Pros: Made-from-scratch, great fit in the community, friendly service, cool history, great decorations
Cons: a bit on the small size, “patio” seating on the sidewalk
I’ll go ahead and say it – Hazel’s Northeast is my favorite restaurant in the Twin Cities, period. Hazel’s delivers in all areas of good restauranteering. 1) Product – the food is made-from-scratch and many of the recipes are influenced from Hazel herself (her actual name was Helen), although her two grandsons own and operate it now. The menu isn’t overwhelming, but has excellent choices for all tastes. 2) Ambiance – although small, Hazel’s is cozy and well-decorated with paintings from local artists for sale. The waiting area has retro-looking furniture and once seated, you feel right at home. 3) Service – friendly servers help you choose the right item and are quick with a refill. 4) Value – Hazel’s isn’t cheap, but it certainly isn’t expensive. I always feel that I pay a fair price.
Whatever your mood, breakfast, lunch or dinner, Hazel’s delivers. They often have brunch (extended breakfast hours) and make a great Saturday morning date! Their Drunken Banana French Toast (pictured below) is one of the best things on the menu. It’s almost dessert-like in flavor and contains rum-soaked raisins, toasted pecans, sliced bananas all drenched in a cinnamon syrup.
One of my favorite dinner items is the Swedish Meatballs (pictured below) which are covered in gravy and served with a side of tart Lingonberries.
But perhaps the thing that makes Hazel’s my top pick is how well it fits into the Northeast community. Northeast is a young hipster community of Minneapolis where purity and authenticity are core. Hazel’s owner-operators cook traditional food “translated for an urban crowd” and want to really belong to the community. And they do. The Nordeasters love their Hazel’s, and so does this North-Suburban foodie.