Eggs, pastries, savory meats, coffee, fresh juices — what’s not to like about brunch? If you’re in the Twin Cities, you’re in for a treat. The city does brunch in a big way, with lots of options to suit any mood — casual and quirky to white cloth fine dining — your choice. Here are three favorites to check out when you’re hankering for some brunch-time food in Minneapolis.
Located downtown, Hell’s Kitchen has a motto of “damn good food plus breakfast all day.” It claims to be unique but not fancy, and homemade goodness is the priority over processed badness. That explains the in-house peanut butter. Try it and see for yourself!
Head downstairs to the underground lair to find 247 hot sauces, bacon, shrimp, peppers, olives, cheeses, and gourmet salt rims to go with your tomato juice. Five juice choices are available, plus add-ins like a dozen house-made syrups, dried fruits, and candies. Sweet!
Hell’s Kitchen serves breakfast all day, but the special brunch offerings are just on weekends, so don’t sleep in too late! If you missed the live music the night before, you can catch it during brunch. The menu includes specials, but the regular options are enough to get your mouth watering. Try the walleye hash sautéed with celery, potatoes, and onions, topped with two eggs, and smothered in wild mushroom cream sauce. On the sweeter side, the lemon ricotta hotcakes and Mahnomin wild rice porridge are both yummy.
One thing that makes Al’s Breakfast unique is the size. The interior is no more than 10 feet wide, but it still manages to take care of crowds of hungry diners every morning. Located in the Dinkytown neighborhood near the University of Minnesota, Al’s has a grand total of 14 counter seats. Be prepared to move over if newcomers want to sit together.
Go early if you don’t want to wait an hour or more in line, and take cash to pay for your meal. (Many of the regulars have pre-paid meal accounts.) If you feel like someone is breathing down your back, you’re probably right. Those who make it inside wait in line behind the counter seats for an open spot. It’s not a great spot for groups or to linger over coffee, but the food is beyond amazing. The crowds of people willing to wait are proof of that.
As for Al’s specialties, the blueberry walnut pancakes are a fave along with the bacon waffles and the Jose, a plate with hash browns, salsa, cheddar cheese, and poached eggs. As a bonus, you get to watch the cook performing his magic in front of you in an open kitchen.
Jax is pretty much the polar opposite of Al’s. For a single price, the Sunday buffet brunch comes with hot and cold selections, like salads, antipasti, egg dishes — including an omelet station — waffles, French toast, poached salmon, carved meats, and an entrée of the day. Sunny outside? Grab an outdoor garden seat with a koi pond view. Inside, the wood paneled rooms ooze elegance with a country club feel. It’s a white linen joint that’s perfect for impressing guests.
The restaurant has some deep roots. The café opened in northeast Minneapolis when prohibition ended in 1933. It’s a full-time establishment, with steak, seafood, and plenty of other choices available for both lunch and dinner.
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