There’s a not-so-old restaurant in Minneapolis that I simply love—the only problem is that, sometimes, I simply can’t find it. It’s not because I don’t know what street it’s on; rather, it’s tiny—it’s the Tiny Diner. A former gas station located at 1024 E. 38th Street, the Tiny Diner is situated on a small corner plot that blends easily into the neighborhood. Coming from the west, the building is all but obscured by a long shed that borders its parking lot--blink as you pass by and you’ll miss the place altogether.
Images courtesy of Star Tribune, TripAdvisor, and Tiny Diner.
You’ll recognize there’s something special about the place as soon as you walk in. With a distinct tiny-house vibe, open-ish concept, and nestled in into what I like to call a “micro biz district” that the Twin Cities do so well, the menu features nods to several Minneapolis legends: the obvious, like the statue of Mary Tyler Moore tossing her hat, and Prince’s infamous symbol; but also more obscure—Babes in Toyland, and the notorious Richard Avedon print at the Black Forest Inn. (The menu changes regularly to pay tribute to a different midwestern cities, so you'll be surprised when you visit!)
I have a long love affair with breakfast that probably stems from my childhood—my frugal parents would sometimes splurge on mornings at the cabin, or while en route to the mountains, driving our pickup camper to Montana late in the summer; dinners out were primarily reserved for birthdays and the occasional clam fry at the HoJo’s on Century Ave. and I-94 in Maplewood. So I have a special place in my heart for unlimited coffee refills and breakfast menus. I’ve been to the Tiny Diner a few times, and have thoroughly enjoyed the 1930’s Red Flannel Hash (two eggs, hash browns, salt cod, shredded beet and herbs); a few weeks ago, introducing a group of five college friends to the establishment, our selections ran the gamut. Of course, I was impressed with each and every one, from the veggie-friendly Grateful Bowl, and the messy-but-delectable Spinach and Walnut Burger to the Breakfast Burrito and the simple Original Joe’s Scramble. Being a girls’ weekend—and a cold one, at that!—the meal wouldn’t have been complete without a few warm seasonal libations (house-made mulled wine and honey sage sake were especial faves).
I’ve been back twice in the past week (a friend gave me a gift card, and these cold January mornings seem the perfect time to indulge) which seems a bit lavish to my inherited sense of austerity, but the food is so good, and local, and well prepared, that I can’t help but let myself enjoy it.
The HomesMSP Team — Sharlene, John, Angela