Editor’s Note: Kitty Corner Cafe is now closed.
Technically, the tiny Kitty Corner Cafe isn’t kitty-corner from anything — it’s squarely in the middle of its Stadium Village block, nestled next to Punch Pizza — but the predominant cat decor throughout the slim shop, along with the beckoning aroma of waffles, leaves no doubt that you’re in the right place. Open since the spring, the cozy nook, owned by Turkish native Zuhal Sari, offers just two items — waffles, a traditional Turkish street food, and panini. Luckily, Sari serves up rock-solid versions of both dishes to keep a steady stream of students, visiting parents, and locals coming through the door.
The waffles initially drew our party to Kitty Corner Cafe as we hoped to get a taste similar to the sublime waffles we used to eat a similarly small shop in Jerusalem. Though not quite the same as their Israeli counterparts, the waffles certainly hold their own. Thinner than a Belgian liege waffle, the light, sweet batter cooks up to a generously sized round that’s crisp on the outside and tender on the inside, and, as in Turkey, is stuffed to the gills with fruit, nuts, and sugary glazes.
The banana nut version ($6) arrives stuffed with thick slices of banana and walnuts and drizzled with Nutella, while the peanut butter and Nutella ($6) swaps out the walnuts for peanuts and adds a second drizzle of peanut butter sauce, and the strawberry fields ($7) subs the berry for the banana and features white chocolate on top. All are tasty — your preferred fruit likely will dictate your favorite. It would be easy to drown the waffles in sweet sauce, but Sari’s restrained touch allows you to taste the waffle itself with each bite, not just the sugary toppings. The size of the waffles make them ideal for sharing, which allows you to indulge with minimal guilt, and vegan and gluten-free options are available.
If you need something savory to counteract the waffles’ sweetness, Sari’s panini are hearty, toasty, and satisfying. Though the meat is your standard deli variety, the rich cheese and fresh vegetables and herbs she uses make them reasonable at $6.25-7.70. The chipotle chili beef ($7) could use more chipotle spread to bring up the heat quotient, but the gooey provolone and colby jack, along with the fresh tomato and basil, elevate the quality of the sandwich beyond the deli beef layered among the cheeses. Similarly, the zesty freshness of the pesto spread on the pesto turkey ($6.75) turns a typical turkey sandwich into something craveable. Credit also must be given to the rustic, Italian-style bread that anchors the panini with its terrific crust and delightful crunch.
An appealing alternative to the neighboring chain fare and, as far as we can tell, the only Turkish waffle game in town, the charming Kitty Corner Cafe is one to root for in Stadium Village. It doesn’t serve up much, but what the Cafe does feature on its menu it does right: You can safely swap out your burrito or pizza one day for a waffle and won’t be sorry. Your wallet won’t regret it, either.
Kitty Corner Cafe
Waffles and panini in Stadium Village
806 Washington Ave SE
Minneapolis, MN 55414
CHEF / OWNER: Zuhal Sari
RESERVATIONS / RECOMMENDED: No
VEGETARIAN / VEGAN: Yes / Yes
ENTREE RANGE: $6-8.25