Top 10 breakfasts in the Twin Cities

Categories: Top 10

Hell's Kitchen: Damn good breakfast food
​Breakfast is such a vulnerable meal. Torn from the comforts of bed, pushed out into the cold world with a gurgling stomach and drooping eyelids, a person needs food and comfort. Nothing is worse than exposing a soft, hungry underbelly only to be served torpid, beige hash browns, eggs poached into golf balls, or worse, surly service. An early meal can render an entire day sulky and gray or sunny and optimistic. To save you the agony of an awkward start, we've compiled a list of the best places to start any day.

10. Hell's Kitchen
Hell's Kitchen is not the place to go when you wake up on a Sunday morning and feel like, well, hell. With a tongue numbed by an evening of cigarettes and a head clouded with the after-effects of too much booze, one can't properly appreciate a breakfast menu that is a far cry from greasy hangover fare. Take the Mahnomin porridge, for example. Homegrown Minnesota wild rice layered with hazelnuts, cranberries, and blueberries and doused in a mixture of maple syrup and cream. Then there are the epic quarter-pound pecan-caramel rolls swimming in a rich glaze. The odd-ball bison sausage bread, so studded with nuts and sweet bits that it's hard to understand how it came into being, is tasty enough to induce late-night, sweaty cravings. Even something so simple as the special peanut butter shows why this daytime institution continues to be a favorite downtown Minneapolis destination. (80 S. Ninth St., Minneapolis; 612.332.4700)

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A boho beauty
9. Barbette
While Barbette has had its share of chefs over the years, each adding a note of their own flavors to the mix, the basics remain solid: Trusty, comforting foods with a hint of French flair. The eggs Benedict are gently poached and arrive atop salty slices of Fischer Farms ham on delicate toasts, drizzled with a bright, buttery-rich hollandaise. Daily quiche specials appeal to both omnivores and vegetarians, packed either with seasonal veggies or hunks of meat, mixed with cheese and a healthy amount of cream, and served in a flaky crust. Yet a meal needn't be laden with butter and cream. Balance the decadent with the saintly: Mixed greens are served with most dishes. Perfectly dressed with just a tart touch of vinegar, a whisper of shallot, and a conservative bit of oil, each leaf is crunchy and refreshing. And you can't miss the skinny, crisp, award-winning fries served with a little tin of saffron aioli. Waffles are a sizable Belgian affair, thankfully topped with real maple syrup. Better still is the brilliant lemon curd, just barely sweet and pucker-up tart, dappled with berries. The staff is laid back and eclectic, full of Uptown eccentricities. Many of the employees have been at this neighborhood café for years. They honestly do care that you have a great start to your day. (1600 W. Lake St., Minneapolis; 612.827.5710)

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The best of both biscuits and scones, all under a blanket of gravy
​8. Mill City Cafe
​Sporting one of the best patios for early-in-the-day dining, Mill City Cafe is a destination even for those far from its Northeast neighborhood.  Area residents can pop in for a cup of strongly brewed coffee or linger over mimosas (served by both the glass and the pitcher.)  Dish highlights include the decadent biscones (that's what you get when a mommy scone and a daddy biscuit love each other very much) served under a wonderfully salty mushroom or sausage gravy and eggs any way.  Quiche arrives densely custardy and stuffed with seasonal ingredients.  The bacon is perfectly chewy-crisp with a hint of sweetness.  The room is a corner in a converted warehouse, with that cozy blend of brick and wood and walls dotted with local art.  Outside, the patio is tucked behind trellises covered with creeping vines, giving it a Secret Garden sort of mystique.  A beautiful place to run away with a special friend to linger through the day. (2205 California St. NE, Minneapolis; 612.788.6188)

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Ethereal yogurt with homemade granola
​7. Wise Acre Eatery
A garden store that opens up a restaurant? That sounds like an odd evolution, but anyone familiar with Tangletown Gardens knows that its approach to landscaping reaches far beyond the average mulch. With the addition of Wise Acres Eatery across the street, the farm-to-table food movement found itself an elegant coffee shop setting, full of delicious bakery options. A simple breakfast of the house-made granola, mixed with thick, creamy yogurt and sprinkled with fresh fruit, is a deceptively simple, deliciously elegant offering.  The sticky, sweet buns are sure to please any sweet tooth. The eggs served your way have obviously been very recently collected from happy chickens, their orange-hued yolks standing up tall and proud.  As the sun creeps across the bright, open room, casting shadows on the floral arrangements, friends can linger, sip, and savor the fleeting, golden morning. (5401 Nicollet Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.354.2577)

6. The Lowry--Uptown

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Shirred eggs with truffle cream and charred toast
The Blue Plate Company has been in the business of breakfast since its inception. The Highland Grill was its original neighborhood joint with the mismatched coffee cups, mammoth waffles, and hip/retro interior, and it continues to have lines that wrap around the block on weekends.  As good as the others are, though, we think Blue Plate has finally nailed it with the Lowry, its latest restaurant in the heart of Uptown.  It has sunny windows, a chic wood interior, and a menu full of satisfying, comforting meals, all sporting a little chefy-chef finish.  One of the best dishes, confoundingly enough, is the Continental breakfast: lush yogurt with bright, light fruit served with a side of Bare Honey (a contender for best-tasting local honey).  The shirred eggs are mushy, gushy, and opulent with truffle cream.  For a more robust dish, the chilaquiles are a spicy affair, full of chorizo and black beans and served with hash browns--impossible to walk away from without a little waddle in your step.  The mile-high waffles and funky vibe are here too, just done with that specifically Uptown flair. (2112 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612.341.2112)

Location Info

Sun Street Breads

4600 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis, MN

Category: Restaurant

Colossal Cafe

1839 E. 42nd St., Minneapolis, MN

Category: Restaurant

Victory 44

2203 44th Ave. N., Minneapolis, MN

Category: Restaurant

Lucia's Restaurant and Wine Bar

1432 W. 31st St., Minneapolis, MN

Category: Restaurant

Hazel's Northeast

2859 Johnson St. NE, Minneapolis, MN

Category: Restaurant

The Lowry

2112 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis, MN

Category: Restaurant

Wise Acre Eatery

5401 Nicollet Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN

Category: Restaurant

Mill City Cafe - CLOSED

2205 California St. NE, Minneapolis, MN

Category: Restaurant


1600 W. Lake St., Minneapolis, MN

Category: Music

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