does anyone have a bad word about Als Breakfast/dinkytown??
the place seems to be beloved but does anyone actually dislike it??
I don't get to Al's very often. It's not good for groups, and it's only good for families that have the patience to handle the cramped quarters, the waiting, and the shifting around in seats.
However, the food is really quite good, and the atmosphere is fun. I really like the egg Benedict and any of the pancakes.
This biggest problem with Al's is that due to their limited seating capacity its not really the best place to socialize while eating.
I think that it's one of those places where people know exactly what to expect ... and so there is no call to be disappointed by the lines or the rest of the scene. The food is legitimately good.
Why do you ask?
A friend of mine has invited me to go repeatedly. I have always refused. I don't think I would enjoy my breakfast if someone were standing behind me, waiting for my seat.
IMO, it's just eggs, breakfast meat, toast, and pancakes. The room isn't gorgeous and the limited seating kills much of the social aspect of dining out. Al's can't make eggs, breakfast meat, toast, and pancakes *that* much better than places in town that don't have those drawbacks.
Precisely -- folks who don't want that, tend to go elsewhere. That's a great example of what others have said so well about how expectations determine satisfaction.
Blueberry pancakes. Hashbrowns. Diner coffee -- literally. Al's lays no claim to broadening our palates, authenticating our cuisines, satisfying our in-laws, saving our environment or restoring genteel service to our tattered civilization.
If eaters touted it as something other than what it is, these boards would be filled with the same gnashing of teeth that we go through for other places that failed to live up to ... promises.
I see Al's along the same line as Mickey's. Solid breakfast, though nothing to write home about in the originality or flavor department. I agree with brlattim, it's a place to say you've been.
A caveat is that I'm not a huge go-out-to-breafast person. When I am in the mood for out-of-home breakfast, it'll be for something I can't make at home with stuff I already have in my fridge. So that means diners are usually out for me.
So while I won't say a bad word about places like Al's and Mickey's, I also can't really say a good word about them either. YMMV.
I have been a half dozen times with friends. Personally, I find it to be the type of place people go to say they have been or to see what the buzz is about rather than going to have the best breakfast the city has to offer. Its really good, but so are a lot of places.
I agree with others that sitting side by side is tough when more than 2 people and I also do not like eating, knowing the next up is literally watching me eat. Sometimes people think a line or demand means excellence...when sometimes it does not. For instance, incredibly long lines at Chipotle with all the amazing mexican options on Central and Lake.
I love the eggs benedict, hash browns, and wally blues. Everything else I've had has been ho-hum, so I pretty much order the same thing every time I go which in the past was every day I was in MSP (i only get there once a year).
However, the last time I was in MSP I only went once. I gave the server something like 15.31 for a bill of $12.31, thinking I'd leave the change as tip, but the server returned my 1cent because it was Canadian (I didn't realize it--it's not like a gave her a cdn penny intentionally, plus I got that penny somewhere in the US) and then gave me $2.99 change. I almost took all the change back and left no tip because I was so annoyed. And I didn't go back again that trip. I'm thinking she'll be gone the next time I'm in MSP, but if she's still there, I won't be eating there.
As for the change, I always give that back to the server anyway. You could have handed her 99 cents and had zero annoyance.
I don't have bad words about Al's. I haven't been there in close to a decade but it doesn't change. It's good breakfast food in a unique setting. I used to go on weekday mornings after my nightshift finished up. Rarely a line of more than one or two people. I wouldn't go there with 3 or more people. The bar seating is conducive for either conversing with one friend to your side, or making small talk with the guy inhaling the pancake next to you. Then again, I think that talking (while not eating) might be frowned upon there.