It’s not date night, so you’ll probably have the kids in tow. These places know how to make it a good morning for you while keeping the kiddos entranced.
Do not be surprised to see a line out the door on weekends—the neighborhood OWNS this breakfast spot. Drunken banana French toast, granola-infused hippie cakes, chicken-fried steak (!), and eggs are all served in a homey, comfortable hey-how-are-ya atmosphere. 2859 Johnson St. NE, Mpls., 612-788-4778, hazelsnortheast.com
You can’t go wrong with one of these joints. They were born with the soul of a diner but raised on tomato chutney and chorizo. Creative but comfortable, urban but humble, they kick out basics such as banana waffles and oatmeal flapjacks, but also keep it fun with breakfast panini and chilaquiles. Several metro locations, blueplaterestaurantcompany.com
Even if you have to truck it across town to get there, the Keys restaurants always feel like your hometown café. They’re the kind of places that sneak up on you and become a family tradition because everyone seems to find something from the menu to become rabidly loyal about, be it the monstrous caramel rolls, the fat omelets, or the cinnamon French toast. They’ve been schlepping breakfast for more than 35 years, so they must be doing something right. Nine locations including 8299 University Ave. NE, Spring Lake Park, 763-785-6004, keyscafe.com
Cafeteria is famous for its make-your-own-bloody-mary bar and its inherent challenge: How many slices of bacon, fat green olives, and cubes of cheese can you fit on a skewer? But Cafeteria also plays peppy dance music, opens at 9 am on weekends, offers a $5 kids menu with solid pancakes and chocolate milk in a sippy cup, and brings out coloring mats for every child and a finger puppet with every entrée. Order a fruit platter and a loaf of warm banana bread for the table when you sit down, then take turns with your spouse fixing up your bloody mary to your liking while your kids color and take dance breaks by the big windows. 3001 Hennepin Ave., Mpls., 612-877-7263, uptowncafeteria.com
If you’re tired of your kids throwing things across the table during a meal, let them throw bowling balls. The buffet at Pinstripes will fill them on omelets and treats, and when they get restless, they can knock down pins (and not each other) for $5 per kid per game. Meanwhile, you surf ’n’ turf it with prime rib and seafood. 3849 Gallagher Dr., Edina, 952-835-6440, pinstripes.com
ALSO VERY FRIENDLY