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Introducing the Twin Cities' 14 Most Iconic Diners

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To kick off Greasy Spoons Week with a bacon-filled bang, we present the Twin Cities' 14 most iconic diners, complete with suggestions for what to order at each. These 14 places all offer huge portions, low prices, fluffy pancakes, crispy hashbrowns, and bottomless cups of coffee. Extra points were given for Formica tables, counter seating, and vintage decor. Most of these spots have been around for several decades, if not since the early part of the 20th century. One has had a cameo in a series of underdog-hockey movies. Many are only open for breakfast and lunch, though there are some late-night (and even 24-hour) eats, as well.

Did we miss one of your favorites? Include a diner that deeply offends you? Make your case for or against in the comments.


· All Coverage of Greasy Spoons Week 2013 [Eater MPLS]

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Al's Breakfast

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413 14th Ave SE
Minneapolis, MN 55414
(612) 331-9991
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This Dinkytown diner is supposedly the narrowest restaurant in Minneapolis, with a width of just 10 feet. It's been serving up big breakfasts in that small space since 1950. It's open from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sundays. Order: Any kind of pancakes, but especially the blueberry.

2. Tony's Diner

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1327 4th St SE
Minneapolis, MN 55414
(612) 378-4730
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Tony's Diner offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and two-for-one pints of Summit and Miller Lite all day (no wonder it's so popular with the college students of Dinkytown). Order: the mac n cheese wedges or the cheese curds (or both).

3. Keys Bar & Grill (at the Foshay)

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114 S 9th St
Minneapolis, MN 55402
(612) 339-6399
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This downtown diner is known for its two hour weekend waits and its homemade baked goods (including cinnamon rolls, English muffins, and homemade bread for the toast). Order: the No. 2 with roast beef hash, and substitute the homemade toast for the default 12-grain.

4. Band Box Diner

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729 S 10th St
Minneapolis, MN 55404
(612) 332-0850
The oldest operating diner in the state of Minnesota, the Band Box was built in the 1930s. There were once 15 Band Boxes in the Twin Cities, but now the practically hidden downtown/Elliot Park location is the last standing. Order: one of the famous burgers.

5. The Bad Waitress Diner & Coffee Shop

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2 E 26th St
Minneapolis, MN 55404
(612) 872-7575
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This Whittier spot is not a classic greasy spoon - nowhere with vegan options can be - but it is an Eat Street icon. Serving breakfast all day and happy hour specials in the evening, the Bad Waitress also emphasizes local and organic ingredients and sustainability in all aspects of the business. Order: the vegan vanilla milkshake (even if you're not vegan).

6. Uptown Diner

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2548 Hennepin Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55405
(612) 874-0481
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This Uptown staple boasts that it's the only 24-hour option in Uptown, and that's true three days a week (Thursday, Friday, and Saturday). Order: the Country Fried Steak and Eggs.

7. The Egg And I

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2828 Lyndale Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55408
(612) 872-7282
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This Uptown diner has been serving breakfast and lunch for more than 20 years. What else should you order at the Egg and I but a three-egg omelette? Order: the Everything Omelette (vegetables, bacon, ham, and cheddar cheese). The Skillet Breakfasts and Kamikaze Cakes (pancakes filled with blueberries, bananas, and nuts) are also winners.

8. Our Kitchen

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813 W 36th St
Minneapolis, MN 55408
(612) 825-3718
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This South Minneapolis gem has been in business since 1941, serving breakfast and lunch seven days a week. Order: the Kitchen Special, with pancakes instead of toast.

9. Hot Plate

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5204 Bloomington Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55417
(612) 824-4794
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This Nokomis diner is known for being filled to bursting with knick-knacks and kitsch, as well as its paint-by-numbers walls. It's also known for killer breakfasts and monthly games of "Dingo" (diner bingo, we assume). Order: the Grand Marais Scramble (scrambled eggs with cream cheese and lake trout served with grilled asparagus, fried potatoes, and toast).

10. Original Pancake House Edina

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3501 W 70th St
Edina, MN 55435
(952) 920-4444
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Don't mistake Edina's Original Pancake House with that other pancake house. This one was established in 1953, and is known for its four-egg omelets and, of course, the pancakes. Order: the bacon pancakes (bacon inside buttermilk pancakes) or the potato pancakes.

11. Bonnie's Cafe

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2160 University Ave W
St Paul, MN 55114
(651) 644-3393
Founder Bonnie Roell passed away earlier this year after almost 40 years of running Bonnie's Café. But the beloved St. Paul breakfast spot chugs in. Order: the McBonnie (English muffins, eggs, and ham, covered in gravy and cheese).

12. Copper Dome Restaurant

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1333 Randolph Ave
St. Paul, MN 55105
(651) 690-0993
Established in 1960, the Copper Dome is known for its vast array of pancakes. Order: pancakes, any kind.

13. The Uptowner Cafe on Grand

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1100 Grand Ave
Saint Paul, MN 55105
(651) 224-0406
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This Grand Ave institution is beloved for its breakfasts and also for its late-night hours Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights (open until 3 a.m. on Thursday night and 4 a.m. Friday and Saturday). Order: the Cajun Breakfast (hashbrowns with peppers and onions topped with cheese and over-easy eggs, Hollandaise, and Cajun seasoning).

