Food & Drink

The Best Brunch Spots in 22 Twin Cities Neighborhoods

What’s better than sleeping in without an alarm, rolling out of bed, and meeting up with your crew for weekend brunch? We can’t think of much. Whether you prefer sweet (waffles piled with whip) or savory (ever had an arepa?) there are so many choices around town it can be hard to settle on a spot. But, it would be a shame to waste a Sunday on a subpar brunch, so check out the list below to ensure your pick is a crowd-pleaser, no matter what city neighborhood you’re in.

Armatage

Book Club
Cozy, book-themed American classics
Perusing Book Club’s brunch menu counts as reading, right? As you sit down, you’ll find it’s creatively divided into sections like “prologue,” “in the margins,” and “epilogue.” Standouts include a vanilla bean French toast, veggie-packed farro bowl, brie and heirloom tomato omelet, and chocolate chip pancakes. Take a moment to scour the vintage cookbooks around the room, or if you come solo, bring along a book of your own and feel totally in your element.

Audubon Park

Hazel’s
Literally serving Grandma’s comfort-food
Named after the current owner’s grandmother, Hazel’s is a charming, no-fuss kitchen with big portions and old-fashioned service. Classic comfort food like hash, omelettes, and egg sandwiches top the menu, along with the can’t-miss pecan roll or drunken banana French toast with rum-soaked raisins, pecans, and homemade caramel sauce. Your own grandma would certainly approve.

Como & Merriam Park

Black: Coffee and Waffle Bar
All waffles, all the time
A longtime Como staple near the University of Minnesota, Black Coffee and Waffle quietly opened a second location off Marshall Avenue in 2016 and it’s been drawing UST and Macalester students ever since. If it’s coffee and carb-loading you’re looking for, they deliver with local Dogwood Coffee and malty waffles with your choice of toppings -- baked apples, berries, granola, and chocolate chips. Don’t leave without trying the Fat Andrew: a waffle with peanut butter, cinnamon, and bananas. 

Dinkytown

Al's Breakfast
Fight college kids for a counter spot
Founded in 1950 by Al Bergstrom near the University of Minnesota, this super-small retro diner (the space is just ten feet wide) has room for exactly 14 patrons, so be prepared to wait in line -- mostly with students. Serving made-from-scratch breakfast fare like scrambles, omelets, and waffles, you won’t find anything fancy (or brunch booze) here. Al’s also doesn’t accept credit cards, so make sure you hit the ATM on the way.

The Lexington
Brandi Ashman

Grand Avenue/Summit

The Lex
St. Paul landmark is still legendary
The Lexington (“Lex,” for those in the know) has been a St. Paul icon since just after the end of Prohibition, but a 2017 renovation really put it back on the map and it’s better than ever. Whether it’s your first visit or you’ve been coming for (literally) ages, you’ll find a decadent, classic brunch and a kind of hospitality that harkens back to a simpler time. The Lex has evolved for the 21st century, but there’s still a lot of tradition, too -- like the Swedish pancakes with apple butter and a big post-church crowd on Sundays.

Kingfield

Victor's 1959 Cafe
Funky, tropical Cuban flavors
Victor’s began as a small neighborhood breakfast spot in the late ’90s, owned by a couple serving Cuban-inspired dishes. It remained little-known until Guy Fieri rolled into town with Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. The owners have since added a tropical-themed outdoor patio and remodeled the quirky interior, where guests can write on the walls with Sharpies. Start off with a guava mimosa and peruse the brunch menu featuring big Cuban flavors like Eggs Havana with mojo sauce, wild rice banana porridge, a sweet plantain omelet, and mango pancakes.

martina
The Restaurant Project

Linden Hills

Martina
South American seafood standout
When it opened in the charming Linden Hills neighborhood in 2017, Martina branched out and bet on making Argentinian brunch a thing. Fast-forward a few years, and it’s one of the most popular morning tables in town. We appreciate the wide selection of mocktails and favorite dishes include the lobster toast, South American chorizo with fried egg, and a crab Benedict with sea beans. You can also order chilled seafood for the table that includes crab, oysters, smoked bay scallop, and tuna tiradito. You never knew you wanted fish so badly at 10am.

