Not many people order Adam and Eve on a Raft these days when they want eggs and toast, but there are still pockets of greasy griddle-top cooking that bring you back to simpler days and simpler eggs.
Just when it seemed that Mickey’s would be relegated to the dusty halls of relicdom as a historical landmark, the young and hip have discovered its cool factor. Maybe it’s the fact that breakfast is available every second of every day or maybe it’s that O’Brian potatoes have yet to be co-opted by the foodists. No matter: The old car with its greasy no-frills eggs and bacon is throwback cool. Again. 36 W. 7th St., St. Paul, 651-698-0259, mickeysdiningcar.com
Hopkins’ Hoagies is straight out of the Picture Book of All American Americana, circa 1974, with mirrored signs and retro metal advertising signs on every square inch of wall, little knickknacks everywhere, knotty pine galore, booths, and all the diner classics—thin and tender pancakes, crispy filigrees of plain hash browns, lacy fried eggs, and coffee like you’re in a church basement. Turn off your Instagram filter before you start shooting pictures; this place provides all the authentic nostalgia you could want. 824 Main St., Hopkins, 952-935-2865
Founded in 1914, Peter’s Grill is the top choice for two sorts of downtown eaters: those seeking a genuinely good and affordable sit-down meal and those in love with Raymond Chandler, fedoras, and the purity of the 1940s film-noir interior with its buff aluminum metalwork and Art Moderne clean lines. The food is honest and true: fried eggs and an English muffin, your choice of omelet, straight-shooter pancakes, nothing fancy but all just right. The apple pie is legendary: hand-cut chunks of apple, cinnamon-touched and nestled in between layers of bubbly-crisp crust. 114 S. 8th St., Mpls., 612-333-1981, petersgrill.com
On a street that is widely becoming known for excitingly unfamiliar dishes such as Cambodian pahok ktiss and Thai nam tok sits a slice of the old days. Bonnie’s is a café with swiveling counter stools, waitresses toting Bunn coffee pots, and an un-ironic, un-twisted menu of comforting diner food—solid blueberry cakes, simple scrambles, and a McBonnie that pretends to be a sandwich rather than an awesome mess of eggs, ham, cheese, and gravy. Bonnie is still there, after 30 years, for when your search for the best pho leaves you weary and in need of chicken potpie. 2160 University Ave. W., St. Paul, 651-644-3393