Suburban Theater in Uptown Minneapolis

Cartoons and Breakfast at the Suburban World Theatre

Suburban Theater Cartoons and Breakfast in Uptown Minneapolis
Katie Cannon / Heavy Table

I submit that one of the greatest losses suffered by parents is the hangover.

That’s right. The hangover.

Before those adorable 6am alarm clocks in footed pajamas came along, a mild hangover could feel kind of luxurious: an excuse to lounge around in a dim room, stay in your sweatpants, watch a little mindless television, eat heavy breakfasts at noon, say very little to those around you, and indulge in your hangover cure of choice — I liked coffee with indecent amounts of cream. Time slowed down — because you simply couldn’t move any faster. While I certainly don’t miss waking up with a headache — and who’s got time for shenanigans like that, anyway — I do miss the enforced slowness of a Sunday morning hangover.

While parenting and lazy hangovers no longer fit together in my world, there is one place where they go together like jam and toast, or, like whiskey and a chaser: the Suburban World Theatre. No longer showing Hollywood hits, the Suburban World now projects old-time cartoons — Looney Tunes, Betty Boop, extraordinarily un-PC early Mickey Mouse — and serves up a diner-style brunch every Saturday and Sunday. Parents with kids who have been up since the crack of dawn open the place at 9am; the hangover crowd tends to take over in the late morning.

Suburban Theater Cartoons and Breakfast in Uptown Minneapolis
Katie Cannon / Heavy Table

This is not the bustle of a typical breakfast spot: The lights are low (“dark” is another good word for it) and rather than the clank of silverware and the buzz of cheery conversation, the only noise is the familiar “Buh-buh-BUH-buh, th-th-th-that’s all folks!” Cabaret tables and a couple of low bars — perfect for kids — fill in where the theater seats once were and they’re all separate enough from one another that it’s easy to ignore your fellow diners, enjoy your family’s company (but the kids are too distracted to chatter), and get ready to face the day. Otherwise, the theater’s interior is almost unchanged, with the lights twinkling in the starry sky above and faux evergreens growing next to even-faux-er Roman columns.

The breakfast menu is straight from your favorite diner. (In fact, if the late, lamented Uptown Diner was your favorite diner, this is literally true, as the chef hopped next door to the Suburban World after that landmark was razed.) Eggs, hash browns, sausage, bacon, and toast and, to spice things up, gyro meat and tzatziki sauce. I now choose the two-egg skillets ($9) over the four-egg omelets ($7.75–$9.75) because, well, a body’s not so young any more. If it’s been a rough week, breaking the yolk of a fried egg over a pile of hot chilaquiles ($9, below) — still-crunchy tortilla chips cooked in red or green salsa — can make all your troubles go away, for at least a few minutes. And the huevos rancheros ($9) will fuel a couple of circuits around Lake Calhoun and then some.

Suburban Theater Cartoons and Breakfast in Uptown Minneapolis
Katie Cannon / Heavy Table

You can choose breakfast or lunch items no matter what time you come in, but the lunch side of the menu? Never tried it. I just can’t bring myself to order a BLT, a tuna melt, gyros, or a burger (everything in the $8–9 range) at 9am. That’s a terrible admission for a reviewer to make, but I defy anyone to plop down in front of classic childhood cartoons and maintain that what they’re really craving is chicken wings or nachos.

This isn’t award-winning, local-seasonal-organic, or my-body-is-a-temple fare. I’m pretty sure both the vegetables and the hash browns came out of the freezer. Those “scrambled” eggs for my skillet are awful flat. And ordering blueberries or chocolate chips in your pancakes is recommended — there isn’t a lot of flavor in the “maple” syrup. But for anybody who’s ever spent a late night at a Denny’s or a Friendly’s, this is like coming home.

