Peg’s Countryside Cafe in Hamel

Kelly Hailstone/Heavy Table
Kelly Hailstone / Heavy Table

Peg’s Countryside Cafe is a small, often crowded, old-school family restaurant off the roadside of Highway 55 in Hamel. Not your typical greasy spoon, the cafe serves up healthy portions of indulgent, American-diner fare: raspberry French toast, corned beef hash, eggs Benedict topped with basted eggs, burgers galore, homemade pies, and malts are just a few picks from the sizable menu. Many breakfast items are served with a portion of hashbrowns fit for a human rather than a cow … refreshing.

Photographs of regulars past and present and arts-and-crafty country kitsch cover nearly every square inch of wall space to cozy and friendly effect. The two-room house is packed on weekends, but dishes arrive tableside within 10 minutes, so waiting time is usually not long — with no place to wait but outside, unless you can manage to squash yourself against the cash register counter, this is a good thing.

BEST BET: The stuffed French toast ($5.75) is a hearty fork and knife sandwich with hard-cooked egg, Swiss and American cheeses, and a sausage patty layered between two slices of softly sweetened French toast. A couple shakes of powdered sugar over the top is a pleasant surprise. Served with hashbrowns. The buttermilk pancakes ($3.65 for a short stack) are vanilla-sweet and pillowy and arrive at the table just slightly crisp and without sheen, so you know they weren’t fried in a puddle of butter.

Peg’s Countryside Cafe

American breakfast and lunch in the western ‘burbs
842 Highway 55
Hamel, MN 55340
OWNER: Peggy Rasmussen
HOURS: Monday – Saturday 6 am-3pm; Sunday 7:30 am-2 pm
BAR: None, but there is counter-dining with a handful of stools
ENTREE RANGE: Most well under $10

Kelly Hailstone/Heavy Table
Kelly Hailstone / Heavy Table


  1. Anne

    You’ve described how the food looks – hearty, pillowy, sheeny. But how does it taste? (The only flavor hints are “softly sweetened” French toast and “vanilla-sweet” pancakes.) I expect more from a HeavyTable review.

  2. John Farrell

    A side comment – the kitchen in the cafe, while small, is a beehive of activity with several talented staff doing designated chores that would be the envy of million dollar kitchens. On any given day, one of the wait-staff is the “designated thinker” who is responsible for putting a stop to a disorganized fellow staffer’s actions or a start to an approved method of serving the customer.

    Hovering over all the activity is the owner, Peg Rasmussen. You can see that she is high gear from the moment she arrives in the morning. She did, after all, cook in the kitchen regularly for the first 25 years of cafe ownership. When not clearing tables, checking on what appears to be an overdue breakfast order or stopping the serve of a less than spectacular plate, she will take the time to stop and chat with her longtime customers or hold a baby while a new Mom has breakfast.

    This is what the cafe is all about. Friendly service, good food,
    family atmosphere and photos of 3 generations of customers on the walls.

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