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.”
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.
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.
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.
Diner food in Northeast Minneapolis
1314 Central Ave NE
Minneapolis, MN 55413
OWNER: Kim Robinson
HOURS: 6:30am-4pm daily
VEGETARIAN / VEGAN: Yes / No
ENTREE RANGE: $5.50-9.50