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A Handy Guide to 9 Unconventional Greasy Spoons

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When we think of greasy spoons, a good old American diner usually comes to mind. But the greasy spoon has ventured beyond the stereotypical American diner to all kinds of eateries: multicultural, vegetarian and vegan, drive-in, mobile. You name a style of food, and there's a place doing it with huge portions and lots of fried goodness. To that end, we conclude Greasy Spoons Week 2013 with this handy guide to 9 unconventional greasy spoons in the Twin Cities, mapped.


Theresa Swaney

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Victor's 1959 Cafe

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3756 Grand Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55409
(612) 827-8948
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The rustic wooden booths, scribble-filled walls, and tabletop napkins holders are just some of the reasons why this Cuban-themed greasy spoon is a long-standing South Minneapolis favorite. The plethora of fried-foods, from croquettes to sweet plantains to yuca (a potato-like vegetable), is another. Not to mention the variety of succulent pig options that are available. In particular, try the Cuban sandwich, which includes sweet ham, pork loin, sweet cheese, mustard, and pickles.

2. Modern Times Cafe

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3200 Chicago Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55407
(612) 886-3882
What at first glance appears to be your average corner diner is actually a modern, vegetarian, vegan, and carnivore-friendly spot with worldly influences from Mexico and France. Take the popular breakfast item, polenta rancheros, as an example, which comes with organic homemade polenta, black beans, eggs or tofu, ranchero sauce, poblano sour cream, and cabbage salsa. With endless cups of French-pressed coffee, a D.J. spinning tunes on the weekend, and a punk-tattooed staff, this unconventional greasy spoon is well worth a visit to South Minneapolis.

3. Maria's Cafe

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1113 E Franklin Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55404
(612) 870-9842
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This Venture Village diner serves home-cooked greasy spoon goodness that will transport you to Colombia and back in one sitting. A house favorite is Maria’s Cachapas Venezolanas or corn pancakes with Cotija cheese, but the weekend specials are really where it's at. Stop by on a Saturday morning to indulge in a of plate of sweet sautéed plantains, black beans, scrambled eggs, sausage links, and an arepa (white corn biscuit).

4. West Bank Diner

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324 Cedar Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55454
(612) 333-2211
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At the West Bank Diner, you'll find a little taste of both Somali and America. Since moving to Minneapolis in 1994, owner Ilyas Jamas has come to appreciate American breakfast cuisine, at least enough to serve it to the numerous university students in Cedar Riverside that pop in and out of his restaurant. With menu items like waffles and French toast alongside red chicken curry, the West Bank Diner is a particularly unique greasy spoon worth a visit anytime of the day.

5. Hard Times Cafe

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1821 Riverside Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55454-1034
(612) 341-9261
Sure, the food is entirely vegan and vegetarian, but that doesn’t stop this hippie-punk cafe from attaining Greasy Spoon status with its huge plates of sticky buns, biscuits and gravy, hash browns, and apple pancakes, served for 22 hours of the day (they are open from 6 a.m. to 4 a.m.).

6. Emily's Lebanese Deli

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641 University Ave NE
Minneapolis, MN 55413
(612) 379-4069
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This family-run Lebanese deli has been serving Northeast Minneapolis for the past 38 years. With menu items like lamb kabobs, meat pies, and stuffed zucchini, this unconventional greasy spoon doesn’t skimp on the spices. The stripped down decor will make you feel right at home.

7. Tot Boss

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8170 33rd Avenue South
Bloomington, MN 55425
(651) 321-TOTS
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If tater tots alone aren't greasy enough for you, than an order of bacon wrapped tater tots from the Tot Boss Food Truck is a definite must. This unconventional greasy spoon on wheels spends its time driving around the Twin Cities metro serving ten different tater tot options to tater tot-obsessed Minnesotans.

8. Dari-Ette Drive In

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1440 Minnehaha Ave E
St Paul, MN 55106
(651) 776-3470
If you have ever wanted to eat spaghetti and meatballs in your car than Dari-ette is where you should be. Opened in the 1950s, this unconventional greasy spoon merges classic American style drive-in service with hearty Italian favorites liked deep fried meatball and sausage sandwiches. And for fun, why not pick up a gallon of their homemade tomato sauce while you are there.

9. Minne's Diner

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13105 Main Street
Rogers, MN 55374
(763) 428-4176
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Minne’s Diner seems as American as their now-famous deep-fried Minneapple pie, but this diner in the Northwestern suburbs has a Greek twist. Owned by Andy Atsidakos, the menu is littered with influences from his native Greece like the gyro omelet, Greek salad, souvlaki (marinated pork tenderloin) pita sandwich, and homemade baklava.

