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  • Chef John Politte

Keys Cafe

Our first visit the Keys Café in Spring Lake Park, at 8299 University Ave NE was not a pleasant one to say the least.  The waitresses and the supporting staff passed by our table numerous times before any kind of recognition or inquiry about coffee or juice, which I found interesting since once you are seated by the hostess, your waitress is informed of the seating and presumably greets you ASAP.


As a breakfast diner, I like to be greeted and have my coffee within five minutes of being seated, but this experience infected the whole dining endeavor.  And to top it off, my wife was rudely cut in front of by a certain state senator and his entourage trying to pay the check.  A fact I was not made aware of until afterwards, luckily for everyone, as I am quite protective of the fetching Mrs. Politte.


Months later, we decided to give Keys another try.  So with open minds and empty stomachs we made our way back to the famous Twin Cities eatery to give it another try.


Seated immediately, and acknowledged instantly by our waitress, I had coffee and juice on the table in less than a minute.  I know this because I timed it.


The food was exceptional.  The Florentine Benedict was a cleverly designed toasted English muffin layered with tomatoes, fresh spinach, basted eggs and topped by a creamy hollandaise, with crispy hash browns and toast made from bread baked in the back of the house.


The farmer’s omelet is definitely one made for eating before milking the cows or harvesting the crops.  Literally stuffed with ham, onions, hash browns and cheese, this breakfast entrée is also served with homemade toast and preserves, and can feed 2 people or a hungry Border collie that is mad that you left her at home.


The first Keys Café opened for business in 1973, in St. Paul on Raymond Avenue. Barbara Hunn founded this first adventure, refining and improving her successful formula until the second Keys opened in New Brighton in 1983.


Together with her family, the Keys Cafés have expanded to nine Twin Cities locations and have been recognized and awarded both locally and nationally for their fine food.

The Keys Café philosophy is simple: memorable service and absolutely the best food … breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and desserts created from scratch recipes “you grew up with”.

As noted earlier, Keys has a full bakery and a display case that shows of their wares.  From cookies, pies, cakes and bars, there is a dessert to please everyone.


Check out the website at keyscafe.com to see all eight Twin Cities locations and the one in Wisconsin, yes Wisconsin; where you can enjoy the home made family atmosphere and food.  And if it doesn’t work out the first time, by all means give it another try-you’ll be glad you did.

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