Mickey’s Diner. Photo by Todd Buchanan
Each month, in our Restaurants Revisited conversation, MnMo food critics Jason DeRusha and Joy Summers return to an “old favorite” restaurant and assess how it’s faring.
Jason: So, what’s your usual Mickey’s order?
Joy: I don’t even need a menu: America’s Favorite All Day. Eggs over easy, sausage, and rye—with a coffee. Done!
Jason: I’m a patty melt guy, side of hash browns, and it’s everything I need.
Joy: If I bring my son, he has to get a milkshake so I can “share.” I love the built-in nostalgia glinting in the chrome and red vinyl seats. When clicking the old jukebox numbers in the booths, I had to explain what a 45 was to my kid.
Jason: The old railroad car has been in downtown St. Paul there since the 1930s. It’s an icon, and the food holds up. It’s everything you want a diner to be.
Joy: It’s not uncommon to see elected officials sandwiched between families and folks who might be down on their luck. It’s a cross section of the city. Everyone is treated the same—the gruff, begrudgingly kind servers work that room harder than just about anyone in the business.
Jason: My favorite staffer is Mary, who I’d describe as lovably surly. When my friend Tom tried to order a side of beans and coleslaw, she turned to me and said, “What a loser.” When she figured out I was on TV, she said, “I don’t watch the news, you guys are terrible.” At the end we hugged and took a selfie.
Joy: Mary, I don’t even know you, but I love you.
Jason: The bean soup is solid, the mulligan stew tastes like my mom’s beef and vegetable version, and what they do with the coleslaw is genius—they serve it plain and then you mix in the dressing. It’s crispy, fresh, and brilliant.
Joy: Burgers are thin with shiny orange cheese. Pancakes can be made in the shape of a Mickey Mouse head. Plus, it’s all wonderfully affordable. Just be prepared to stand and wait patiently—and cozily—for a seat during peak hours. It’s nothing fancy, but it’s as American as Highway 61. And I do love leaving there with the perfume of fried hash browns clinging to my hair.
Mickey’s Diner Quick Tips:
Parking: Mickey’s has its own free lot!
Cashing Out: Pay at the register
Booths: Reserved for parties of 4-plus
Mickey’s Diner, 36 W. seventh St., St. Paul, 651-222-5633, mickeysdiningcar.com