One of the paradoxical things about dining in restaurants is that the experience is not always about the food. Consider places like Mickey's Diner, Mancini's, or the Copper Dome in St. Paul's Highland Park. While the Dome's pancakes are textbook and the selection of breakfast meats is staggering, realistically there's nothing you can order that couldn't be replicated in your own kitchen, where you can use real butter and make coffee that doesn't taste like it should be served in a church basement. But what the Dome has going for it is a huge comfort factor, which sometimes supersedes the need for pretense or a mission statement or even real maple syrup. Knowing that the same dusty, ceramic fake food will be "cooking" atop the stove in the waiting area, and that the borderline-offensive old flour advertisements will always adorn the Copper Dome's walls, provides a weird sense of security. In a fast-paced industry that's so... More >>>