Health Check: Longfellow Grill (Minneapolis, MN)

Here at Offbeat Eats, we occasionally like to do a “Health Check” review on favorite restaurants, to make sure everything is still going well. In this case, our visit to Minneapolis en route to Duluth gave me an opportunity to revisit an old favorite: the Longfellow Grill. I’ve had several visits to the Twin Cities since my 2009 Review, and while I’ve visited a few of the sister restaurants (particularly Groveland Tap), I’d not made it to Longfellow Grill. So we gathered up some local friends and my old bosses the University of Minneapolis (my PhD adviser, and my sysadmin boss during those same years) for a breakfast as we headed out of town.

Longfellow has always had a nice spot, located right next to the West River Parkway in Minneapolis by the Lake Street Bridge, and it’s always had a very nice outdoor terrace for dining. With our visit in mid-June, we were still in the “re-opening” phase of dining in Minneapolis: while Longfellow was re-opened for inside dining, a nice June morning is a great time for outdoor dining in Minnesota, so we had them seat us outside.

Menu-wise, I was really, really tempted to order one of my favorite dishes from my years living in the Twin Cities: when visiting the Highland Grill I’d often get the “Andrew’s Killer Banana Waffle”, a Belgian waffle practically buried under piles of caramelized bananas. Really tempted. But it’s also a serious, serious calorie hit, and my my nearly 50-year-old body doesn’t burn off calories like my 26-year-old body did when I had my first Killer Banana Waffle, and, facing a day that was mostly driving up to Duluth and the Grand Marais, I opted for my second favorite: the Eggs Benedict.

I never liked Eggs Benedict growing up, and I actually became a convert during my Minnesota years, at the long-gone Z’s Cafe, whose Benedicts and hashbrowns were the cornerstone of the menu. For years, my second-favorite Benedict was at Highland Grill, and the Longfellow version is a perfect recreation. This isn’t a fancy rendition, just the classic version done well: a grilled English Muffin (I’m shocked how many places miss this important step!), a generous layer of Canadian bacon, a perfectly poached egg, and, tying it all together, a Hollandaise sauce that’s the perfect combination of creamy, eggy, and tangy. With a side of perfectly crisped, shredded hashbrowns, this was a solid breakfast.

Carol, meanwhile, went for Longfellow’s rendition of Chilaquiles. Freshly-fried corn tortilla chips, ancho sauce, queso fresco, crumbled chorizo, pico de gallo, black beans, cilantro, and another pair of those perfectly-poached eggs, their version was quite enjoyable and tangy.

So, like our previous visits, the Longfellow Grill is doing quite well: the food is still excellent, the location pleasant, and the staff nice. Indeed, it remains one of the better places for an outdoor breakfast in Minneapolis, even in non-Covid times.

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