On a Saturday in late October, I was up at the crack of dawn. After a grueling 5 a.m. workout (fun fact about me: I work out a lot and mostly before other people wake up in the morning), I drove just ten minutes in the early darkness to a not-yet-open Cafe Cravings. We sat in the deserted parking lot for about ten minutes, waiting for the doors to open. (This was early on in The Great Minnesota Breakfast Tour when we were super determined to never miss a weekend, no matter what the circumstances, so we had to go this venue in the early morning hours in order for my breakfast companion to get to a previously scheduled engagement.)
When we finally saw another car pull up and watched a person exit their vehicle and walk into the main entrance (details here are important because we also witnessed several cars pull up, only to have a person exit the vehicle dressed in full chef garb and enter the back entrance), we ventured out of our own car and into the restaurant. The small building looked like a converted boat house and was embellished with festive orange Christmas lights and other less than subtle Halloween decor. It might sound a little gaudy, but it was actually super precious, strangely nostalgic, and kind of made me want to call my Grandma.
We entered the nearly completely empty lil place, immediately seeing all seven tables. We headed straight forward (about 4 steps) to the main counter, where the mustached, only-other-customer was ordering. The menu, which is quite small and features only light options and a few traditional breakfast choices, was written colorfully on a blackboard behind the ordering counter. We quickly glanced at it, admiring the childish creativity and finalizing our breakfast choices. I decided to enjoy the Old Fashioned Oatmeal, made to order and served with raisins and brown sugar ($6.00 with the choice to add banana for $1.50) while my friend opted for the Seasonal Pumpkin Pancakes ($8.00). We also ordered caramel lattes (our signature drinks when we’re not feeling straight up coffee, though I personally am never not feeling straight up coffee) and selected a quiet lil corner table in the quiet lil shop.
Being one of two customers there, we got our food nearly immediately and dove right in. My oatmeal tasted like home. It tasted like the most traditional oatmeal I’ve had, making me wonder if it came from Quaker himself. After a few plain bites, I accidentally poured approximately an entire bag of brown sugar atop my oatmeal, making me wonder instead if it came from Willy Wonka himself. So, though I assume partial responsibility for this verdict, my food was only okay. My breakfast partner’s pumpkin pancakes were festively delicious, but uniquely crispier than the usual pancake fluff. We also both lacked enthusiasm regarding our lattes – my claim was that they were far too caramely, lacking the necessary kick of espresso. As always, I should have just ordered black coffee.
As we finished up our plates (completing our experience at only 7:30 a.m. – AH!), we observed our surroundings, expressing out loud how even more precious this place must be during the Christmas season. For the quality of our food and coffee, the prices were far too high, but the entirely adorable venue, friendly staff, and overall cozy experience absorbed most of our dissatisfaction.
Coffee Quality: 5
Food Quality: 6
Quality of Service: 9
Menu Variety: 6
Overall Satisfaction: 9
Parking: Large lot available
Average Score: 7.0
Have you been to Cravings White Bear Lake? Share your experience with me below!
OR…want to experience Cravings for yourself?
Check out their website or pop their address into your smartphone:
Cravings White Bear Lake
1600 East County Road E
White Bear Lake, MN 55110