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.
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