Dime-piece Diners

Whatever you call ‘em, the Twin Cities has a plethora of excellent burger joints

A diner is timeless Americana, like Norman Rockwell paintings, Coca-Cola , baseball, Playboy and Marilyn Monroe. ItâÄôs one of those things you see painted in nostalgia posters that hang in bars and basements âÄî the rinky-dink dining car with its rows of stools and endless mugs of black coffee. Thankfully, the diner still exists, and the Twin Cities are lucky enough to have an impressive collection nestled within their proverbial arms. Intrigued? Want a heaping plate of hash browns and gravy-drenched biscuits? YouâÄôre in luck. MickeyâÄôs Dining Car 36 Seventh St. W., St. Paul MickeyâÄôs is famous. No, seriously. Not only is it a St. Paul landmark and a legend in its own right for its longevity, but itâÄôs been featured in movies like âÄúThe Mighty DucksâÄù and âÄúA Prairie Home Companion.âÄù Rachael Ray and Alton Brown have checked it out for the Food Network, and a whole bunch of celebrities, Lindsay Lohan included, have sat on its stools. MickeyâÄôs is crowded most of the time, for good reason: The food is cheap, quick and quintessentially American. MickeyâÄôs Dining Car is shaped like a train car and was created in New Jersey and shipped to St. Paul. Like a true classic, it remains virtually unchanged, retaining its original red-and-cream Art-Deco charm. TheyâÄôve even got a craggy old waitress bussing tables and scribbling orders on one of those adorable little notepads. Oh, and MickeyâÄôs is open 24/7, 365 days a year? Christmas at MickeyâÄôs? How quaint! Sunnyside Up Café 2704 Lyndale Ave., Minneapolis Sunnyside Up boasts one of the best breakfasts in Minneapolis, hands down. ItâÄôs Southwestern in style, what with the murals of armadillos and cacti adoring its walls, and they do serve up a mean plate of huevos rancheros and other Mexican-influenced breakfast standards, but thereâÄôs a bevy of traditional delights inside too. Sure, itâÄôs a little bit grimy, and there may or may not be a table full of dirty hipster guys wafting their weedy aroma alongside their blue corn pancakes, but Mpls. St. Paul magazine has voted Sunnyside Up âÄúBest BreakfastâÄù many times over. And like all great breakfast places, the hours of operation are limited; Sunnyside Up Café closes at 6 P.M. Uptown Diner 2548 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis At most hours of the day, thereâÄôs a cop or two having a cup of coffee or some late-night dinner at the Uptown Diner, which is conveniently located right on the 6 bus route in case a yen for a turkey dinner strikes whilst traveling toward Calhoun Square. Everything (and thatâÄôs no sweeping generalization) tastes great at Uptown Diner, especially their bacon-packed omelets and their chili, and the tattooed waitresses always tell the chefs about even the most particular of requests. The chocolate-banana malts? To die for. SnuffyâÄôs Malt Shop 1125 Larpenteur Ave. W., Roseville We had to include one retro-inspired diner within the confines of these recommendations, and SnuffyâÄôs takes that honor, red-and-white gingham curtains and all. They donâÄôt serve much more than burgers, fries and grilled cheese sandwiches, as well as a variety of malts and milkshakes, but they donâÄôt have to. Even The New York Times considers it one of the most popular neighborhood restaurants. The smell of grease cooking lingers on clothing and hair post-meal, but thatâÄôs the charm of a diner. SnuffyâÄôs is a perfect destination when morale is low because thereâÄôll always be a table of little kids hollering for their malts, an exasperated pair of parents, a cute old couple and a bunch of high schoolers working the tables for their Abercrombie money.