Though this fall The Great Minnesota Breakfast Tour’s path has been unpredictable and largely infrequent, this morning was one of those mornings on which we went to breakfast. And, based on the name of today’s venue, perhaps you thought we were headed for an early-morning leisurely workout. But alas, at Elsie’s we didn’t lace up dirty community shoes and stick our fingers into snug holes of bacteria – we ate breakfast.
As light rain drizzled down, we pulled into a large parking lot filled with few other cars and proceeded to follow two other early birds into a secluded back entrance of the building. I can’t express the importance of following the leader enough here, for without the two elderly men in front of us, we would have never made it to the dining area. Mr. I take No Shave November Very Seriously and Mr. I’ve Been Wearing This Baseball Cap Since 1974, thank you for confidently weaving in and out of doors, behind curtains, and across bowling alleys in front of us – you allowed us to eat breakfast this morning.
When we finally arrived at a small corner booth of the dining area, we were both proud and fatigued. Luckily, a cheery waitress brought us a couple of coffees (the quality of which was what you’d expect from a bowling alley, but we were still grateful) and we proceeded to peruse the breakfast menu. The menu at Elsie’s isn’t terribly large or variety-filled, but does offer all the homestyle versions of your breakfast classics. I selected a modified version of the Breakfast Burrito ($10) and my breakfast companion chose the Country Hash ($8). After ordering, we sat back and relaxed for a few minutes in anticipation of our meals. Though our corner of the dining area was quiet, the rest of the space was bustling with groups of neighborhood friends, chumming about. The atmosphere was relaxed, people were happy, and life was good.
Soon, our food came. My meal, which is supposed to be served in a flour tortilla, ended up being served as more of a Mexican omelette. My scrambled eggs encased onions, green peppers, and Italian sausage, and were topped with a hefty helping of salsa verde. The ordering without the tortilla was obviously my fault, but I ended up with a breakfast that was less than satisfying. The sausage bits were far too large and the entire thing was doused in way too much salsa. The eggs were stiff and lacked flavor. I didn’t even end up finishing my whole ‘burrito’ (and that’s saying something). On the side, my hash browns were traditional – crispy yet moist, and too small in quantity. All in all, I left disappointed and a little hungry.
My breakfast companion enjoyed her food far more than I did. She got Elsie’s country hash, which was comprised of diced prime rib and potatoes in a savory brown sauce. Atop the hash stood two poached eggs and the whole meal came with a side of toast. She noted that the hash itself was extremely savory. The gravy made the dish take on the consistency of a casserole or hotdish – thick and comforting. On top, the poached eggs added another layer of good flavor and their runny yolks acted almost like an additional sauce. And although the meal came in a relatively small dish, it was super filling and she didn’t even really end up needing the toast on the side (though they were nice for dipping).
Though the coffee wasn’t great and our meals weren’t anything special, we found Elsie’s oddly charming. We didn’t have to wait for a table and encountered friendly and optimistic friends, both in service and among our fellow patrons. I’d say, for a bowling alley, Elsie’s serves up a decent breakfast experience.
Coffee Quality: 7
Food Quality: 7
Quality of Service: 8
Menu Variety: 7
Overall Satisfaction: 8
Parking: street parking
Average Score: 7.5
Have you been to Elsie’s?
Share your experience with me below!
OR…want to experience Elsie’s for yourself?
Check out their website or pop their address into your smartphone:
729 Marshall St. NE
Minneapolis, MN 55413