30 best breakfasts in the Twin Cities
Editor's Note: We have painstakingly researched breakfast across the Twin Cities one bite at a time for the past few months and have compiled our findings here for you.
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 the Twin Cities. (Note: We selected only places that serve daily breakfast. Weekend brunch is another list entirely.)
You'll find nothing but breakfast basics at Milda's in the Near North area of Minneapolis. But everything is done with the pancake-flipping confidence of a place that's been around for decades. Grits are creamy, French toast is lacy at the edges and custardy in the center, and Kielbasa is one of the side sausage options, which really should be available at more restaurants. You might walk in thinking you're the first to discover Milda's, but regulars keep lining up for the affordable prices, enormous, fluffy-soft caramel and iced cinnamon rolls, and general lack of pretense. If you don't fill up on eggs and hash browns at breakfast, come back at dinner for simple, well-seasoned broasted chicken and Milda's famous Iron Range-style pasties. 1720 Glenwood Ave. N.
Is Al's still worth the wait and the cramped conditions? Devotees will tell you it's all part of the charm. There are times when the environment is a hindrance, but we do tend to agree that when you're hankering for an Al's pancake (get the blueberry or blackberry ones when they're available), there is truly no substitute. To maximize your chances of having an ideal Al's experience, come early on a weekday, with an empty bladder (no bathroom), cash in hand, and know what you're going to order as soon as a seat frees up. If it sounds like a lot of work, just repeat this mantra to yourself: bacon waffle bacon waffle bacon waffle bacon waffle.... 413 14th Ave. SE
Going out for breakfast with a mixed bag of dietary needs? Make a beeline for Modern Times Cafe in Powderhorn. This grungy but great breakfast and lunch spot accommodates the needs of carnivores, omnivores, locavores, and the gluten-averse with a whole host of delicious dishes like the Mexican migas with textured vegetable protein chorizo and poblano sour cream; an earthy hash of roasted beets, goat cheese, eggs, and bacon called the Beet Up; and a couple of hearty, savory fried brown rice bowls loaded with veggies, eggs, herbs, and all kinds of satisfying textures. Lest you think this is only a place for the virtuous to dine, there is the Croque John Paul, essentially a Frankenstein's monster of eggs Benedict and a Croque Monsieur sandwich. 3200 Chicago Ave. S.
E. Katie Holm Mango pancakes at Victor's
We've said it before and we'll probably say it again: God bless Victor's for making the concept of breakfast happy hour socially acceptable. If you can snag a spot outside on the lovely patio and manage to decide between the mango pancakes or the weird-sounding but totally delicious Cuban hash with olives, raisins, capers, and sweet plantains, you'll be feeling about as tropical as one can in the middle of Minneapolis. On the more Gringo side of the menu, the pressed breakfast sandwich and wild rice porridge are also top-notch. 3756 Grand Ave. S.
Benjamin Carter Grimes Braised Beef hash from The Mill NE
6. The Mill NE
Looking for more than the same old standards at breakfast? The Mill NE's daily brunch will not disappoint. Their wild rice pancakes and "biscones," a buttery, crumbly biscuit and scone hybrid that is incredible with their peppery mushroom gravy, both have a well-deserved cult following. But on a recent visit we discovered the shirred egg bake, made with cubes of perfumey caraway and mild, melty halloumi cheese on top. If you plan to hang out awhile, consider getting the BYO Bubbly — a sort of mini bottle service featuring cava and a bunch of fresh fruit purees, juices, and a glass of creme de cassis. 1851 Central Ave. NE