A tostada from Hola Arepa
Massive caramel rolls, steak omelets, dim sum, and more notable brunches around the Cities
Twin CIties Eater: Fluffy ricotta short stacks, chicken fried steaks, and tender dim sum dumplings: there’s no better meal than brunch for the perpetually late, the always-hungry, and the slightly hungover. If you’re on the hunt for an Easter brunch this weekend, the Twin Cities have more than a few notable spots to explore: try soul food fried in an egg roll wrapper, eat a bacon cheddar biscuit at a drag show, or sample pistachio cream croissants in an elegant dining hall. Here’s a trail of some of the Twin Cities’ most essential brunch spots.
1. Wendy’s House of Soul
Minneapolis, MN 55405
On Glenwood Avenue in Minneapolis’s Near North neighborhood, chef Wendy Puckett serves her much-loved soul rolls: portions of soul food like greens, fried chicken, and mac and cheese rolled up into an egg roll wrapper and fried. Favorites are the aforementioned Nanny, the 9AM with eggs, turkey sausage, and Wendey’s Hot Mess sauce, or the Trell, made with French fries, gravy, and jalapeño. Wendy’s also serves other brunch options like chicken and waffles, caramel cakes, and the “Broadway Special” — smothered chicken over rice and gravy.
2. Saint Genevieve
Minneapolis, MN 55419
This intimate French bistro from chef Steven Brown serves a delicate omelet du jour on its focused and elegant brunch menu. Try the shrimp toast on Bakersfield sourdough with trout roe, the shakshouka en cocotte with lamb bacon and harissa, or the French toast with pork belly and chai whipped cream. For drinks, Saint Genevieve offers Vietnamese coffee, French press, mimosas, and bloody marys. Brunch hours are Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. — make a reservation ahead of time if you can.
3. The Lynhall
Minneapolis, MN 55408
The Lynhall’s brunch offerings are divided into separate breakfast and lunch menus (9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.) at both its original Lyn-Lake location and its newer Edina spot. The restaurant serves salmon tartines, rye crepes, shakshouka, and refined omelets (try the duck confit with caramelized red onions) in its sunny dining hall, plus a selection of cocktails, sparklings, and wines. But the real standouts are the pastries — lavender and pistachio croissants the size of small loaves of bread, stuffed with rich pastry creams.
4. Mandarin Kitchen
Bloomington, MN 55420
Find one of the Cities’ best dim sum brunches at Mandarin Kitchen in Bloomington. This restaurant located in a strip mall on Lyndale Avenue: on weekends, it’s packed with families, and the line often wraps out the door. Build your brunch off the voluminous menu: start with small dishes like pan-fried turnip cakes, and add pillowy steamed chicken buns, crispy egg custards, steamed pork dumplings, and chao zhou fun gor, a kind of steamed dumpling. At peak meal times, small parties of diners can expect to share tables — which only adds to Mandarin Kitchen’s bustling, convivial atmosphere.
5. Victor’s 1959 Cafe
Minneapolis, MN 55409
This classic south Minneapolis restaurant has been serving Cuban favorites and classics for more than 20 years. Order the Basque stew — eggs with a Creole stew of Spanish chorizo, ham, and vegetables — or the slow-cooked ropa vieja with eggs and plantains. Victor’s has a great coffee menu, too: try a cafe con leche sweetened with a house sugar paste, and pick it up at the little sliding glass window out front. Its cozy, newly renovated dining room and tropical-themed patio are now open for breakfast and lunch, Wednesday to Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. — Victor’s doesn’t take reservations.
6. Soul Bowl
Minneapolis, MN 55401
Soul Bowl started as a hit soul food pop-up on Lowry Avenue in north Minneapolis — after opening their restaurant at Graze food hall in the North Loop, chef Gerard Klass and co-owner Brittney Alice Klass expanded to a new location on Chicago Avenue in Richfield. Their menu is well-suited for brunch: build a bowl with bases like yellow rice or mac and cheese, then add plantains, yams, and black-eyed peas, and meats like jerk chicken and cajun salmon. Otherwise, try the fried chicken and waffles, or cheesecake with peach cobbler. Note that Soul Bowl is closed on Saturdays.
7. Hola Arepa
Minneapolis, MN 55408
Hola Arepa’s fluffy masa cakes are a beautiful canvas for slow-stewed meats, beans, queso fresco, sauces like chimichurri and tangy aioli verde, and vegetables. A vegetarian favorite is the braised jackfruit arepa, with radish, citrus crema, and fresh oregano. Hola Arepa also serves rice bowls, small plates, sweets like mango chia seed pudding, and an intriguing cocktail menu — its “Heat of the Moment” cocktail, made with Mezcal, passionfruit, and cinnamon has a customizable spice level. Dine-in, takeaway, and patio seating are all available.
