Top 10 breakfasts in the Twin Cities

Categories: Top 10

Hazels Ext (187x200).jpg
Food with a little grandma-style love
5. Hazel's Northeast
The restaurant is a sweet little spot on a quiet corner in Northeast Minneapolis, run by a family who has been in the business for nearly 50 years. The dishes are a hearty mix of sweet and savory; wholly satisfying. The drunken banana French toast is a perfect example of too much is never enough.  Toasty cinnamon-swirled, custard-soaked bread is stuffed with bananas, spiked with rum-soaked raisins and drizzled with burned, buttery, sweet caramel sauce.  Even a simple eggs-and-bacon affair is perfectly cooked and wholly comforting. The black currant iced tea is a refreshing accompaniment to a sunny day, and like the bottomless cup of coffee, it's a glass you'll never find empty. All the dishes are served and watched over by a staff that genuinely cares about each dish and every diner. (2859 Johnson St. NE, Minneapolis; 612.788.4778)

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Kara Buckner
Inside Lucia's To Go
4. Lucia's to Go
All too often, breakfast comes down to a simple either/or prospect: Either do it up and spend a lot for an expensive brunch, or eat a mess of eggs and potatoes in a skillet. Both have their time and place, but it's nice to be able to break out of the box. At the simultaneously affordable and high-class Lucia's to Go, there is no compromise. Its croissants (chocolate, almond, and traditional) are flaky, buttery, many-layered things. The plain variety will complement any other breakfast choice, and the sweet ones are a light breakfast unto themselves when accompanied by a cup of coffee or Grand Keemun tea. Lightly iced and nutty Budapest and baby Budapest buns are a stylishly restrained twist on the usual fatty frosting-bomb that is the traditional American cinnamon roll. And the crepes...oh, Lord. They range from $4 to $5 and are either sweet (Nutella, berry butter, fresh preserves) or savory (onions, ham and cheese, or greens). But both species are light, bursting with flavor, and as elegant as George Clooney in a tux. While the space can get a bit crowded, even a quick morning visit yields a great early morning meal, even if it has to be taken to go. (1432 W. 31st St., Minneapolis; 612.825.1572)

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Exceptional coffee pairs so well with pop tarts (or bacon toffee)
3. Victory 44 Coffee Bar
There's no shame in loving a pop tart, but a stale, square shadow of a pastry packed with sugar colored to look like it once came from a fruit might not live up to the childhood nostalgia.  Don't worry, Victory 44 Coffee Bar has you covered.  Its pastry chef has crafted a sugary delight that appears to be just an average, sprinkle-festooned Pop Tart, but the reality is a sweetie of a breakfast treat--not too sugary, a butter cookie crumb crust wrapped around actual fruit filling featuring such flavors as pomegranate and berries.  Too sweet? What about a slab of toffee topped with dark chocolate and bacon?  Want a little more? Dig into the eggs Benedict--ethereal, thick slices of crusty bread beneath a layer of perfectly salty, porky ham topped with a globe of egg, dressed in a lemony bright, butter-redolent sauce.  All of this, and it's only the weekday menu! The weekend brunch is full of even more rich, chef-style creations. Served with the sort of coffee that requires a few minutes of brewing, from Dogwood beans, it's a breakfast to satiate every appetite, from youngsters to insufferable food snobs--a seeming impossible feat accomplished with aplomb. (2203 44th Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.588.2228)

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The yeasty flappers--bigger than your head
2. Colossal Cafe
There are benefits to voluntarily entering a restaurant that, kitchen space and all, roughly approximates the size of your bedroom. First, you can be openly nosy without ever appearing ​so. No amount of eye contact with the hot dude at the next table will be awkward. Where else are you supposed to look? Plus, hello, eavesdropping! All everyone is talking about is the food. But that's okay, because once you've tasted Colossal Café's fare, it's all you'll be talking about, too. You'd think a place that has so much skill to flaunt would put something basic like pancakes on autopilot, to focus on, say, its delicate, to-die-for pastries, but no. Colossal Café's pancakes are so special they have their own flappers. Puffy, sweet, and thick, they have an extra savory-side funk from the yeast, and a pretty dusting of powdered sugar on top. They don't even need syrup, though we can't say we fully endorse going without--the real maple syrup they provide is so full of dark caramel, northern Minnesota forest flavors that it's worth it's weight in gold. And, if you find it hard to find a seat in the claustrophobia inducing original, just take yourself across the river and check their spacious new digs, with all the old hits, in St. Paul. (1839 E. 42nd St. Minneapolis; 612.729.2377. 2315 Como Ave. St Paul; 651.797.4027)

