In the grand scheme of parenthood, it seems like a petty, unimportant fear, but I’m just going to own it: .008% of me was worried that, after having kids, I would no longer get to sample the Twin Cities’ amazing restaurants. If you have the same fear, I’m here to tell you that sure, you probably won’t be sitting at the bar at Spoon and Stable on a random Tuesday night, but if you’re open to dining out before 11 am, you’re golden. Here are a few of our favorite places to get breakfast with a toddler (and bonus caffeine or alcohol additions).
Caveat: These are mostly restaurants in my area of Minneapolis—I would love to hear your suggestions from around the metro!
The menu at Tiny Diner rotates every few months to feature a different U.S. city, but that’s not the only thing that keeps us coming back: the patio is one of the best in town. When your kid gets restless, take them on a stroll through the garden and play a rousing game of “name that plant.” There’s even a hut for hide and seek and photo ops.
A Baker’s Wife/Angry Catfish
Here’s your itinerary: bring a partner and split up. One of you gets Baker’s Wife donuts for everyone (I recommend anything with sprinkles); the other gets coffee for the adults from Angry Catfish, a coffeeshop that doubles as a bike repair store. Eat your healthy, balanced breakfast on the street patio outside of Angry Catfish, or walk it three blocks to the playground at Lake Hiawatha which has an epic splash pad and a pretty killer view.
Adorned with plaid wallpaper and gilded frames, this cozy neighborhood spot might not seem like a natural fit for a sticky toddler. But, if you go before 10 am, there’s a limited but delicious breakfast menu and you’ll basically have the place to yourself. After breakfast, drop your kids off at the art studio next door if you need some alone time, or take them to the playground down the street.
If Anthropologie had a restaurant, this is what it would look like—but that doesn’t mean it’s too precious for kids. If there’s a wait, there are enough interesting things on the patio to keep a curious toddler entertained (shiny red chairs! a pig statue! plants!), and as a bonus, an airplane flies overhead every seventeen seconds. It’s also right off the Minnehaha Creek bike trail, making it the perfect reward for a leisurely family bike ride. A healthy selection of pre-breakfast pastries keep grubby little hands from grabbing the silverware.
Birchwood cemented itself as a go-to when they brought our kid food mere minutes after we sat down. Thank goodness they proved kid-friendly because I would hate to stop going there for one of my favorite breakfasts in the Twin Cities: the savory waffle. My daughter recommends sitting outside by the Nice Ride bike rack so she can say the word “bike” over, and over, and over, and over.
Drink pairing: peach basil bellini
The walls of this kitschy diner on the west side of Lake Nokomis are chock full of vintage paintings, thrifted paint by numbers, and other weird finds—in other words, plenty of eye spy fodder. The food is solid diner fare with just enough twists to keep things interesting (the peanut butter pancakes are my go-to), the place is packed with kids so no one is phased by a tantrum, and you’re just a few blocks away from the impressive and new-ish Triangle Park.
This French bistro is owned by Tilia’s chef, so it makes sense that it would be equally as kid-friendly. $4 kid entrees that come out quickly, a lunchbox full of toys and insanely delicious food make St. Genevieve a win.
Five Watt Coffee
On Sundays, Five Watt Coffee has an oatmeal bar with toppings from walnuts to sprinkles. It’s small and packed, but it’s loud so your kids can make as much noise as they want—and you get fancy coffee out of the deal. After breakfast, the impressive MLK Park is just a few blocks down Nicollet.