8. Hell’s Kitchen Inc.
Minneapolis, MN 55402
Employee-owned since 2020, this quirky downtown Minneapolis icon serves infamous lemon ricotta pancakes (sell-your-soul-to-the-devil amazing, reviewers attest), dense sausage bread made with dates and black currants, and walleye hash and eggs. If you’re looking for a hearty brunch choice, Hell’s Kitchen also offers a bison flank steak benedict, served with a poached egg and tangerine-jalapeño hollandaise. Make a reservation ahead of time if you can.
9. LUSH Lounge & Theater
Minneapolis, MN 55413
After abruptly closing during the summer of 2020, Lush’s beloved drag brunch has returned under new ownership. This time around, it’s welcomed local biscuit favorite Betty and Earl’s into the kitchen: for brunch, try the lemon and blueberry biscuit, the baked French toast with cinnamon cream cheese, or the bacon cheddar biscuit brushed with garlic butter. Bottomless mimosas are on the menu too. Drag brunch runs every Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Shows tend to sell out a few weeks in advance, so plan ahead — and dress up, if you want: Saturday night’s outfits are welcome at Sunday morning’s Lush.
10. Ideal Diner
Minneapolis, MN 55413
Ideal Diner, built in 1949, is one of the oldest establishments on the Central Avenue food corridor in Northeast Minneapolis (look for its neon sign near 14th Street). Historically, the diner served Northeast’s working class communities — today, it’s one of the few spots in the Cities you can get a cup of coffee for $1.75. Brunch dishes are served all day: try the “Polish Man” breakfast of two eggs, Polish sausage, and hash browns, or the Nordeast omelet with steak and caramelized onions. The buttermilk short stacks are remarkably fluffy, too. Groups should note that Ideal Diner has just 14 stools, and one counter.
11. Maya Cuisine & Bar
Minneapolis, MN 55418
A local favorite for tacos and chile relleno tortas, Maya Cuisine in Northeast offers a brunch buffet every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The buffet varies week to week, but expect classic menu items like tamales, mole dishes, and pozole, plus pancakes, French toast, and desserts. Recent specials include shrimp fajitas, buttered codfish, and sopa de mariscos. Maya Cuisine’s buffet has returned from its pandemic hiatus after an outpouring of support from customers — reservations in advance are recommended.
12. Hot Hands Pie & Biscuit
St Paul, MN 55105
It’s all in the crust at Hot Hands. For brunch, choose from the savory pie selections — veggie pot pie, buffalo pot pie, or chicken pot pie (folklorically known as one of Minnesota’s best) — or sweet pies like caramelized vanilla with an oatmeal cookie crust, raspberry hazelnut with brown butter streusel, or banana cream, topped with a mascarpone that looks like fluffy ski moguls. Also on the menu are a variety of biscuit pairings, a breakfast sausage roll, and other pastries. Dine-in, takeout and delivery are all available.
13. Colossal Cafe
St Paul, MN 55105
An excellent spot for breakfast carbs, Colossal Cafe serves giant caramel rolls, crumbly biscuits, and yeast-based pancakes that rise to impressive heights. Try the simple short stack with maple syrup, or the signature topping of honey-brown sugar syrup, apples, walnuts, and slices of brie cheese. Other classics like omelets, frittatas, and breakfast sandwiches are available as well. Colossal also sells take-and-bake options that can be ordered in advance. Open for dine-in and takeaway.
14. Handsome Hog
St Paul, MN 55102
Step into chef Justin Sutherland’s Handsome Hog for a smoky, southern-style weekend brunch menu. Try the rock shrimp and grits, the ham-brined chop with eggs, or the house benedict with apple butter and Cajun hollandaise. (Sutherland serves southern cooking that’s hard to find elsewhere in the Twin Cities.) For drinks, try a bacon Old Fashioned or a bourbon bloody mary. Make a reservation ahead for dining inside or on the patio (weather permitting).
15. Hope Breakfast Bar
St Paul, MN 55102
Hope Breakfast bar has an extensive menu of savory plates for brunch. Bourbon smoked salmon toast, stuffed poblano with fried eggs and tortillas, and chicken fried steak and eggs are favorites. For something sweet, try the piña colada French toast, the fried pickle waffle, or the carrot cake pancakes, made with real cake batter. Hope donates 3 percent of its profits to neighborhood causes through its nonprofit Give Hope. Make a reservation ahead of time at its St. Paul or St. Louis Park location.
(Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission.)