Pancakes from Mercury Dining Room

5 great breakfasts

Rise and shine! Fill up at one of these morning institutions, ranging from traditional to postmodern to posh.

Hell’s Kitchen

80 S. 9th St., Mpls.
Breakfast plate at Hell's Kitchen Tom Sweeney

Where downtowners breakfast. Classics are prepared with skill, but the reason to visit is for the house specialties. How about a hash featuring slightly crisped-up walleye, Minnesota’s official state fish? Or a steaming bowl of porridge made with hand-harvested wild rice from the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, sweetened with cranberries and maple syrup? Or a short stack of tender hot cakes — the secret is ricotta cheese — with pops of lemon? Check out the weekend bloody Mary/Mimosa bar, and be sure to visit neighboring Angel Food Bakery + Donut Bar, the restaurant’s fried-dough-obsessed sibling. Doors open at 7 a.m. weekdays and 7:30 a.m. weekends.

(612) 332-4700

Manny’s Steakhouse

825 Marquette Av. S., Mpls.
View of front awning of Manny's Steakhouse Bre McGee

Good luck trying to get a dinner reservation at the city’s top-performing steakhouse — its Final Four seats are a hot ticket. But breakfast? That’s likely another story. The standards are all present and accounted for, in plus-size portions, including buttermilk pancakes, brioche French toast, steel-cut oatmeal and a smoked salmon scramble. Then there’s the beef: a dry-aged sirloin with a pair of eggs; braised Kobe-style short ribs as the starring attraction in a Benedict and an omelet stuffed with prime rib. Don’t miss the hefty side orders of the pride of Wittenberg, Wis., Nueske’s bacon. Doors open at 6:30 a.m. daily.

(612) 339-9900

Mercury Dining Room & Rail

505 Marquette Av. S., Mpls.
Breakfast plate at Mercury Dining Elizabeth Flores

This heart-of-downtown gathering spot is part of the Blue Plate Restaurant Co., which knows its way around breakfast, since it operates a half-dozen popular restaurants across the Twin Cities. The varied menu covers all kinds of ground, veering from basics (enormous buttermilk pancakes, eggs-any-style with toast, a straight-up Benedict) to livelier fare that includes a Denver-style frittata, tender biscuits buried under pork sausage gravy, a rib-sticking meatloaf hash and a feisty a.m. tostada with chorizo, black beans, guacamole and scrambled eggs. Doors open at 7 a.m. weekdays and 8 a.m. weekends.

(612) 728-1111

Penny’s Coffee

100 Washington Av. S., Mpls.
Main sign of Penny's Coffee Provided photo

What might qualify as the city’s best-looking coffeehouse is more than just a caffeine filling station, it’s also a fine quick-service breakfast destination, specializing in skillfully prepared crêpes, both sweet (salted honey butter, cinnamon-sugar) and savory (mozzarella-basil-sundried tomato, ham-Gruyère), at reasonable prices. Another draw? A boffo breakfast sandwich, featuring a fried egg and excellent sausage from Minneapolis’ Lowry Hill Meats, and tempting baked goods from chef Shawn McKenzie. Doors open at 7 a.m. weekdays, 8 a.m. weekends.


Rise Bagel

530 N. 3rd St., Mpls.
Breakfast sandwich at Rise Bagel Megan McCrink

Siblings (and self-described “bread heads”) Kate Lloyd and Jen Lloyd are doing their part to improve the Twin Cities’ sorry bagel landscape. After taking a cross-country bagel-tasting odyssey and tinkering with a boil-and-bake formula, they hit pay dirt, first selling at farmers markets but recently launching a handy and appealing brick-and-mortar outlet, giving fans of these crusty, chewy and tantalizingly golden bagels a daily outlet for their obsession. Schmears, yes, along with egg-stuffed bagel sandwiches and fabulous gravlax. Doors open at 6 a.m. weekdays, 7 a.m. weekends.

(612) 354-3349