This past Saturday Josh and I went camping in Savage. You heard that right, camping in Savage. There’s a little RV park and campground hidden behind the Tin Shed which can hold tons of RVs and a few tents. Being that our usual camping spot was under 25 feet of water I went on a search for other local spots which would be close and not flooded.
Anyway, after a day of bags, beer, and hot dogs we met up with Joey at the nearby Windmill Cafe on Sunday morning for some serious breakfast. Back in February, MSPD reviewed the Windmill Cafe as a place which cured many of his hangovers and provided him with a respite from modern America as if this cafe, perched on the cusp of MN-13, was placed there just so that people could take a step back in time and enjoy life as it was always meant to be.
As we walked in we halved the average age of the patrons inside. Most were huddled around chatting with each other over steaming cups of coffee while, as Joey later put it, solving the world’s economic and social problems from their counter-side stools. I immediately noticed the upper right-hand rack of mugs sporting a windmill and the name of the honor-bestowed patron who owned the mug. My mind wandered and I wondered what ritual hazing was required to receive one. Did those men earn them on their 7301st day of eating the #2?
While the outside of the Windmill Cafe is a simple tan paint covering what used to be bright baby blue cinder block, the inside is pleasantly decorated and comfortable. The staff were lurking in the back working hard to shovel huge plates of food out from the kitchen to the hungry regulars circling the counter and first few tables near the front. Most of the men at 8 AM were there to chat, some only finally ordering food as we left 40 minutes later, this is more than just a cafe, it’s a meeting and gathering place for many from around the South Metro.
The waitress was extremely prompt, friendly but not overbearing, and took our casual head bobs and looks around the restaurant as silent cues that we needed assistance. We ordered a coffee and an OJ while we waited for Joey who arrived soon after 8 AM. I had spent an inordinate amount of time looking over the menu of mainly breakfast items but several lunch items. The prices weren’t unreasonable by any means but most items were not inexpensive either. I was surprised by this figuring this would be a $3.50 breakfast but clearly they put a little more love, attention and care into their food than the exterior would lead you to believe.
I ordered my usual two eggs (sunny side up), bacon, hash browns and toast (sourdough). Josh went with biscuits and gravy with a side of hash browns and Joey with eggs, ham steak, and hash browns. The three of us spent out time chatting and watching as more and more tables filled up. Plenty of fathers and sons, fathers and daughters, and other groups of men doing the same thing people have done in here for decades. The vibe was wonderful and something which no other local restaurant I have visited in the last 8 years provides.
Our food arrived on platters sized to feed for two and was presented in a no-nonsense manner. My eggs were done to perfection, the bacon was just the right crispiness, and the hash browns didn’t appear as if they had fallen out of the back of the Sysco truck. My decaf coffee never hit bottom throughout my entire visit and I had no problems scarfing all of the food down after dousing it with the provided ketchup and Tabasco.
Josh’s biscuits and gravy, something I normally abhor, was actually quite tasty. While Josh prefers his with some kick in the sausage he understands the lack of such a draw for Minnesotans. He was very pleased with it and it was the first time in a very long time I saw him eat the entirety of such a huge portion of food.
Joey’s meal of ham, scrambled eggs and pancakes also seemed very good. His ham steak was the size of my kitchen cutting board and was thick enough that if he had cracked me upside the head with it I’m sure I’d be sporting a black and blue today. While Josh and I powered through our meals, Joey took his sweet time savoring every last bite.
Even though I had very high expectations for the Windmill Cafe in Savage, they went above and beyond my every thought over the last eight years and elevated themselves into the inner sanctum of places which I seriously would visit daily if my commute and personal Budget Nazi permitted. I could seriously see myself becoming a newspaper man, or doing the modern day equivalent–in direct violation of MSPD’s daydream–with my iPhone, sitting at the counter sipping coffee and chatting up everyone around me about how the Vikings should be glad they had a bye week so they could at least try and get their acts together before it’s entirely too late.
Have you ever eaten at the Windmill Cafe in Savage? If so, what did you think? What do you like there best? When do you normally eat there (breakfast, lunch, hangover cure)? What other local restaurants remind you of the Windmill Cafe and are worthy of a visit? Whatever you have to say about the Windmill Cafe in Savage go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear what you have to say.
5367 Hwy 13 W
Savage, MN 55378
Monday to Friday: 4:30 AM – 2:00 PM
Satuday and Sunday: 6:00 AM – 2:00 PM
See all the pictures from the Windmill Cafe on Flickr here.