True, embellished and fictional stories for your amusertainment

Al’s Diner is a breakfast eatery. At only 10 feet wide, seating 14 patrons along one counter, it’s the smallest restaurant in Minneapolis.

With a legendary reputation of great food and long lines, Stephen, my friends and I, decided to give it a try.

My cohorts

My cohorts

We got in line outside thinking the wait wouldn’t be too long because there were only about 6 people ahead of us.

The line didn't seem that long...

The line didn’t seem that long…

However, once we got inside, we found that the line continued to the end of the restaurant.

Until we looked inside

Until we looked inside

We had already invested enough time waiting that we couldn’t just walk away.

We're getting close

We’re getting close

After an hour wait, our turn had arrived but only three seats were open. Three quarters of our party was seated, we just needed one more stool.

Al’s practice was to seat parties together, so it didn’t matter where the lone stool opened. If it wasn’t next to my group, other patrons would be instructed to move down to make room for me.

I ended up waiting another 30 minutes before being seated. During that time, I talked to a man in line behind me. Like me, he’d never been to Al’s, but his daughter said the food was delicious and it was worth the wait.

When I eventually joined my party, I noticed the yellow booklets on the lower shelves behind the counter. Frequent customers can purchase meal books and pre-pay for their food, hence the yellow books.

Behind the counter

Behind the counter

After an hour and 45 minutes from the time we began our journey, breakfast was served. I ate blueberry pancakes with bacon. It was tasty but I think anything would have tasted good at that point.

My buddy from the line stopped to ask about my meal on his way out. We both agreed the food was good. He said he thought it was worth the wait and asked if I thought so too. After standing more than an hour and a half, my brain wouldn’t allow anything less than agreement.

Now that I’ve gained some distance, I believe the experience was fun and worth doing once.

Was it really worth the wait? Probably not.

However, as customers perpetuate the myth, the legend will continue.

May the farce be with you!

Your IFF,

Pam

Comments on: "The Diner, The Myth, The Legend" (4)

  1. I bet what keeps people in line is the mystery and the smell of bacon.
    bacon has super powers to hold people in line.

  2. I was incredulous to see you post, Pam. Several years ago when Gourmet magazine was still in circulation they featured a pancake from Al’s diner in Minneapolis. I immediately ad to try it, but when I served them I was embarrassed that the insides of the pancakes were raw. I got right on the phone (from New Jersey) and called Al’s diner. Al or some other nice man got on the phone to answer my concern. He asked me one question: “Did you sift the flour?” Yes I did. “That’s your problem; the batter was too thin. Unless a recipe tells you to sift the flour, measure it right from the bag of flour. Do not sift it.”

    So I tried again, and the pancakes were perfect. I never got over the kind man who took the time to give me a little cooking lesson!

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