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As Midwesterners, we have--or should have--certain inalienable rights, primary among them the right to have real ice-cream malts and eggs grilled in butter 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Mickey's is just about the last place in town to recognize those constitutional guarantees: Burgers, malts, eggs all day, pancakes, Mulligan stew, sundaes, BLTs, and some darn good fries issue forth from the modest grills in a raging, corn-fed, red-white-and-blue river. Both locations are terrifically classy: The downtown one is set in an old-fashioned dining car that's been nationally praised (it's one of only two diners in the country on the National Register of Historic Places) and the other is a chrome-and-formica testament to Sputnik-age interior design (and could likewise sit in a museum).
These days, the closest most people will get to eating in a train diner car is going to Mickey's Diner in the heart of downtown St. Paul. But even if this iconic diner isn't going anywhere, you should make the trip. The neon sign and promise of good, pretty cheap food attract a cross section of the Twin Cities population around the clock, and one of the place's biggest draws is the promise of breakfast anytime. Local lore says that Mickey's, open 24 hours, has been serving up greasy-spoon fare nonstop since it opened in 1939. Mickey's is justly famous for its classic hash browns—gloriously greasy but not at all heavy, with some edges extra-crisp and the potatoes tender in the middle. Try them or the O'Brien potatoes for a perfect complement to the light and fluffy pancakes. And it's almost impossible to resist Mickey's famous mulligan stew, made from the same pre-WWII recipe as always. If all the stools at the counter are occupied, and the notoriously cramped booths are full, try Mickey's quieter second location on West Seventh Street; it's less intimate than the original but has its own '50s-era charm—and the food is just as good.
These days, the closest most people will get to eating in a train diner car is going to Mickey's Diner in the heart of downtown St. Paul. But even if this iconic diner isn't going anywhere, you should make the trip. The neon sign and promise of good, pretty cheap food attract a cross section of the Twin Cities population around the clock, and one of the place's biggest draws is the promise of breakfast anytime. Local lore says that Mickey's, open 24 hours, has been serving up greasy-spoon... More »
Uncle. We give up already. This is indeed a lousy town for late-night dining--and we're going to call late night that which happens after 2:00 a.m., just to knock out the lame-o's of the world who sack out at 11:00. Eleven o'clock is not late night; it's just a poorly organized evening. Three o'clock a.m.--that's late. While we're at it, why don't we just call a spade a spade? The reason there's no late-night dining around here is the same reason the bars close at 1:00 a.m.: We live in a... More »
Minneapolis and St. Paul make an odd couple: The former is an uppity, too-eager-to-please debutante, always putting on airs, while the latter is like an old man on a park bench, nodding bemusedly as the world goes by. Consider, as an example of our capital city's civic character, Mickey's Diner. Since its opening in 1939, Mickey's has hardly changed: It remains a dollop of Edward Hopper Americana sitting solidly at St. Paul's geographic and psychological heart. Mickey's isn't for the... More »
Mickey's 1950 W. Seventh St., St. Paul; 698-8387. 36 W. Seventh St., St. Paul; 222-5633. Top Hat Lounge 134 E. Fifth St., St. Paul; 228-1347. White Castle 608 Central Ave. N.E., Mpls.; 379-4935. Vegas Lounge 965 Central Ave. N.E.,... More »
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