Dive Night is a semi-monthly adventure undertaken by me and Husby, along with our friends Ruthie and Ray. Each couple alternates choosing a restaurant, one which must come under the category of “dive.” Our definition of dive: a neighborhood gathering spot with a laid-back atmosphere and good food. We’ll find the interesting hang-outs in the Minneapolis/St Paul area. Casual attire required. A sip of beer or wine doesn’t hurt either.
If you live in St. Paul, MN or any of the surrounding areas you’ve probably heard of Mickey’s Diner. The original is right downtown. There’s another Mickey’s over there on West 7th away from the bustle of the city but with the same character.* It’s called Mickey’s Diner (By Willy). I’m not sure who Willy is.
Mickey’s is the epitome of the word “diner.”
When we arrived there was hardly anyone in the place. One other couple, to be exact. The staff consisted of a cook and a bus person. The building is old and not exactly spotless, but not dirty enough to make me scared of eating there.
Classic Coca-Cola light fixtures.
I love diners with a counter like this. This is pretty much the extent of Mickey’s. The counter on one side of the aisle and small booths on the other. Quite cozy.
Mickey’s even has a bakery case. I didn’t try any of the bakery items, but they looked pretty good. Especially the muffins. I have a thing for muffins.
I thought it was pretty ironic that Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives was on the TV.
We laughed when we saw the Side Orders on the menu. Whole pieces of meat. As a side! I guess it makes sense if you’re getting eggs and you want a steak with them, doesn’t it? It seemed pretty funny to us though. Funny ha-ah, not funny peculiar. Well, I guess it was peculiar too, at least compared to the other places we’ve been.
Four- and eight-ounce steaks as a side. Or how about a pork chop?
Finally, after consulting with Sam the cook we decided what we wanted. We started out with an order of onion rings, just because we’re accustomed to getting an appetizer when we’re out for Dive Night. The rings? Okay. I’m not an onion ring connoisseur, but I thought they were pretty average.
This plate of rings was shared by four of us and there were some left when we were done with our meal. Not outstanding by any means, or else we would have been fighting over the last ones.
We ordered our food and Sam the cook got to work. I like it when you can see the cook making your food. That’s called “transparency” in the business world. I feel much better knowing the cook didn’t spit in my food on the off-chance he took a disliking for me. Of course Sam was of such superior character he would never spit in the food no matter what his personal feelings.
Ray had the most unusual meal of the bunch. It was called One-Eye Jack and was composed of ham, cheese, and egg on toasted bread. There was a hole cut in the bread/egg, which is what makes the “one eye.” He got a side of hash browns with that and they looked really good.
Husby had a patty melt with a side of beans. He said the sandwich was “fine,” but the beans were not great. They were overdone, cooked and heated up in the microwave.
Husby’s patty melt. It looks pretty good to me – that bread is grilled to perfection.
Tomato-saucy baked beans. I don’t like baked beans anyway, so these look kind of disgusting to me. Husby didn’t like them much.
Ruthie had the Classic. A cheeseburger with hash browns and some Mulligan stew. I had the same thing only I got french fries with my hamburger. The fries were pretty good. The hamburger was too little for the bun and the cheese was pretty lame. The menu listed three types of cheese so I asked Sam if I could have Swiss cheese. He said they have “white” cheese. He said, “Swiss cheese is white, but our white cheese isn’t Swiss cheese. We only have the white cheese.” Whatever. It was laid lopsided on my burger so only half of it was topped with “white” cheese.
Ruthie’s Classic. It looks like her cheese is more centered on the burger than mine was. Those hash browns again ~ boy they look good.
The Mulligan stew was something else too. Something not so good. It was luke warm and the potatoes were raw and hard. I couldn’t eat it.
Overall the food at Mickey’s was pretty bad. Edible, but nothing I’d go back for. However, there is something I would go back for. The malt. Oh my, what a glorious, thick, whipped cream covered malt.
My chocolate malt. The only thing that would have made this better is if it were served in an old-fashioned soda glass.
By the time we were finished with our meal there were some more people in the diner. They all sat at the counter and no one spoke. It was kind of creepy. But Sam the cook was a delight even though the food he served was mediocre at best. Seriously though, it’s totally worth a trip for the malts (shakes too). They come in chocolate, vanilla and strawberry. Yum!
Sam the cook.
* This review is not intended to reflect the food, service, or atmosphere of the original Mickey’s Diner in downtown St. Paul.
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