Editor’s Note: Town Talk Diner is closed.
With a drink menu that’s almost as long as its food menu, Town Talk Diner may not be the first place that comes to mind when you’re thinking about grabbing dinner with the family. All the buzz about alcoholic malts and floats and hand-crafted cocktails makes it seem that the Longfellow mainstay is strictly for the 21+ set. But as a recent excursion with a 2-year-old proved, Town Talk has a lot to offer those who are too young to imbibe those signature drinks, starting with its location.
Don’t tell the toy industry, but little ones really don’t need an armload of playthings to keep themselves occupied. All they need is a window seat at a restaurant on a busy street — East Lake Street is a fine example. All the cars, trucks, and buses provide endless entertainment to the average toddler, even one who is desperate for a grilled-cheese sandwich. Those tables near the windows offer another advantage: With generous space between tabletops, parents don’t feel like they’re crowding other diners with their noisy chatter or with the assorted gear that inevitably accompany them on any outing. And when you show up laden down with a car seat or diaper bag, the staff members don’t flinch.
Parents are often accustomed to eating on the early end of the dinner hour, and hitting Town Talk before 6 pays off in more ways than one. Not only is it easier to get a table and avoid waiting in a crowded entry with restless kids, you get to enjoy the restaurant’s happy hour specials! Half-off appetizers and discounted drinks can make early-bird dining attractive to even the kid-less crowd, and it’s pretty sweet when you don’t have to choose between the frickles that one kid demands and the garlic fries the other one wants — you can get both.
Another perk of those happy-hour specials is that they even out your overall dinner tab, because while you may get a deal on your appetizers, you’ll be paying full price for Junior’s meal. Like Modern Cafe, Town Talk doesn’t offer a children’s menu, so you’ll shell out $7 for a grilled-cheese sandwich or $9.50 for a cheeseburger for your kids. Those aren’t outrageous prices, by any means, but they may come as a bit of surprise to parents who typically frequent chain restaurants with their children.
Even if the Monkey Business malt initially drew you to Town Talk Diner when you didn’t travel everywhere with sippy cups, there’s no reason to stop going now. Just time your dinner for a little earlier and order your malt — the banana liqueur gives you a great excuse not to share.
Town Talk Diner
Upscale diner in Longfellow
2707 ½ E. Lake St.
Minneapolis, MN 55406
OWNER / CHEF: Theros Restaurant Group / Thomas Begnaud
HOURS: Tuesday-Thursday 4pm-12am
VEGETARIAN / VEGAN: Yes / A few salads
ENTREE RANGE: $8.50-23