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Lowertown St. Paul
This sunny and cozy corner cafe has the eats and sweets to keep Lowertown residents well-fed. The line may be out the door, but it’s well worth it at the Buttered Tin: egg-based breakfast dishes paired with an amazing pastry case make it our top St. Paul spot.
What to order: The Buttered Tin Hash with house-made pastrami, potatoes, kale, squash, and egg
Even though this Lyndale destination opened three years ago, it’s still in its heyday, especially at brunch. It serves up amazing dishes like yogurt panna cotta, ham and lox, and classic eggs Benedict, all in a sophisticated space.
What to order: The Heyday Brunch ($29 for two dishes plus coffee or a specialty brunch cocktail)
Who knew hell could be such an appealing place? The atmosphere is totally worth descending below ground for brunch -- just prepare to be creeped out if you get stuck sitting underneath the chandelier made of knives. In addition to a variety of dishes -- four different kinds of Benedicts, including bison! -- there’s also live music.
What to order: Lemon-ricotta hotcakes
This colorful Cuban outpost slings up the best non-traditional brunch food in town, where dishes include mango pancakes, fried sweet plantains, and yuca frita. If you can’t get away for a tropical vacation, coming here is the next best thing -- just be prepared for a line because the place is small and tables are scarce. Make sure to grab a Sharpie from your host so you can scrawl your name on the wall along with thousands of other diners when you’re done.
What to order: Sweet plantain omelette
Cook has been called the “little diner that could.” It’s a small enterprise but one with major heart in the Payne/Phalen neighborhood and many of the classic brunch dishes feature a Korean twist, a nod to the chef’s heritage. Things like gochu fruit (fruit with lime juice and Korean chili flakes) and gingerbread pancakes are things you just won’t find anywhere else.
What to order: Korean pancakes made with yellow beans, sausage, cabbage, bean sprouts, and topped with a poached egg
Easily the best healthy brunch option in town, Birchwood Cafe offers a locally sourced menu that’s vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free friendly. When you sit down (preferably on the patio) for a weekend meal, choose from tofu hash, birdseed toast, or the popular FYG (fruit, yogurt, granola).
What to order: The savory waffle made with sweet potato, brown rice, and kale
If you’re looking for Latin-style brunch, consider this airy neighborhood cafe known for its Venezuelan-stuffed arepas filled with meat, cheese, and vegetables like pickled cabbage. Just make sure to have plenty of napkins on hand, as we can attest that these things are messy.
What to order: Breakfast arepa with black beans, Cotija cheese, aioli verde, and a fried egg.
Eating at The Copper Hen is kind of like eating in an Anthropologie -- the decor is classic, shabby chic, and rustic. The brunch appropriately features lots of seasonal ingredients, locally grown produce, and cute tablescapes. Copper Hen also makes everything from scratch, making it basically the grown-up version of your grandma’s kitchen.
What to order: The Copper Benedict
Tilia takes non-traditional brunch items, like a Reuben sandwich or a fish taco, and uses them as the foundation of eggs Benedict and tortas. The resulting menu is both familiar and surprising. While Tilia is small and doesn’t take reservations, quaint Linden Hills is a perfect neighborhood to browse while you wait for a table.
What to order: Mortadella and fried egg sandwich with Cheddar and Dijon mayo
You can’t get much more farm-to-table than a restaurant that gets 95% of its ingredients from a single farm; in Wise Acres’s case, that’s Tangletown Gardens in Plato, MN. The brunch menu features dishes crafted from hoop house greens, farm potatoes, Wise Acre bacon, fresh eggs, and hand-rolled butter.
What to order: CSA Hash with cottage ham and cornbread
Named after the current owner’s grandmother, Hazel’s feels like a charming, homey hideaway straight out of the ‘70s. It wasn’t always well-known, but word got out and now it’s impossible to get in without a long-ish wait. However, the classic comfort food -- eggs, chicken-fried steak, a meat waffle -- is totally worth it.
What to order: Drunken Banana French Toast with rum-soaked raisins, pecans, and homemade caramel sauce
Jax Cafe started as an old-school supper club in Northeast in 1910 and has evolved to serve one of the most notable brunches in the city. In the ‘70s, most Minnesota restaurants were closed on Sundays, so when Jax started to do a Sunday brunch, it was a true outlier. Now, nearly 50 years later, it serves a buffet to more than 300 people every Sunday morning. For just one (fairly low) price, you can pile your plate high with poached salmon, blinis, waffles, and carved meats.
What to order: Sunday Buffet Brunch ($24.95/adult)
Sometimes all you really need in the morning is coffee and carbs. Black delivers with local Dogwood coffee and malty waffles with your choice of toppings. While tables are often occupied by students spilling over from Dinkytown and the U, once you’re served a strawberry cheesecake, s’more, or apple strudel waffle, you won’t mind squeezing in at the communal counter.
What to order: Fat Andrew Waffle topped with peanut butter, powdered sugar, cinnamon, bananas, and whipped cream
Al’s is a Dinkytown institution, and with only 14 stools at the counter in this narrow nook, be prepared to wait. The short-order style breakfast is unlike anything else in town, with pancakes as big as your plate, greasy hashbrowns, and thick slabs of bacon. Just be prepared -- Al’s hasn’t changed much since the '50s, and that includes not taking credits cards.
What to order: The Dinkytown Omelet with Cheddar, ham, and onions
Intimate, cozy, and elegant, this small French bistro does brunch with only the best Champagne. Dishes manage to be both dainty and substantial, like the quiche with crispy pork belly, escargot with oyster mushrooms, and Tartine Madame with a sunny-side-up egg.
What to order: Freshly made beignets
A sign of the times? Off historically rough Chicago Ave, this eclectic, boho cafe is a literal bright spot thanks to a fluorescent paint job. If you’re into DIY design, there’s plenty of creative work on the walls, a collection that rotates every month to feature local artists. The brunch menu embraces the hippie vibe with dishes like vegan pancakes, a feta-mint burger, and tempeh and tofu.
What to order: The Chakra Khan scramble with veggies, brown rice, eggs, and Cheddar