BEST DINER - 2008
These days, the closest most people will get to eating in a train diner car is going to Mickey's Diner in the heart of downtown St. Paul. But even if this iconic diner isn't going anywhere, you should make the trip. The neon sign and promise of good, pretty cheap food attract a cross section of the Twin Cities population around the clock, and one of the place's biggest draws is the promise of breakfast anytime. Local lore says that Mickey's, open 24 hours, has been serving up greasy-spoon fare nonstop since it opened in 1939. Mickey's is justly famous for its classic hash browns—gloriously greasy but not at all heavy, with some edges extra-crisp and the potatoes tender in the middle. Try them or the O'Brien potatoes for a perfect complement to the light and fluffy pancakes. And it's almost impossible to resist Mickey's famous mulligan stew, made from the same pre-WWII recipe as always. If all the stools at the counter are occupied, and the notoriously cramped booths are full, try Mickey's quieter second location on West Seventh Street; it's less intimate than the original but has its own '50s-era charm—and the food is just as good.