Stockmen's corned beef hash (made from scratch, not canned stuff), a couple pancakes the size of a large plate, coffee and OJ, then hand me a shovel or the keys to a semi and I'm good to go. Hopefully that level-sets your expectations if you go to any of my recommendations. Buckboard, Windmill, Stockmen's, Our Kitchen, Emily's and Milda's are all like that.

                        10 Replies
                        1. re: MSPD

                          Gets better and better. I knew these palces were out there but doggone hard to track down by "feel." Thanks!!!

                          1. re: MSPD

                            MSPD - do any of the places you recommend serve good country (chicken) fried steak and/or biscuits & gravy? Thanks!

                            1. re: WildSwede

                              I would guess most have biscuits and gravy but not sure on the country fried steak (not really something I order very often). The only thing that stands out in my memory is the biscuits and gravy at Stockmen's. Nothing that blew me away, but hearty, less-mild sausage, and biscuits that weren't dry as a bone.

                              1. re: WildSwede

                                I just went to Magnolia restaurant (Magnolia & Payne Aves, East St. Paul) to try their fried chicken that was mentioned in another thread. It WAS the best fried chicken I've had in the Twin Cities, and the garlic-mashed side was made with real skin-on red potatoes.

                                This is from-scratch diner cooking, with breakfast served all day, a Monday meatloaf special, Liver & Onions on the dinner menu, potsful of weak coffee, and banana cream pie among the dessert selections.

                                They open at 6:30am, seven days a week. Both Country Fried Steak and Biscuits & Gravy are on the menu. I haven't been there for a morning meal, but the fried chicken fills me with optimism.

                                1. re: KTFoley

                                  Wonderful! Much appreciated! Thanks!

                                  1. re: KTFoley

                                    Magnolia's morning meals are great, no frills, pack it in breakfasts. Recommended!

                                    1. re: clepro

                                      Fantastic, thanks! I have made a note of it and we will be stopping there for breakfast one of the days next week! Thanks again!

                                  2. re: WildSwede

                                    Edit to my last reply. I had biscuits and gravy at the Windmill yesterday. Biscuits were very nice -- not at all dry and flour-y, but still filling. The gravy was tasty but more like a pudding consistency. I prefer it a little bit runnier. I dropped two eggs on top (over-easy) and the runny yolk improved the consistency of the gravy. Nothing out of this world, but still a nice breakfast and a great way to fuel up for several hours of yard work.

                                    1. re: MSPD

                                      I agree gravy should not be too thick. It's another thing where the tendency is 100% opposite of what we prefer. One almost thinks it is mixed to make it easier for waitress to carry it without it spilling, than because it's good eating gravy that's like overthickened wallpaper paste.