Suburban Theater Cartoons and Breakfast in Uptown Minneapolis
Katie Cannon / Heavy Table

The coffee however, is another story. There’s no other way to say this — and it comes from a place of love — so I’ll just say it: The coffee sucks. It tastes like it came straight from a church basement percolator. On a day when they were running a little low on coffee grounds. Or forgot to put them in altogether. So I’m not saying you should bring in your own coffee from somewhere else — that would be beyond rude — but I am saying that I myself have been sorely tempted.

But I forgive the Suburban World and make a note to caffeine-up beforehand next time, because my belly is full of good eggs and my kids are sitting in front of me, with their forks dangling above chocolate chip pancakes, absolutely convulsed because Bugs Bunny just said “Albakoykee” and they keep repeating it too each other, the younger one almost nailing the accent. And then Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner come on and the kids beg to watch just one more and we say, Sure, why not, it’s Sunday morning and time can stand still for a while.

Nursing a hangover? Nah. I don’t actually miss it that much. This is so much better.

Suburban Theater in Uptown Minneapolis
Katie Cannon / Heavy Table

Suburban World Theatre
Cartoon breakfast in Uptown Minneapolis

3022 Hennepin Ave
Minneapolis 55408

Sat-Sun 9am-2pm
BAR: Full bar


  1. Loyal to The Uptown

    First of all, there was no “chef” at the Uptown, there was a kitchen manager Mike Staab who now owns Stabby’s Cafe on 42nd and Cedar. So if you really want an Uptown breakfast, go there since he developed the menus for Uptown Bar. One of the line cooks went to SW. Which hardly makes it the same. Second, Don Driggs is a slumlord who cuts every corner possible to save a buck. Nobody I know would step foot in that rat trap.

  2. Leah

    We tried to take the kids for cartoon brunch once, but the food was meh, the service abysmally slow, and the staff turned off the Loony Tunes for Yellow Submarine about 15 minutes after we got there. We won’t be back.

    I agree with the commenter above – check out Stabby’s at 42nd & Cedar for a real taste of the old Uptown!

  3. Kate

    I nearly warned you about the shitty coffee when I found out you were going… But I suppose that is part of the experience :)

  4. Leah

    Sorry, forgot to mention that a much better alternative is the Chatterbox in Highland Park. Crazy kid-friendly, with good food and good coffee too.

  5. MenschMaschine

    I love EVERYTHING about this idea. Breakfast is my favorite meal, and I prefer classic cartoons to anything else on TV. Nevertheless, I think you were VERY generous with this review. I stopped in a while back with my father (who is also a breakfast-looney-tunes fan) and we were both completely disappointed. As others have mentioned here, the food was mediocre and slow. The cartoons were actually hard to see because of the lighting and the sounds of dishes clanking made them equally hard to hear (maybe that’s changed). All in all, it just felt like a half baked idea. I’d love to see them get it together, because it really is a great idea.

  6. Kate

    Brilliant idea, but I’d never EVER go to the Suburban World Theater for anything as long as that a-hole owns it. It’s unfortunate because the space is wonderful and could be enormously successful if someone who actually gave a rat’s ass owned it.

  7. Packerfan

    Wow.. Kate… As a fellow big fan of “The Concept” as you were in your first review…We as patrons of the Suburban World Theatre have had nothing but great and positive experiences… like you said in your original (back then unbiased) review… This is a great place to connect in an intimate,positive, and family oriented environment… Yet still enjoy the boisterousness of a VIKING vs. PACKER Rivalry on a Sunday afternoon after a cartoon brunch. Apparently you have personal issues or possibly personal issues with the owner… Just a word of advice: don’t LOSE ALL YOU CREDIBILITY by placing it on what what what many DID consider a credible blog. Especially by posting a blog in July when the Theatre has been closed for renovation since March… Anyone with half a brain will reconsider your intelligence, credibility and INTENT…? Regarding the ambiguous comments about Mike from Uptown… I can’t decide whether they were disparaging, libelous, or complementary… And as legal advisor I suggest he seek an answer to that question (hear me Mike)? Good Luck with your credibility issues.

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