Hot Plate Diner in South Minneapolis
Hot Plate, a below-the-radar diner in South Minneapolis, is different, singular, unique, one-of-a-kind, funkyâ€¦ anything but normal. When you enter, a buck-toothed mannequin dressed in Hot Plate swag and red Chuck Taylors blankly leers in your general direction. Innumerable paint-by-numbers portraits crowd the walls and creepy-but-endearing statuettes line the railings, fill shelves, and sit on the tables. And then there are the Lucite grapes and mod fixtures. If not so playful and carefully curated â€” and if it wasnâ€™t accompanied by really good food â€” the concentration of kitsch might be too much.
So itâ€™s a joy that, where typical â€śgreasy spoonsâ€ť try to disguise bad food with pounds of butter and oil, Hot Plate puts out high-quality, inventive fare that doesnâ€™t send you right back to bed. The bacon is lean, thick, and toothsome, and the crispy, well-seasoned potatoes far surpass the typically bland, mushy â€śhome fries.â€ť The omelets (below) are large, fluffy, and chock-full of first-rate fillings; the scrambles are equally great. Even Hot Plateâ€™s plain oatmeal with raisins and brown sugar ($5.25) is solid, though we strongly recommend ordering a side of nuts to enhance the cerealâ€™s texture and flavor.
Hot Plateâ€™s sweet breakfast dishes further separate it from the diner crowd. The buttermilk pancakes with caramelized pecans ($6 for a short stack) are awesome â€” relatively thin, but pillowy. The pecans (mixed into the batter) give the cakes a subtle crunch and, with syrup, just the right amount of sweetness (if ordering again, weâ€™d skip the Lingonberry butter â€” itâ€™s just one too many sweet components). The scrumptious pumpkin buckwheat waffle ($8.25, pictured top) and caramel apple French toast ($8, below) skillfully straddle the line between breakfast and dessert, and both are impressively moist on the inside and crisp on the outside.
Unfortunately, Hot Plateâ€™s coffee (drip and espresso) doesnâ€™t do the food justice: Itâ€™s watery and bitter. But donâ€™t let that dissuade you from checking out this good-spirited spot. On our first visit, we had lattes in hand when we arrived and were graciously told to keep on sipping. That kind of good morning from a kind and attentive staff, along with Hot Plateâ€™s quick service, delicious food, and crazy tchotchkes, canâ€™t help but start the day right.
Hot Plate Diner
Diner in South Minneapolis
5204 Bloomington Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55417
OWNERS: Sam Beberg and Carrie Lewis
HOURS: 8am-2pm daily
ENTREE RANGE: $5-10.50
VEGETARIAN / VEGAN: Yes / By order
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