I've found that Minnesota bars and restaurants outside of the Twin Cities carry certain hallmarks.
- Gigantic menus covering an impossibly wide range of food.
- Breakfast served any time of the day.
- Vinyl booth seating and formica countertops.
- Huge portions.
- Pie on the menu.
- Extremely reasonable prices.
Ok so I'm generalizing, there are plenty of locations that don't conform to all of the above standards, but my experience of greater Minnesota dining tends to include at least some of those elements.
There's something insatiably wholesome and very Minnesotan about it, yet it's something that becomes harder to find when you enter the Twin Cities.
These places exist the further out into the suburbs you get, but it's rare you find a place that replicates in particular the menu prices you find in small-town Minnesota.
One place you will find it though is Curran's Family Restaurant, which for more than 70 years has been plying its trade at Nicollet and 42nd in south Minneapolis first as a root beer stand and then a drive-in before becoming the restaurant that stands today.
Check out its (extensive) menu, where burgers start for less than $5 and large steak, chicken, fish, and country meals can be had for a fraction of what you'll pay in most Minneapolis restaurants.
We're obviously not the first to cotton on to Curran's. CityPages lauded its good-value breakfasts and $1.49 pie slices a couple years back, noting that its reputation is such that it brings 500-600 customers through its doors each day.
Southwest Journal perhaps summed it up best last year when it described the restaurant as "a square peg in the hipster hole that is foodie-mad Minneapolis."
For sure it's popular among older clientele, but owner Dennis Curran told the Southwest Journal that its value transcends generations, attracting high schoolers and post-gig revelers taking advantage of its bargain prices.
Knowing this, don't be surprised to see it flourish beyond the foodie revolution and stick around for another 70 years and beyond in Minneapolis.