Johnson’s Bacon and Egg Cafe

Review by: Michael Stern

If you had to guess how good it is just by looking at the outside of Johnson’s Bacon and Egg Cafe (not a good way to evaluate a restaurant!), you’d probably think it was OK. But just OK. It looks like a thousand other little cafes, all too many of which have a nice personality but rely on portion-controlled food that’s only mediocre.

Johnson’s is way better than mediocre. It is very, very good. Pancakes are fluffy rounds made by Sue Johnson from a batter that has a nice shot of sweetness. They are served with a squeeze bottle of warm syrup. You can doll them up by having potatoes added to the batter, resulting in another kind of softie very unlike a brittle fried latke, but with gentle charm of its own. Or you can add blueberries.

How about chicken-fried steak? As most traveling eaters know, 9 out of 10 chicken-fried steaks are bad: gristly, short of flavor, smothered in batter, or gobbed with gluey gravy. Johnson’s is that 1 out of 10 that renews faith in this potentially wonderful breakfast (or lunch) dish. The steak is tender, the crust is crisp and savory, and the peppery gravy has wicked unctuous appeal. On the side come good, crunchy hash browns or home fries and a pair of buttery eggs.

Those who are very, very hungry might considering a breakfast known as the Big Johnson: That’s two eggs, toast, potatoes, pancakes, spuds, and a length of buff, smoky sausage.

Although it’s just a short drive from downtown Minneapolis, Johnson’s has the easy-going vibe of a small-town café. Natalie, our friendly waitress, was at the table constantly to refill coffee cups, happy to chat with us and with a cadre of regulars sitting at the counter or in booths. Décor includes hundreds of chicken figurines. Note that business is cash-only.

What To Eat

Potato Pancakes

Chicken Fried Steak

Big Johnson Breakfast


Johnson’s Bacon and Egg Cafe Recipes


What do you think of Johnson’s Bacon and Egg Cafe?

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