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Impossible to leave without a smile on your face
1. Sun Street Breads
Stepping inside Sun Street Breads on a bright and cheerful morning has an Oz meets Wonka sort of irresistible cheer:  the bright mural, tempting pastries, and the exquisite list of menu items.  The problem with meals at this popular neighborhood bakery is deciding what to order.  Do you go with the tender buttermilk biscuits and gravy? But what about the sourdough tangy pancakes? There are the Downtowner rolls to be considered, too--all chock full of cinnamon and just the right dose of sugar.  Also, we're not above ordering cookies for breakfast, and that Crusher, packed with salty pretzels chips balanced with toasty, sweet brown sugar is great any time of day. Add in a cup of Dogwood coffee and all is right with the world.  It's just about impossible to harbor a bad mood when starting out your day inside this sweet little neighborhood spot. (4600 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis; 612.354.3414)


Previous coverage:

Top 10 dive bars in the Twin Cities

Top 10 late-night restaurants in the Twin Cities

Top 10 romantic restaurants in the Twin Cities

Top 10 bloody Marys in the Twin Cities

Top 10 margaritas in the Twin Cities

Top 10 macaroni & cheese dishes in the Twin Cities

Top 10 burgers in the Twin Cities

Top 10 sushi restaurants in the Twin Cities

Top 10 ice cream shops in the Twin Cities

Top 10 coffeehouses in the Twin Cities

Top 10 martinis in the Twin Cities

Top 5 gay bars in the Twin Cities

Top 10 hot dogs in the Twin Cities

Top 10 pizzerias in the Twin Cities

Top 5 brewpubs in the Twin Cities


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Location Info

Venue

Map

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

Barbette

1600 W. Lake St., Minneapolis, MN

Category: Music

Hell's Kitchen

80 S. 9th St., Minneapolis, MN

Category: Restaurant

My Voice Nation Help
124 comments
David Bruning
David Bruning

Al Vento, full German style buffet with cured meats and various cheeses and unlimited real mimosa or bloodies for $20 a person... beat that! Oh your the sort who pays $10 per drink, Uffda!

Robin Scholer
Robin Scholer

So I guess we're scooping City Pages on the Best of '14. Chart House brunch in Lakeville. Huge shrimp, mussels and raw oysters on the salad bar.

Janet Coil
Janet Coil

Breakfast at The Lowery is the best for me.

Michelle Hill
Michelle Hill

What a misleading headline. Isn't Saint Paul half of the Twin Cities? I am tempted to stop bothering with Cities Pages because Saint Paul is ignored too often. Try Shish, Keys Café, Ward 6, Trotters, Swede Hollow, Louisiana Café, and a few others and write one for your other half.

Dan Smith
Dan Smith

I've eaten at half of these and I gotta say Eli's East and Blackbird should be on the list in front of a few of them.

Jen Smith
Jen Smith

The Good Day Cafe in Golden Valley and Jensen's Cafe in Burnsville definitely deserve a spot on this list!

Kim Hanson Ruedy
Kim Hanson Ruedy

Missed RJ riches in moundsview And Capitol View Cafe in St paul

Carol Berg
Carol Berg

You missed the Chanhassen American Legion!!!

Mark Gorzycki
Mark Gorzycki

RJ riches in Mounds View has the greatest 'big ass' pancakes in the world!!

Tom Aaker
Tom Aaker

Defiantly missed Maggie's Restaurant Wayzata That place is da bomb for breakfast and Zaa!

Matthew Hegge
Matthew Hegge

Editorial Fail! This is what happens when you have no staff.

Melinda Roller
Melinda Roller

Spring street travern is by far the best place for breakfast just sayin

Jonathon Michael Ziemer
Jonathon Michael Ziemer

Any top breakfast list that doesn't included Al's Breakfast is bad, and you should feel bad.

Weston Holland
Weston Holland

False. Modern Times has THE best breakfast ever.

Steven Tentis
Steven Tentis

Why is this list consistently being published and marketed by city pages when it was written in 2012....the entire landscape on cuisine,especially when it comes to breakfast and brunch in this town has dramatically improved since then. Please update...

Andy Yee
Andy Yee

Shalee, what would you add to that list? I know I would add The Good Day Cafe in Golden Valley.

JimmyJam
JimmyJam

No Victor's? This list is not valid.

Jean White
Jean White

Breakfast is my favorite meal. I eat it at lunch and supper too.

Theron Horn
Theron Horn

I think Cynthia & I should meet you two at all 10. Actual we've been to Victory 44, awesome.

Milo J. David
Milo J. David

You forgot one of the best ever. Al's Breakfast

Christian Abrahamson
Christian Abrahamson

Hell's Kitchen is very overrated. The first and last time we went there the manager gave us a discount because the guacamole was brown. Also, why no love for st.paul?

Ann Danger
Ann Danger

Jensen's Cafe in Burnsville is my favorite.

Sue Kennedy
Sue Kennedy

You mean top 9 in Mpls with 1 St. Paul spot thrown in for good measure.

Ashlee Marie
Ashlee Marie

and which serve alcohol with their breakfasts? For us graveyard shifts.....

Heather Guse
Heather Guse

As another commented, Mill City is now the Mill Northeast on Central

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