The Birdtown Café in Robbinsdale may only be a couple of months old, but co-owner Brad Eagles is no newcomer to the business. In fact, you can say it is in his blood.
Eagles has worked for a quarter century at nearby Broadway Pizza, which is owned by his family. In fact, he still works over at the pizza place as the general manager. So why start a new restaurant?
"I'm crazy I guess," says Eagles, who owns the restaurant with his wife, Jackie. "Basically, this is a small town within the city, with its own main street. It was missing a café. This is something I had been contemplating for the last couple of years."
The location, at 4135 W. Broadway, has been a number of restaurants over the years. That was part of the appeal for Eagles, as a lot of the high-price equipment was already taken care of. That doesn't mean there haven't been improvements. "We put a lot of work into it. We did cosmetic changes and cleaned. I replaced the cooking stuff because it was junk," he says.
The menu is straight-up American, featuring breakfast and lunch, both of which are available throughout the day, 6 am. to 2 p.m. Even in the short time it has been open, the restaurant has some fan favorites. That includes the cinnamon French toast, which is a "giant cinnamon roll, cut in half, and then dipped in batter," Eagles says.
There are plenty of omelets, scratch-made pancakes and waffles, and a variety of familiar breakfast items. The centerpiece may be the Fill It Skillet Challenge.
The skillet in question is a massive creation that Eagles found in an antique shop. Once he got it to the restaurant, he had plans for how to use it. If someone takes on the challenge, it is filled with scrambled eggs, hash browns, bacon, and ham. That is topped off with six slices of toast -- loaded with peanut butter. The challenge? Eat it in 30 minutes and the meal is free ($19.99 if you fail). You also get a T-shirt and your picture on the wall.
"So far we've had 19 attempts and 0 successes," Eagles says. Fans of competitive eating take note: The gauntlet has been laid down.
Lunch features a mix of burgers and sandwiches, with several salad options as well. Soups include a regular chicken wild rice and a soup of the day. The burgers and sandwiches stick to the basics, providing good portions of tasty, well-prepared food.
The years in the business prepared the Eagles for the headaches that come with opening a new restaurant, even ones that you can't plan for. "Our daughter broke her arm on a Friday, and we signed the lease on a Monday. It was an eventful weekend," he says.