I was in Minneapolis and got hold of one of my dealers to see if he wanted to get together for a breakfast meeting. He suggested a place that I'd been to once before - The Lowbrow (click here to read Road Tips' entry on The Lowbrow - but I thought that they didn't serve breakfast through the week. Once I confirmed that The Lowbrow served brunch only on the weekends, I texted him back to let him know. He texted back another place that I'd heard about and wanted to try at some point - Tiny Diner. I texted him back and said, "Perfect!" We met there for breakfast a little past 9 a.m. on a clear fall day in the Twin Cities.
Tiny Dancer is another one of Kim Bartmann's gems in her quest to be recognized as one of the top restaurateurs in the Twin Cities. I've eaten at other Bartmann restaurants including Red Stag, Pat's Tap and Bryant Lake Bowl - all fun and unique dining experiences. However, it took her over nearly two years from the conception of Tiny Diner to when she was able to open the doors. Originally, she had hoped to open in May of 2013, but delays caused her to move back the opening date to the end of November of that year. More delays followed and her anticipated opening by Christmas in 2013 came and went. Finally, with everything in place, she was ready to open the doors to Tiny Diner in June of 2014.
Bartmann is big on eco-friendly and eco-sustainable concepts for her restaurants and Tiny Diner is no exception. Above a patio on the side of the restaurant is an array of solar panels that power the restaurant. The 22 kilowatt panels are translucent and provide a light blue glow even on cloudy days.
Tiny Diner also maintains two sustainable gardens where they grow vegetables and herbs for not only this location, but other Bartmann owned spots around the Twin Cities. There is a small rooftop garden located at Tiny Diner, but a larger garden - nearly an acre in size - is located in South Minneapolis. I read somewhere that the first harvest of the gardens yielded right at one ton of vegetables that were used in Bartmann's restaurants. The rooftop garden at Tiny Diner also features beehives for producing honey. The solar panels also act as a rain gathering mechanism for the rooftop garden at the restaurant.
I met up with my dealer just a bit after 9 a.m. on a beautiful fall morning in the Twin Cities. Tiny Diner is located on the south side of Minneapolis in the Bancroft/Powderhorn neighborhood at the corner of E. 38th St. at 11th Ave. S. (see map) Inside the front door of the restaurant is a small dining area that features an open kitchen behind a small counter, and a number of small tables with chairs that give it a homey diner-type of atmosphere.
The back of the restaurant features a coffee/alcoholic libations bar and more tables for dining. The counter at the bar area in the back is larger than up front and as more people came in for breakfast that day it turned out to be a popular place for single eaters. During lunch and dinner, Tiny Diner features a number of wines as well as signature mixed drinks. They also have a pretty impressive list of local and regional craft beers to choose from.
My dealer and I took a seat at a table in a little alcove in the front dining room. We were greeting by our server for the visit - Citla - who dropped off a couple menus for us. I immediately ordered up some orange juice and a double espresso. My dealer - who actually had the day off - semi-joked about getting their signature bloody Mary, a cucumber-infused sake mixed with a house-made spicy tomato based mix. He ended up with just getting orange juice as well.
A quick note on the double espresso - I will sometimes order up a triple espresso, or if I need a sustained jolt in the morning I'll get a quad shot. Well, the double espresso they served at Tiny Dancer Diner (you can NOT believe how many times I have written Tiny Dancer instead of Tiny Diner while doing this post) was a booster rocket of caffeine. I'm seriously glad I didn't get anything more than just two shots.
Sustainable and organically-raised foods dominate the menu at Tiny Diner. Breakfast is served throughout the day and they have a small dinner menu for meals after 5 p.m. Each month, Tiny Diner tries to feature a special regional food from around the nation, say something that is famous like Cincinnati-style chili, or Nashville-style chicken. I didn't see what the monthly feature was on this visit.
For breakfast, they featured such dishes as a crab cake eggs Benedict topped with a bacon/hollandaise sauce, three-egg omelets that featured either ham and cheese, spinach and chorizo, or a smoked whitefish stuffed inside. And they even had the old Middle America staple of buttermilk biscuits and a mushroom-herb gravy. I've never been a big fan of biscuits and gravy, but I know a lot of people who are.
My dealer and I decided to get the exact same thing - the breakfast burrito. It was stuffed with organic scrambled eggs, Wisconsin cheddar cheese, fresh spinach, hash brown potatoes, chorizo sausage, a green chili sauce and sour cream. However, we went for the step-up Red, White and Green breakfast burrito that adds a smoky chipotle salsa, Mexican crema, and more of the green chili sauce on top of the burrito. Slices of avocado came on the side with the large burrito.
And the burrito was very good. There were a lot of tastes going on with the burrito, but they all worked very well together. I enjoyed the thick green chili sauce they had both inside and on the one end of the burrito. It was filling, but I didn't feel bloated when I got up from the table.
Tiny Diner is another fun, unique, and eco-friendly restaurant under Kim Bartmann's umbrella of interesting Twin Cities-area restaurants that feature organic and sustainable foods on their menus. The atmosphere at Tiny Diner is that of a cozy upscale diner, the service we received from Citla was friendly and efficient, and the Red, White and Green breakfast burritos we both got were very good. I'm a big fan of Bartmann and her restaurants and Tiny Diner is good little place to get a home-style meal for breakfast, lunch or dinner.