Hi-Lo Diner
Hi-Lo Diner

Longfellow/Cooper

Hi-Lo Diner
Diner car is a blast from the past
Hi-Lo delivers exactly what you’d expect from a classic diner at brunch: strong coffee, big portions, and an unmistakable nod to nostalgia.The car itself was painstakingly restored from its 1950s glory days and brought to serve hungry Lake Street patrons, and attention to detail trickles down to Hi-Lo’s menu as well. The diner pioneered something special called a “Hi-Top”-- fried pastry dough accented with savory and sweet ingredients. Try the Gary Cooper version (fried chicken, maple-bourbon syrup, and gravy) with a classic egg cream on the side.

Lowry Hill/Uptown

The Lowry
Something for everyone, at every hour
All of Stephanie Shimp’s Blue Plate restaurants deliver solid brunches, but The Lowry is truly stellar. And, because breakfast specialties are offered almost 24/7, you don’t have to wait until 10 on a Sunday to get that breakfast burrito. Open at 6:30, The Lowry dishes up benedicts, chilaquiles, toasts, and pancakes to a mix of young families and Uptown twenty-somethings still awake from the night before. You’ll see many of them enjoying Joe’s Special of scrambled eggs, ground turkey sausage, hash browns, toast. Showing up in sweatpants is most definitely ok.

Lyndale

Hola Arepa
Colorful Latin American spot brings the heat
This airy neighborhood cafe is known for its Venezuelan arepas (cornmeal sandwiches) filled with meat, cheese, and vegetables like Spanish sausage and sweet plantains. If the bright aqua interior -- inspired by the restaurant’s humble beginnings as a food truck -- doesn’t pep you up, try the spicy Bloody Mary or a slow-roasted pork arepa mingled with black beans, cotija cheese, and special Hola sauce. This is also a good spot to take little ones if they’re adventurous eaters.

St. Genevieve
Courtesy of St. Genevieve

Lynnhurst

St. Genevieve
Fancy yet accessible French fare
This intimate French restaurant tucked away in South Minneapolis’ small Lynnhurst neighborhood does brunch with panache. You feel sophisticated as soon as you step across the beautifully tiled floor, but St. Genevieve manages to relax you. Brunch dishes are elegant French classics, like quiche with mushrooms, mussels bouillabaisse, and crepes with brie. St. Genevieve’s breakfast cocktails with champagne also shine, along with freshly made beignets and croissants. You could easily mistake South Minneapolis for the South of France.

Minneapolis (Downtown) & Saint Paul (Downtown)

Keys Cafekey & Bakery
Classic bakery with big portions
Family-owned Keys Cafe first opened in the 1970s in St. Paul, and word soon spread about its famous (and massive) caramel rolls. Now, there are nine locations serving classic, hearty brunches, including one in each downtown. The crowd is usually a mix of business travelers, tourists, and families celebrating special occasions. If you’re in the heart of either city, it’s morning, and you’re looking for carbs, Keys is the place. Standouts include stacks of blueberry bran pancakes, huge banana Belgian waffles, and cinnamon French Toast. 

Nokomis

Italian Eatery
Italian-inspired breakfast carbs
South Minneapolis spot Italian Eatery is super-close to both Minnehaha Parkway and Lake Nokomis, making it a great post-bike brunch spot at least three seasons out of the year. The Italian-inspired morning menu features ricotta-filled pastries, a focaccia eggs benedict, and limoncello polenta pancakes. And, if you biked really far (or, you know, even if you didn’t), order an affogato for dessert with local Sonny’s gelato and housemade biscotti.

