It’s Saturday morning. And it’s early. This morning we ventured out onto the breakfast scene abnormally early. You see, typically my morning work out pushes us to head to breakfast at 9 at the earliest. But, while my brother and I are training for the Monster Dash half marathon, I’m trying to be flexible on the timing of my Saturday runs in order to run with my brother. (If you know me at all, you know getting me to not work out right away in the morning is like trying to not slap someone who asks you if you got a haircut but doesn’t compliment you on it.) But what does this fun but seemingly unrelated fact mean for The Great Minnesota Breakfast Tour? It means we trekked to Tiny Diner at 8 this morning – thank goodness they welcome early birds like us starting at 7 each day.
We swung into the tiny (see what I did there?) parking lot and walked through a fun outdoor seating area, packed with picnic tables and a giant rustically woven stick tower that several children were frolicking in and out of. When we got into the venue, it was unclear whether we were to seat ourselves or wait for some assistance. Because everyone looked preoccupied and no one approached us, we took the initiative to sit at a small (tiny…) table right in the middle of the restaurant.
An energetic man rocking a Halloween orange t-shirt immediately brought us a couple of waters and menus, noting that our ‘real’ server would be with us shortly. And shortly it was, for as soon as he stepped away, a waitress appeared, inquiring about our drink orders. My friend opted for a latte while I demanded my usual bottomless cup of coffee. My coffee came quickly and stunned me from the start. Each cup that I drank was rich and smooth. I could hardly stop sipping long enough to look at the menu. When I finally pulled away, I found that the breakfast menu is a good one. There’s lots of variety, offering unique meals, classic dishes, and unique twists on classics. Many of the choices are also moderately, if not cheaply, priced. My friend and I happened to (of course) select a couple of the more expensive options. I decided on the Two Eggs Any Style + protein, potatoes, and toast ($12). My breakfast companion selected the Steak and Eggs ($12.75).
While we waited for our meals, we admired the true diner feeling of the venue. Our little stainless steel table was paired with old-school metal chairs and we were seated next to a traditional diner bar which faced the kitchen, giving us ample opportunity to peer into, and, naturally, evaluate, the cooking area. We had some people-watching fun.
Then, my meal arrived. And I smiled wide. The plate was full and the variety of items on it looked absolutely heavenly. My scrambled eggs were fluffy, thick, and moderately seasoned – exactly how eggs should be. The hashbrowns were incredible. The mound of potatoes were fried to a crisp on the outside while maintaining a soft, thick, and genuine potato taste on the inside. Yum. I mixed my smoked pressed tofu into my eggs and, though I don’t know much about how tofu is supposed to be cooked, I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was rather spicy, due to what I assumed was some sort of chili powder sprinkled on top. That obviously required I chug several glasses of water throughout the meal, but I didn’t mind. Then, finally, and most importantly, my meal was topped with two slices of gluten-free toast. Seeing as this is the first time I’ve eaten toast in months, these slices were to die for. I managed to refrain from stuffing my face with both of them immediately, even saving one for later in the day to top with peanut butter. Not directly related to this breakfast experience, but still amazing.
My breakfast companion’s breakfast was also pretty tasty. Though she was rather disappointed with her steak, (it was pretty tough and didn’t have a ton of flavor itself – the flavor came only from the gravy on top), her hashbrowns were delicious. She agreed that there was a nice balance between the crisp top layer and the mashed, potatoey part. She also noted that her over easy eggs were actually over easy! Often restaurants overcook them and the yolks aren’t perfectly runny like they’re supposed to be. But Tiny Diner got it right. She topped off her meal with some dry wheat toast topped with sweet, fresh jam and washed it all down with the best latte she’s had on the tour. BEST. LATTE. High praise, Tiny Diner, high praise.
The Tiny Diner served up huge flavor, big happiness, and giant smiles. The staff is great, the atmosphere casual, and the food/coffee fantastic. This is one tiny place that I’d hugely recommend.
Coffee Quality: 10
Food Quality: 8
Quality of Service: 10
Menu Variety: 10
Overall Satisfaction: 9
Parking: street parking
Average Score: 9.2
Have you been to Tiny Diner?
Share your experience with me below!
OR…want to experience Tiny Diner for yourself?
Check out their website or pop their address into your smartphone:
1024 East 38th St.