Yes, Minnesotans are an early-rising people. But on those weekend mornings when we feel as if we can take a break and linger over a meal, we like to indulge in brunch. And the places that do brunch in the North Star State do it well. Very well. Here are some of our favorites.
Lake Avenue Restaurant & Bar (formerly Lake Ave. Café) serves up delicious brunch fare, all made from scratch with as many locally-sourced ingredients as possible. The Tunisian hangover cure and huevos Avenida del Lago are favorites. They also offer a daily special and a daily omelet on the day's brunch is served.
Nightingale, near the Lyn-Lake neighborhood was a brunch classic almost as soon as it opened. Whether you order the chilaquiles, the fried oyster eggs Benedict, or the cornmeal waffle, you will leave with a smile on your face. If you enjoy a little whiskey now and then, try a “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go” to add some punch to your brunch.
The latest venture from a restauranteur duo that started with the Town Talk Diner in Minneapolis, Saint Dinette serves up modern twists on casual classics (think bologna—available for $1 with cheese and pickles). Their standout brunch dish is the crepe. It’s served with Canadian bacon, gruyere, truffle béchamel, an egg, and a whole lot of love.
There’s nothing that The Lowry doesn’t do well, and brunch is no exception. Although they have a menu of breakfast specialities that offers no easy choices, but please try the sweet potato hash or the spinach frittata. If you’re not feeling savory, there’s nothing wrong with a Nutella waffle, either.
Upscale, pig-centric soul food, and strong drinks are the name of the game at Handsome Hog in St. Paul’s Lowertown neighborhood. And now that they’re serving brunch, everybody’s Sunday mornings just got quite a bit tastier. Try the chicken and waffles or the biscuits and gravy. You won’t leave disappointed or hungry.
The Kenwood, a restaurant located in the eponymous Minneapolis neighborhood, strives to be a number of things: a neighborhood eatery, a haven for foodies, and an upscale casual restaurant. Amazingly, it manages to succeed in all of these endeavors. As a brunch destination, it’s worth the parking hassle and likely wait. The smoked steelhead trout hash is sure to calm any frayed nerves.
The Lake Elmo Inn rules brunch in the East Metro. A weekend destination for Metro Area brunch lovers, the Inn offers a massive, immaculately-prepared buffet every weekend. Each week, they serve a special, featured dish like duck or sunfish in addition to the regular carving station and brunch offerings.
Hazel’s Northeast was opened by two brothers who are third-generation restauranteurs and named for their grandmother. Now a morning institution in Nordeast, neighborhood hipsters and artists mingle with destination diners, lining up on weekend mornings for a chicken fried steak—arguably the best of its kind in Minnesota—or a meat waffle. The latter is infused with bacon, ham, and cheese.
If you’re in the Rochester area on a Sunday, be sure to stop into Chester’s Kitchen & Bar for their outstanding brunch menu. The banana cream pie waffle is certain to satisfy if you have a breakfast sweet tooth, but the star of the show is the prime rib hash. Savory and succulent, you’ll need to sit for a bit after you’ve cleaned your plate.
Many people, when they think of brunch, think of a buffet. And if you’re looking for a brunch buffet in the West Metro, you really need look no further than Jax Café in Northeast Minneapolis. A Nordeast institution, Jax is a classic supper club that serves up a monstrous brunch buffet on weekends. The one price gets you everything from smoked salmon to Belgian waffles to shrimp. There's also a dedicated dessert buffet if you managed to leave some room.