Northeast/Bottineau

Hai Hai
Southeast Asian street food
If you’ve never considered Vietnamese food for brunch, renowned chef Christina Nguyen (also of Hola Arepa) will make you think again. Hai Hai, which means “two two” in Vietnamese, was named after the dilapidated Deuce Deuce strip club that was renovated to become the restaurant’s home. The Southeast Asian brunch plates include flavorful combos like coconut milk curry shrimp and grits, an omelette yam banh mi, and banana blossom salad. The eclectic decor, bright colors, and Vietnamese coffee with coconut rum are also guaranteed to wake you right up.

North Loop

Spoon and Stable
Chic carriage house with creative dishes
Spoon & Stable is one of the hardest tables in town to score at dinner, but brunch is not to be overlooked, either. A renovated horse stable from the early 1900s, the space is as unique as the menu, which is a farm-to-table adventure. Morning standouts include house-smoked bacon, a duck egg omelet, a vanilla cream seasonal fruit waffle, and quail egg sausage and biscuits. Spoon and Stable has made dozens of national dining lists and has a trendy vibe, so you may want to dress up a bit.

Payne-Phalen

Cook St. Paul
Korean twists on morning meals
Cook is a small enterprise, but one that infuses its dishes with major heart and creativity. Many of the dishes feature Korean twists, a nod to owner Eddie Wu’s heritage. Things like gochu fruit (fruit with lime juice and Korean chili flakes), kimchi omelettes, Korean pancakes, and whatever the rotating pastry is are definitely items you won’t find on other brunch menus in town. On top of everything else, the cozy neighborhood vibe and friendly service make any meal a treat.

Powderhorn

The Tiny Diner and Farm
Solar, sustainable “diner”
Minneapolis restaurateur Kim Bartmann is known for her innovative and unique concepts, and there isn’t anything in town quite like Tiny Diner. With solar panels acting as a roof over the outdoor patio, an on-site vegetable garden, and a menu focused on sustainability, the “diner” may be small in size but, obviously, big on ideas. The regularly rotating morning menu features healthy fare such as organic eggs, local veggie hash, sandwiches with freshly-grown lettuces, and an all-day garden-inspired cocktail program.

Birchwood Cafe
Megan Swenson/Birchwood Cafe

Seward

Birchwood Cafe
Best for health nuts
Probably the best healthy brunch in town, Birchwood Cafe offers a locally sourced menu that includes vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free items. Meats and fish come from places like Red Table Meat Co. and Fischer Family Farms in the metro and java comes from local company Peace Coffee. Birchwood also changes its brunch offerings seasonally, so expect lots of root veggies in the winter and fresh fruits in the summer. But there’s always the gluten-free savory waffle with spicy honey butter and an egg on the side. You’ll also fit right in if you’re coming post-workout -- many patrons ride their bikes or even finish their runs at the cafe.

West Seventh 

In Bloom
Beautiful brunch inside a hot food hall
When Keg & Case Market opened last Fall in the historic Schmidt Brewery, it quickly became a destination for both foodies and families alike. But, Chef Thomas Boemer’s In Bloom is definitely the crown jewel. Brunch is a seasonal, farm-or-forage-to-table concept, with everything cooked over a 20-foot open hearth -- no ovens or stoves here. Start off with a rye and cherry bark cocktail and a plate of “roasted things” (medjool dates, almonds, caper berries). Then, if you’re up for it, try the duck hearts or venison chilaquiles. It’s kind of like eating brunch up North … except with cushy velvet booths.

Whittier

The Copper Hen
Egg-cellent farm-style menu
Best described as rustic-chic, Copper Hen nails the whole down-home cooking vibe in a space that’s straight off Pinterest. Everything on the “farmhouse brunch” menu is made from scratch, including buttermilk pancakes with cinnamon whipped cream, Copper Benedict with thick-cut bacon, three-egg omelettes, and country quiche to gooey biscuits and gravy. In addition to being delicious, Copper Hen is casual enough that you can bring little kids but sophisticated enough for local Instagram “influencers.”

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Jenna Bennett is a writer for Thrillist who considers eggs and espresso a perfect brunch. You can catch her Instagramming mostly-healthy options @jennabennnettwilliams.