Breakfast at the Ideal Diner in Northeast Minneapolis

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

When we interviewed new Ideal Diner owner Kim Robinson about the recent renovation and reopening of her labor of love, she told us: “She’s 64 but she’s ready for another 50.”

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

A taste of the restaurant’s food bore that out. The spot is little more than a cozy little counter and a hot griddle, but that’s all it takes to produce profoundly tasty American diner food. Robinson told us that the brisket in the restaurant’s corned beef hash ($7.75) was house made and cooked to order, and it tasted first-rate. Our order was full of gentle, naturally smoky flavor and was a Mardi Gras of texture, all crispy and browned and savory delicious after its flat-top treatment.

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

The Polish Man breakfast ($8.50) is as unpretentious as they come, a single split and grilled Polish sausage accompanied by crispy hash browns, toast, and two eggs. The sausage itself boasted a meaty, gently spiced depth, and it benefited greatly from its time searing and charring on the griddle.

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

At the Ideal Diner you can order your sweet items in single increments, an option that more places should offer — a single pancake ($1.50) or slice of French toast ($1.75) is a great bodyguard for a savory breakfast. The pancake we ordered was thin and chewy and a bit brown and crispy around the edges, like a Swedish pancake.

Diner food can be salty; the stuff we tasted at Ideal was not. If anything, it benefited from a bit of extra seasoning — far preferable to the salt lick treatment one sometimes encounters in American eateries. After all, greasy and salty meals are as plentiful as strip malls. But a beautiful rendition of a classic American breakfast? Why, that would be Ideal.

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Ideal Diner
Diner food in Northeast Minneapolis

1314 Central Ave NE
Minneapolis, MN 55413
612.789.7630
OWNER: Kim Robinson
HOURS: 6:30am-4pm daily
VEGETARIAN / VEGAN: Yes / No
ENTREE RANGE: $5.50-9.50
BAR: No

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James Norton

James Norton is editor and co-founder of the Heavy Table. He is also the co-author of Lake Superior Flavors, the co-author of a book about Wisconsin’s master cheesemakers, and a regular on-air contributor to Minnesota Public Radio.

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