1. Victor's 1959 Cafe

3756 Grand Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55409
The rustic wooden booths, scribble-filled walls, and tabletop napkins holders are just some of the reasons why this Cuban-themed greasy spoon is a long-standing South Minneapolis favorite. The plethora of fried-foods, from croquettes to sweet plantains to yuca (a potato-like vegetable), is another. Not to mention the variety of succulent pig options that are available. In particular, try the Cuban sandwich, which includes sweet ham, pork loin, sweet cheese, mustard, and pickles.
3756 Grand Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55409

2. Modern Times Cafe

3200 Chicago Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55407
What at first glance appears to be your average corner diner is actually a modern, vegetarian, vegan, and carnivore-friendly spot with worldly influences from Mexico and France. Take the popular breakfast item, polenta rancheros, as an example, which comes with organic homemade polenta, black beans, eggs or tofu, ranchero sauce, poblano sour cream, and cabbage salsa. With endless cups of French-pressed coffee, a D.J. spinning tunes on the weekend, and a punk-tattooed staff, this unconventional greasy spoon is well worth a visit to South Minneapolis.
3200 Chicago Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55407

3. Maria's Cafe

1113 E Franklin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55404
This Venture Village diner serves home-cooked greasy spoon goodness that will transport you to Colombia and back in one sitting. A house favorite is Maria’s Cachapas Venezolanas or corn pancakes with Cotija cheese, but the weekend specials are really where it's at. Stop by on a Saturday morning to indulge in a of plate of sweet sautéed plantains, black beans, scrambled eggs, sausage links, and an arepa (white corn biscuit).
1113 E Franklin Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55404

4. West Bank Diner

324 Cedar Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55454
At the West Bank Diner, you'll find a little taste of both Somali and America. Since moving to Minneapolis in 1994, owner Ilyas Jamas has come to appreciate American breakfast cuisine, at least enough to serve it to the numerous university students in Cedar Riverside that pop in and out of his restaurant. With menu items like waffles and French toast alongside red chicken curry, the West Bank Diner is a particularly unique greasy spoon worth a visit anytime of the day.
324 Cedar Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55454

5. Hard Times Cafe

1821 Riverside Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55454-1034
Sure, the food is entirely vegan and vegetarian, but that doesn’t stop this hippie-punk cafe from attaining Greasy Spoon status with its huge plates of sticky buns, biscuits and gravy, hash browns, and apple pancakes, served for 22 hours of the day (they are open from 6 a.m. to 4 a.m.).
1821 Riverside Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55454-1034

6. Emily's Lebanese Deli

641 University Ave NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413
This family-run Lebanese deli has been serving Northeast Minneapolis for the past 38 years. With menu items like lamb kabobs, meat pies, and stuffed zucchini, this unconventional greasy spoon doesn’t skimp on the spices. The stripped down decor will make you feel right at home.
641 University Ave NE
Minneapolis, MN 55413

7. Tot Boss

8170 33rd Avenue South, Bloomington, MN 55425
If tater tots alone aren't greasy enough for you, than an order of bacon wrapped tater tots from the Tot Boss Food Truck is a definite must. This unconventional greasy spoon on wheels spends its time driving around the Twin Cities metro serving ten different tater tot options to tater tot-obsessed Minnesotans.
8170 33rd Avenue South
Bloomington, MN 55425

8. Dari-Ette Drive In

1440 Minnehaha Ave E, St Paul, MN 55106
If you have ever wanted to eat spaghetti and meatballs in your car than Dari-ette is where you should be. Opened in the 1950s, this unconventional greasy spoon merges classic American style drive-in service with hearty Italian favorites liked deep fried meatball and sausage sandwiches. And for fun, why not pick up a gallon of their homemade tomato sauce while you are there.
1440 Minnehaha Ave E
St Paul, MN 55106

9. Minne's Diner

13105 Main Street, Rogers, MN 55374
Minne’s Diner seems as American as their now-famous deep-fried Minneapple pie, but this diner in the Northwestern suburbs has a Greek twist. Owned by Andy Atsidakos, the menu is littered with influences from his native Greece like the gyro omelet, Greek salad, souvlaki (marinated pork tenderloin) pita sandwich, and homemade baklava.
13105 Main Street
Rogers, MN 55374

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