There was a day earlier this year when Kim Robinson thought she was walking out of the Ideal Diner forever. The owner was closing the place she, and her mother before her, had worked for decades. But she found she couldn’t quite turn her back on it for good. So the former employee decided to buy the Northeast landmark, bringing it up to code and back to the neighborhood.
After she made her decision, she called her mother. “Guess what I bought? The Ideal Diner.”
Her mother’s immediate response? “Why?” Her mom’s later response? To ask for a job. But Kim is doing just fine behind the counter on her own for now, along with chef Donna, who works the grill.
The interior is clean and bright. Lots is new like the windows, stools and floor, but the classic feel remains. Robinson was able to retain the old counter and the sign above the grill. “Where regular people feel special. And special people feel regular.” The new Ideal is open every day. Want a burger at 6am, or a pancake in the afternoon? No problem. The expanded menu is available from open to close, 6am to 4pm. The classic dishes remain, like the giant pancakes and pork tenderloin, but are now joined by new items like biscuits and gravy. All of these are served at Northeast prices, with lots of a la carte options.
Robinson says that lunch business is steady with her regulars returning, glad to be back. The lunch counter the day I visited was split pretty evenly between those having breakfast and lunch. My BLT was a solid, satisfying rendition of my favorite summer sandwich. Weekends bring in families coming for the classic American breakfast fare, So if you’re looking for diner food in Northeast, check out the Ideal Diner. It’s back and better than ever.
1314 Central Ave NE
Minneapolis, MN 55413
Open every day 6am to 4pm