Today's unnecessarily hard question: What's the name of this St. Paul restaurant?

Is this the Copper Dome or the Randolph Griddle? Depends where you look.

Is this the Copper Dome or the Randolph Griddle? Depends where you look. Sarah Brumble

Near the corner of Randolph and Hamline Avenues in St. Paul, an institution has served floofy pancakes, cheesy omelettes, and sizzling skillets since 1960. Its name? Great question. It’s either the Copper Dome or the Randolph Griddlehard to say which at the moment.

The Copper Dome was a breakfast icon, with a bible of a menu. Obama stopped by in 2008, leaving in his wake a “Presidential Booth” alongside a “Boss Booth” and “Power Booth,” to name a few. Decorated with framed flour sacks and those quintessential farmhouse-style chairs your Aunt Donna had at her kitchen table, people loved the Dome because it was old and reliable.

Then, in 2014, the Casper empire (of The Nook, West St. Paul’s Cherokee Tavern, Shamrock’s, etc.) bought the greasy spoon. With his new toy, “Tommy C” Casper did the unthinkable by updating the menu a smidge and changing the place’s name to the Randolph Griddle. Meanwhile, he kept the old name on the menus themselves in small print (“The Randolph Griddle: known as the Copper Dome”), as if the power of the Dome could be harnessed so casually. 

That was the last big hooplah to happen at Randolph and Hamline, according to media. Or such was the case until a week-ish ago, when a reader summoned City Pages with a question:

There's a Copper Dome banner on the wall of the Randolph Griddle on the corner of Randolph and Hamline and I'm curious if it's coming back as the Copper Dome or what? Ownership switch? The people (me and my wife) want to know!

The internet proved uniquely (perpetually?) useless in sussing out the matter. The Randolph Griddle’s website is dead, whereas the Copper Dome’s site appears as nothing more than a vibrant landing page composed of a map and hours of operation… nothing else. In true old-school St. Paul fashion, an in-person visit seemed the easiest way to settle the issue.

A busy Sunday afternoon found the joint bustling, with a (true-to-tip) Copper Dome banner flapping out front. An official-looking man and woman team took turns in support roles—running food, checking on tables, managing the wait list, and… distributing Randolph Griddle menus.

After the big rush, Lisa Peirson sat down for a chat. Turns out she and business partner Sandy Holm (the other official gent bustling about) had quietly assumed ownership of the restaurant from Casper in January. 

“Yes, it’s the Copper Dome again,” Peirson confirmed. “We’re aiming for new menus next week. The food will be more streamlined, and we're adding new things, too, like appetizers at lunch.”

Peirson promised customer favorites would go untouched in the menu update. At the forefront of the new owners’ intentions is recapturing the spirit of the old Dome. Just a few months into this adventure, Holm and Peirson remain hopeful they'll be able to capture lost fans of the place.

Stay tuned for how this rebirth plays to a crowd already wary of change. After all, a little nostalgia can go a long way—for better or worse.

The Copper Dome
1333 Randolph Ave., St Paul