When it comes to tiny breakfast joints, Al’s Breakfast in Dinkytown takes the cake.
Ubiquitous in the list of iconic places in the Twin Cities, the narrow stop is a whopping 9 feet long and 10 feet wide.
Al’s serves made-from-scratch breakfast fare, sass, and cramped quarters.
Paying homage to their history and neighborhood, you can find items like the Dinkytown Omelet or the West Bank Omelet on the menu.
So the story goes, in the 1940s, Al Bergstrom had driven a yeast truck for Anheuser-Busch and later went on to work at the Dutch Treat restaurant in Dinkytown.
Across the street from the Dutch Treat was “Bill’s Place,” a fourteen stool lunch counter restaurant.
Bill’s was wedged into an alley between then Simm’s Hardware and a building that would later become The Podium in the 1970s.
Al went on to buy Bill’s in 1950, renaming the place after himself.
Though the restaurant changed hands and moniker, Al did keep one thing that Bill started, “meal books”.
Meal books are essentially pre-paid charge accounts that became popular in areas where laborers and other blue-collar workers needed to make sure they were fed from paycheck to paycheck.
By the 1960s, Al’s had gone down to breakfast only.
Al retired in the 1970s though the place is still as it once was.
You can even buy one of the pre-paid books online in case you find yourself in need of a meal before payday.
Have you ever taken a seat at Al’s?