This morning when I ventured to Maria’s Cafe, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was excited to meet and dine with an old friend who had raved about this venue, but I feared that her love for the place may alter my evaluation of the experience. So, I intentionally deflated any expectations that I had and headed to Maria’s as tabula rasaed as possible.
The restaurant looks miniature from the outside, tucked away in a strange, wilderness-themed strip mall in Minneapolis. I sauntered down the hallway, following the bear tracks (yes, actual painted bear tracks on the marble floor) to the entrance of Maria’s. I walked through two empty dining rooms filled with tables and chairs until I at last reached civilization in the third dining room. It was actually quite lively in there, with many families seated at large tables and groups of old men chumming it at the breakfast bar. My breakfast companion had already gotten us a table, so I plopped down and was immediately offered a coffee. A+ for coffee service, Mr. Waiter.
I hadn’t see my friend for awhile so we spent most of our menu perusing time chatting, forcing our waiter to come back a few times before we actually ordered. The breakfast menu wasn’t extremely extensive, but they did offer a few variations of breakfast favorites including egg combos, pancakes, etc. I selected the Hot Oatmeal with Toast ($4.50) and added raisins and wild rice ($1.95). My breakfast companion settled on eggs and toast with hash browns and salsa ($7.25). After ordering we went back to our chatter, only to be interrupted four or five times by a lovely lady who diligently filled my coffee cup. I welcome those kind of interruptions.
Our food came (an adverb to illustrate the speed at which our food came would be really nice here, but I honestly have no concept of how long it took because I was talking too much and drinking coffee too much) and we paused our chatting briefly to enjoy our meal. My oatmeal was divine. Why don’t more people top oatmeal with wild rice, especially in Minnesota? It’s fantastic. The raisin-wild-rice-brown-sugar combo in a bed of creamy oats was just delicious. My side of multigrain toast topped with butter and wildberry jam was also a tasty addition. My breakfast companion loved her eggs and toast, noting her particular love for her side of salsa. Her hash brown, potatoey side, however, was a bit hard and undercooked.
We enjoyed more chatter over the rest of our meal and when I finished up the last few bites of my oatmeal, the seventy-five dining rooms of the cafe were beginning to fill. We rose to leave, filing out through zesty children, tired parents, and other cheery patrons. My tummy was satisfied, my interpersonal conversation tank was full, and I left Maria’s with a smile.
Coffee Quality: 7
Food Quality: 9
Quality of Service: 9
Menu Variety: 6
Overall Satisfaction: 8
Parking: Street and lot parking
Average Score: 7.8
Have you been to Maria’s Cafe? Share your experience with me below!
OR…want to experience Maria’s for yourself?
Check out their website or pop their address into your smartphone:
1113 E. Franklin Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55404