Mickey's Diner has everything a diner should have: greasy food, thick milkshakes, jukebox tunes, and cranky waitresses. Serving up good eats and free downtown parking 24 hours a day since it opened in St. Paul in 1939, this restaurant was designed to resemble the dining railroad cars of its time. I remember coming here as a kid from the Minnesota suburbs and falling for its train-like appearance and neon sign out front. Mickey's felt almost magical to me, like stepping into an imagined scene from my parents' childhood. I think it's why, to this day, I feel compelled to stop into any diner I stumble upon for some simple fare and retro ambiance.
There's no children's menu but food is affordable at Mickey's Diner. Even picky eaters can find something they like here from hamburgers and B.L.T.s, to eggs and pancakes from their all-day breakfast menu. I found the fried chicken a little bland and dry but the burgers were a big hit with my teenage triplet niece and nephews. My sister wished she could have a second serving of Mickey's Mulligan stew. And although I'm not typically a baked beans kind of a gal, I gobbled up my side of homemade brown-sugared, not-too-mushy legumes. Of course, you'll want to get a shake or malt. Choose from vanilla, chocolate, banana, raspberry, or strawberry. They'll even split your choice in half (or thirds) for those with small stomachs or considerable restraint.
I've got good news and I've got bad news. The good news is the mini jukeboxes perched on every table really work and play oldies by artists like Elvis Presley, Hank Williams, and Patsy Cline. The bad news is your 3-year-old (if he's anything like mine) will be so enthralled with this contraption that he will take only a bite or two of his grilled cheese sandwich. Instead he will insist on putting change into the machine again…and again…and again. Luckily, he will like to press the return change button more than actually playing music, so this activity won't cost much.
Mickey's Diner fame
Mickey's Diner might sound familiar to you and I'll tell you why. This restaurant has appeared on the Food Network's Unwrapped, Rachel Rays' Tasty Travels, Alton Brown's Feasting on Asphalt, and Roker on the Road. It's also been featured in movies like Jingle All the Way, A Prairie Home Companion, and the Mighty Ducks series. Or maybe you read about Mickey's in The Smithsonian, National Geographic, Sports Illustrated, Easy Rider, Playboy and Elle magazines. And now…surely Mickey's most exciting achievement…here is this story on TravelMamas.com! 😉
Read more about Mickey's Diner on TripAdvisor.
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