Breakfast. Most days it's just cereal, a piece of fruit, or one of those sad grab-and-go muffins at the gas station, but when you get up early enough or make plans to meet friends, breakfast becomes an event. Instead of chancing your poached eggs on an amateur, wasting calories on anything less than the best baked goods, or getting fancy when you really want no-frills (or vice versa), consult this, our handy guide to the best breakfasts in St. Paul.
Yes, Copper Dome uses canned fruit, fake maple syrup, and from-concentrate juice, but the place is a total institution. The exhaustive breakfast menu features more than a dozen omelets, crepes, waffles, and lacy potato pancakes that have no equal. Don't expect anything fancy (there are Lil' Smokies on the menu, people), come with cash, and think of this as the one place where both small children and aged grandparents will be free of complaints.
It's such a pleasant surprise to find out that a restaurant you love and frequent for lunch or dinner also does daily breakfast. At Shish on Grand Avenue, they take every imaginable combination of eggs, feta, spinach, spicy sausage, and pita bread and make unique, flavor-packed morning meals. Shish's chewy-crisp lamb bacon is worth the trip alone, but we love the affordable Benedicts and the hearty Jerusalem breakfast -- a this-and-that platter with spiced ground beef, hummus, olives, falafel, and veggies.
A staple of the Payne-Phalen community for decades, Magnolias is a no-frills family-friendly eatery with nary a sherry reduction or micro green in sight. Instead you'll find diner-ready dishes like corned beef hash, steak and eggs, and crispy, buttery French toast all served by ladies who all look vaguely familiar, like maybe they were extras in a John Waters movie. The textbook biscuits and gravy are available by the half order as a side, which is as much as any one sane person can eat. In short, Magnolias has all the scrappy charm of an underdog baseball team. The portions are big, the food is scratch-made, and clip art is everywhere.
|Benjamin Carter Grimes|
|Chai cinnamon roll at Groundswell|
Every neighborhood should be so lucky as to have a place like Groundswell anchoring it. It's homey yet hip. Quick enough for an early AM coffee and gluten-free muffin stop, but comfortable enough that you'll want to linger when you have the time. During the week the breakfast menu is limited, but every item is a winner. We particularly love the perfectly in-between texture and tang of the cornmeal buttermilk waffle and the fact that you can get the two-egg breakfast sandwich with Groundswell's south-by-Midwest version of pimento cheese. Coffee and espresso drinks are top-notch, and unlike some other establishments in St. Paul, no one scoffs if you ask for your latte with almond milk.