Town Talk Diner in Longfellow, Minneapolis

Katie Cannon / Heavy Table

Editor’s Note: Town Talk Diner is closed.

With a drink menu that’s almost as long as its food menu, Town Talk Diner may not be the first place that comes to mind when you’re thinking about grabbing dinner with the family. All the buzz about alcoholic malts and floats and hand-crafted cocktails makes it seem that the Longfellow mainstay is strictly for the 21+ set. But as a recent excursion with a 2-year-old proved, Town Talk has a lot to offer those who are too young to imbibe those signature drinks, starting with its location.

Katie Cannon / Heavy Table

Don’t tell the toy industry, but little ones really don’t need an armload of playthings to keep themselves occupied. All they need is a window seat at a restaurant on a busy street — East Lake Street is a fine example. All the cars, trucks, and buses provide endless entertainment to the average toddler, even one who is desperate for a grilled-cheese sandwich. Those tables near the windows offer another advantage: With generous space between tabletops, parents don’t feel like they’re crowding other diners with their noisy chatter or with the assorted gear that inevitably accompany them on any outing. And when you show up laden down with a car seat or diaper bag, the staff members don’t flinch.

Parents are often accustomed to eating on the early end of the dinner hour, and hitting Town Talk before 6 pays off in more ways than one. Not only is it easier to get a table and avoid waiting in a crowded entry with restless kids, you get to enjoy the restaurant’s happy hour specials! Half-off appetizers and discounted drinks can make early-bird dining attractive to even the kid-less crowd, and it’s pretty sweet when you don’t have to choose between the frickles that one kid demands and the garlic fries the other one wants — you can get both.

Another perk of those happy-hour specials is that they even out your overall dinner tab, because while you may get a deal on your appetizers, you’ll be paying full price for Junior’s meal. Like Modern Cafe, Town Talk doesn’t offer a children’s menu, so you’ll shell out $7 for a grilled-cheese sandwich or $9.50 for a cheeseburger for your kids. Those aren’t outrageous prices, by any means, but they may come as a bit of surprise to parents who typically frequent chain restaurants with their children.

Even if the Monkey Business malt initially drew you to Town Talk Diner when you didn’t travel everywhere with sippy cups, there’s no reason to stop going now. Just time your dinner for a little earlier and order your malt — the banana liqueur gives you a great excuse not to share.

Town Talk Diner
Upscale diner in Longfellow

2707 ½ E. Lake St.
Minneapolis, MN 55406
OWNER / CHEF: Theros Restaurant Group / Thomas Begnaud
HOURS: Tuesday-Thursday 4pm-12am
Friday 4pm-1am
Saturday 9am-1am
Sunday 9am-9pm
Closed Mondays
BAR: Full
VEGETARIAN / VEGAN: Yes / A few salads

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Jill Lewis

The great-granddaughter of an Eastern European Jewish baker, Jill Lewis cannot escape her genetic predisposition to carbs. Her love of baked goods, wine, cheese and chocolate may not come in handy for her day job as a Twin Cities PR professional, but it proves infinitely helpful for her gigs as a contributing writer for The Heavy Table and the co-author of the Cheese and Champagne blog. A former resident of Illinois, Texas, Wisconsin and suburban Washington, D.C., Jill now lives with her husband, two young sons and cat in St. Louis Park.

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  1. While I don’t like any blog endorsing bringing children to an establishment I frequent, nice article!

  2. artsy 04/21/2010

    I suppose the very loud decibel level some people dislike about Town Talk would actually be a plus when eating with noisy kids!

  3. Monty 04/21/2010


    Do you know worse than a loud decibel level caused by children?……..Eating your dinner next to a self righteous prick like yourself.

    Seriously though, Town Talk does a great job & are following a proven model for keeping the doors open.

  4. I really like that top photo!