Citizen Cafe

This morning I woke slowly, emerging from my toasty comforter cocoon to see the world blanketed in shiny, fluffy snow. For a moment I simply appreciated the beauty of our Minnesota nature…and then I had to bring my dog out to pee and shovel that freaking fluff off of my driveway and that appreciation quickly faded. But wait! I see a faint light at the end of the tunnel! That light was breakfast at Citizen Cafe.

I had certainly worked up an appetite after a brutal shovel session, so I could hardly wait the slippery commute to this breakfast venue in Minneapolis. We parked in their back mini parking lot and trucked it up to the front door. Upon entering, we sauntered through a quaint archway that doubled as a bookshelf and were greeted by a cheery, rosy-cheeked waitress who offered us our choice of tables in the nearly empty dining room. She seated us at a large table, with chairs on one side and a long wooden bench, complete with comfy plush pillows, on the other side. Before I could sit down she was offering me coffee and was off in a flash to retrieve it.

citizen insideThe inside of this venue was adorable – both my friend and I immediately gushed at how much we loved the place. Rather small, the tables seemed surprisingly intimate and the artsy chandelier, still dressed in Christmas ornaments, gave the dining room a quirky elegance that I fell in love with. Our waitress brought me a strong cup of coffee with a lil baby pitcher of cream and I sipped while scouring the menu. Though the menu is rather small, they offer an incredible variety of items and unique twists on the classics. I was surprised and excited to see many items that would have fulfilled my specific and narrow ordering standards (house-made granola, fresh fruit and yogurt, and a rotating organic smoothie of the day).

I was excited to order the steel cut oats ($7), especially when our waitress explained their unique consistency and ingredient list. She warned me that the oats were grilled and formed into squares, preparing me that I would not be getting a traditional bowl and spoon. Little did she know, I’d been eating traditional oats at breakfast venues for months – bring on the squares! My friend agonized over her selection, eventually settling on the Citizen Pig ($12), which included two eggs, a white cheddar waffle, a ham and pork schnitzel, and maple demi glaze.

After ordering, our waitress topped off my coffee (at exactly the right time – when my coffee was nearly at the bottom, but not completely empty so that I didn’t have to drink those last two inches of pure sugar crap that’s settles at the bottom of the mug) and we chatted for just a few minutes before being presented with our fantastic-looking breakfasts. Just looking at them, we were both incredibly excited to dig in. But the exciting part was actually eating. UGH. My steel cut oatmeal squares were hands down one of the best breakfast items I’ve ever eaten. They were steaming, firm yet moist bars infused with apricots, cherries, and nuts, then grilled for a mild crispy outer layer and drizzled with salted molasses. I could not get enough. I downed all three squares no problem and even though I was pleasantly full, I wanted more, more, more!

citizen cafe oatmeal

My breakfast companion’s breakfast was just as uniquely divine. The waffle was technically a cheddar waffle, but it wasn’t overwhelmingly cheesey and was perfectly crispy without being at all soggy or chewy. The ham and pork schnitzel was huge – nearly covering the entire waffle, allowing for each and every bite to include the savory meat. The entire stack was then topped with eggs, offering a layered experience almost like a breakfast sandwich. The final touch, a maple demi glaze, gave the dish a touch of sweetness, making it the ultimate sweet and savory breakfast experience.

citizen cafe emily

After thoroughly enjoying every last bite of our meals and mourning our empty plates, we sat back and watched the snow drizzle down, not wanting to leave just yet. (We also took turns visiting the bathroom where there was a framed article explaining menopause. Yet another unexpected and enjoyable element of our time there.) We paid our reasonably priced bill (slightly higher than average, but worth every single penny, maybe more) and reluctantly layered on our winter gear. Despite the snowy conditions and blistering wind, our morning at Citizen Cafe was absolutely perfect. As we power walked to the car, we were already making plans to soon revisit the cafe they call Citizen.

The Ratings
Coffee Quality: 8
Food Quality: 9
Quality of Service: 10
Cost: 8
Menu Variety: 9
Overall Satisfaction: 10
Parking: Street and lot parking
Average Score: 9.0

citizen cafe outside

Have you been to Citizen Cafe? Share your experience with me below!
OR…want to experience Citizen Cafe for yourself? You can’t!
Citizen has since closed. But Pilgrimage Cafe now lives in the
building that Citizen once did, and I’ll be visiting there soon.

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