14. Mickey's Diner

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36 7th St W
Saint Paul, MN 55102
(651) 698-0259
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This St. Paul landmark has been operating 7 days a week, 365 days a year for nearly 70 years. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983 and also made a cameo in all three Mighty Ducks movies. Order: America's Favorite All-Day Meal (eggs fried in butter, hashbrowns, buttered toast and jelly, and your choice of meat) with the strip steak or the pork chop, if you're feeling bold. Pro tip: Upgrade the hashbrowns to O'Brians.

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1. Al's Breakfast

413 14th Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414
This Dinkytown diner is supposedly the narrowest restaurant in Minneapolis, with a width of just 10 feet. It's been serving up big breakfasts in that small space since 1950. It's open from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sundays. Order: Any kind of pancakes, but especially the blueberry.
413 14th Ave SE
Minneapolis, MN 55414

2. Tony's Diner

1327 4th St SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414
Tony's Diner offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and two-for-one pints of Summit and Miller Lite all day (no wonder it's so popular with the college students of Dinkytown). Order: the mac n cheese wedges or the cheese curds (or both).
1327 4th St SE
Minneapolis, MN 55414

3. Keys Bar & Grill (at the Foshay)

114 S 9th St, Minneapolis, MN 55402
This downtown diner is known for its two hour weekend waits and its homemade baked goods (including cinnamon rolls, English muffins, and homemade bread for the toast). Order: the No. 2 with roast beef hash, and substitute the homemade toast for the default 12-grain.
114 S 9th St
Minneapolis, MN 55402

4. Band Box Diner

729 S 10th St, Minneapolis, MN 55404
The oldest operating diner in the state of Minnesota, the Band Box was built in the 1930s. There were once 15 Band Boxes in the Twin Cities, but now the practically hidden downtown/Elliot Park location is the last standing. Order: one of the famous burgers.
729 S 10th St
Minneapolis, MN 55404

5. The Bad Waitress Diner & Coffee Shop

2 E 26th St, Minneapolis, MN 55404
This Whittier spot is not a classic greasy spoon - nowhere with vegan options can be - but it is an Eat Street icon. Serving breakfast all day and happy hour specials in the evening, the Bad Waitress also emphasizes local and organic ingredients and sustainability in all aspects of the business. Order: the vegan vanilla milkshake (even if you're not vegan).
2 E 26th St
Minneapolis, MN 55404

6. Uptown Diner

2548 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55405
This Uptown staple boasts that it's the only 24-hour option in Uptown, and that's true three days a week (Thursday, Friday, and Saturday). Order: the Country Fried Steak and Eggs.
2548 Hennepin Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55405

7. The Egg And I

2828 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55408
This Uptown diner has been serving breakfast and lunch for more than 20 years. What else should you order at the Egg and I but a three-egg omelette? Order: the Everything Omelette (vegetables, bacon, ham, and cheddar cheese). The Skillet Breakfasts and Kamikaze Cakes (pancakes filled with blueberries, bananas, and nuts) are also winners.
2828 Lyndale Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55408

8. Our Kitchen

813 W 36th St, Minneapolis, MN 55408
This South Minneapolis gem has been in business since 1941, serving breakfast and lunch seven days a week. Order: the Kitchen Special, with pancakes instead of toast.
813 W 36th St
Minneapolis, MN 55408

9. Hot Plate

5204 Bloomington Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55417
This Nokomis diner is known for being filled to bursting with knick-knacks and kitsch, as well as its paint-by-numbers walls. It's also known for killer breakfasts and monthly games of "Dingo" (diner bingo, we assume). Order: the Grand Marais Scramble (scrambled eggs with cream cheese and lake trout served with grilled asparagus, fried potatoes, and toast).
5204 Bloomington Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55417

10. Original Pancake House Edina

3501 W 70th St, Edina, MN 55435
Don't mistake Edina's Original Pancake House with that other pancake house. This one was established in 1953, and is known for its four-egg omelets and, of course, the pancakes. Order: the bacon pancakes (bacon inside buttermilk pancakes) or the potato pancakes.
3501 W 70th St
Edina, MN 55435

11. Bonnie's Cafe

2160 University Ave W, St Paul, MN 55114
Founder Bonnie Roell passed away earlier this year after almost 40 years of running Bonnie's Café. But the beloved St. Paul breakfast spot chugs in. Order: the McBonnie (English muffins, eggs, and ham, covered in gravy and cheese).
2160 University Ave W
St Paul, MN 55114

12. Copper Dome Restaurant

1333 Randolph Ave, St. Paul, MN 55105
Established in 1960, the Copper Dome is known for its vast array of pancakes. Order: pancakes, any kind.
1333 Randolph Ave
St. Paul, MN 55105

13. The Uptowner Cafe on Grand

1100 Grand Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55105
This Grand Ave institution is beloved for its breakfasts and also for its late-night hours Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights (open until 3 a.m. on Thursday night and 4 a.m. Friday and Saturday). Order: the Cajun Breakfast (hashbrowns with peppers and onions topped with cheese and over-easy eggs, Hollandaise, and Cajun seasoning).
1100 Grand Ave
Saint Paul, MN 55105

14. Mickey's Diner

36 7th St W, Saint Paul, MN 55102
This St. Paul landmark has been operating 7 days a week, 365 days a year for nearly 70 years. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983 and also made a cameo in all three Mighty Ducks movies. Order: America's Favorite All-Day Meal (eggs fried in butter, hashbrowns, buttered toast and jelly, and your choice of meat) with the strip steak or the pork chop, if you're feeling bold. Pro tip: Upgrade the hashbrowns to O'Brians.
36 7th St W
Saint Paul, MN 55102

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