Ideal Diner: Restaurant Review.

I have graced the pages of this blog with a multitude of reviews over the last few years. Some were fascinating, most pedestrian, a few just stupid. Here’s another one to put in one of those groups as you see fit. I refer to the Ideal Diner of Minneapolis. Any place that I’ve gone to eat for over 32 years has got something going on inside other than decent coffee.

Before we go any longer without a plug, it’s so close to Christmas and you’re almost out of time. You’d best buy a copy of Assault on Saint Agnes so that your family still loves you.

There is no such thing as too much chicken-fried steak. Especially when it comes to gravy application. I heartily endorse this one. Yes, those hash browns and eggs are as close to perfect as you can get. The toast has exactly the right amount of butter to boot.

I have eaten pancakes in a lot of places. Some of them high-end, some true dives (submarines). None of them even comes close to these. I don’t know if they sprinkle fairy-dust on them, include sugar in the batter, or pay off God to make them perfect, but you don’t need syrup on them. You barely need butter. Hands-down they are the best pancakes I’ve ever consumed.

Let’s all be honest – there’s something cool about the chromed diner look. This picture is a bit blurry, but the place is always spotless and the walls gleam.

One part of the magic in places like the Ideal is that you get the flat-top grill show for no extra charge. Watching an artist on the grill is a thing of beauty – they make the task an acrobatic performance as they swoop into the freezer, ladle lard, flip eggs, and rack up toast. I especially love hearing the sizzle as my bacon comes ready.

Air holes and bubbles tell you just how light this flapjack is without any fancy terms.

Somebody is getting a great pancake: Me!

I’ve enjoyed this view for three decades. I will be going back often in the next three (God willing.)

My advice is go in with a plan. They stack them up like cord-wood in this this place. The motto is “14 stools, one counter, no bathroom.” When you hit the door (and forget about it after 9 in the morning on a Saturday) you see the wall of people. Grab a menu, shuffle to the left or the right, and be ready when they ask for your order. You will not be forgotten. As a stool opens up, your order is already down on the grill. Coming at you a few minutes later, you have plenty of time to enjoy your breakfast, but don’t linger. Only jerks linger. Get off the stool, go to the coffee place and waste their time. The Ideal has people to feed and you’re stealing oxygen. They’d never tell you that, but when they smack that check down, it’s time for you to get up.

Tell them I sent you.

Oh, and if you read this far, and are kind enough to share the blog on Facebook, drop me a comment on the blog. The first person to do so will be getting a spiffy Ideal Diner coffee mug in the mail.

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