Out late at night, working the night shift, or just can't sleep? When you're hungry in the Twin Cities but not in the mood for McDonald's, Denny's, or even the Midwest's beloved White Castle, there are several independently owned restaurants in Minneapolis and St. Paul where you can get food nearly 24 hours a day. Many restaurants in the area have also been featured on "Diners, Drive-Ins 7 Dives."
An icon of St. Paul, Mickey's Diner is open 24 hours, 365 days a year for breakfast, burgers and classic American food. The art deco-designed railroad car was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. Mickey's boasts hand-dipped malts so thick you can eat them with a fork. In true diner style, breakfast is served any time of the day, or try the house special, Mickey's homemade mulligan stew with grilled Texas toast. There's free parking, but no take-out.
Flameburger serves up burgers and breakfasts 24 hours every day except Sundays when they close at 2 p.m. The menu is extensive, and the breakfast and lunch specials are great deals. Try the Mega Flameburger—a pound of beef with four slices of cheese and four slices of bacon. If you're really hungry, order the Double Mega, weighing in at a full 2 lbs.
There's a second Flameburger just five miles down the road in Little Canada. After a long night out, try the Super Sunrise Flame, a 1/2 lb. Flameburger with cheese, three slices of bacon, a slice of grilled onion, and an over-easy egg.
2534 Rice St., Little Canada
Hard Times Cafe is a worker-owned restaurant in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis. They serve vegetarian food with vegan options and killer coffee. Try the breakfast burrito or the bahn mi sandwich. Not quite open 24 hours—they're closed between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m.—but that should satisfy most late-night cravings. Hard Times ihas been a popular community place with attitude since 1992.
Opened in 1999 by Maria and Miguel Zagal, Taqueria La Hacienda claims to be the first restaurant to introduce tacos al pastor (marinated pork tacos) to Minneapolis. La Hacienda has won three Best of the Twin Cities Awards. In addition to tacos al pastor, house specials include succulent barbecue pork and burritos loaded with charbroiled steak, roast pork or chicken.Top off your meal with a traditional Mexican soda. The taqueria is open 24 hours on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays; till midnight the rest of the week, with two locations in Minneapolis.
1515 E. Lake St., Mercado Central
Los Ocampo has three locations in the Twin Cities, two in Minneapolis and one in St. Paul. All are open until 4 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and until 1 a.m. on weekdays. Los Ocampo offers traditional Mexican fare, along with a few authentic menu items not found everywhere. Huarache is fried masa cake with your choice of meat topped with beans, cheese, radishes and sour cream. Or try the sincronizada, two flat flour tortillas filled with meat and cheese and grilled on both sides. Check out the monthly menu specials.
920 E. Lake St., Global Market, Minneapolis
895 Arcade St., Seeger Square, St. Paul