Welcome to the second installment of Who Knew! Today we'll be discussing my startling discovery that there's actually a bar and restaurant in my neighborhood with the total package. What's the total package? The total package being a great bar, great food, a weekend brunch, late-night dining, outdoor seating, comfortable atmosphere, close to home, and friendly staff.
I know what you're thinking. "But, Alexis, there are all sorts of great places like that in Northeast."
Yeah... not really. Lots of places can boast a few of those things; like the Peacock Lounge, 331 Club, Psycho Suzi's, Spring Street Tavern (where 40% of the staff consists of either my high school alumni or people who married my high school alumni), Modern Cafe, and Jax. But each of them falls short by lacking at least one of the above elements of the total package. So you can imagine how downright excited I was when I found Mill City Cafe.
And now you're thinking, "but, Alexis, that place has been there forever. And it's not a bar or a restaurant. It's just a coffee shop."
Nay. That was Mill City Coffee. This is Mill City Cafe. (And it's been like two other things, too, hasn't it?) Confusing, I know, but check it out: it's the same location, same building, even the same coffee. But now, thanks to new owners Shay Gallagher and Mandy Zechmeister, it's also got a full bar, full menu, and lots of potential.
These girls scooped up the space late last fall and have been tweaking it, little by little, over the past year. Both Shay and Mandy are huge wine enthusiasts, so the bar offers plenty of selections in that department. They also offer $2 Premiums and $3 Summits, all day every day, as well as a happy hour special that includes discounts on cocktails from their extensive liquor array.
I've only eaten at Mill City Cafe once, for brunch this past Sunday, and it was great. I had the biscuits and gravy (with your choice of portabello mushroom or Italian sausage gravy) with scrambled eggs and thyme roasted potatoes. For yum! Portabellos are not exactly my favorite variety of mushroom, but they're diced up to a very manageable size and tossed in a thick, flavorful gravy, then poured over three homemade biscuit halves. The thyme-roasted potatoes aren't just seasoned with thyme; they've got just enough of a cayenne kick to them that you won't even need a splash of the Frank's Red Hot or a squirt of the Srirachi, both of which top every table alongside the salt and pepper.
Comments on the new Mill City Cafe on Minneapolis Happy Hour do mention the only unpleasant thing I've experienced so far: painfully slow service. I'm giving them a break, though. It's mostly owners Shay and Mandy that are doing everything. Making coffee, wiping down tables, taking orders, pouring beers, even slaving away in the kitchen, perfecting a million-ingredient veggie burger that's not quite perfect enough for the menu yet.
The official grand opening of Mill City Cafe is Friday, October 6th, at which time they'll also roll out some new menu items that will include a small plates selection available for late night. Hooray! Good food, good beer, and late at night in my neighborhood. Finally.