At least 40, and still going strong

  • Updated: October 28, 2009 - 11:54 AM

If Twin Cities diners could travel back 40 years, what names from today's dining scene would be familiar to them? Take a walk down a very tasteful memory lane with us as we celebrate four decades in the food business. This is by no means a definitive list:

Minneapolis

Al's Breakfast (413 14th Av. SE., 612-331-9991) has been helping Dinkytown wake up for 59 years.

Curran's Family Restaurant (4201 Nicollet Av. S., 612-822-5327, www.curransrestaurant.com) started as a drive-in in 1948 before morphing into a full-service restaurant in the 1970s.

Jax Cafe (1928 University Av. NE., 612-789-7297, www.jaxcafe.com) is a 76-year-old landmark with roots that go back to Stanley Kozlak; today Bill Kozlak Jr., his great-grandson, is at the helm.

Market Bar-B-Que (1414 Nicollet Av. S., 612-872-1111, www.marketbbq.com) has been pit-smoking meats since 1946.

Murray's (26 S. 6th St., 612-339-0909, www. murraysrestaurant.com) has been famous for decades for its 28-ounce strip sirloin for two, carved tableside.

Nye's Polonaise Room (112 E. Hennepin Av., 612-379-2021, www.nyespolonaise.com) has been a dining and drinking magnet since 1949.

Oak Grill (700 Nicollet Mall, 612-375-2938, www.macys.com) opened on the 12th floor of Dayton's department store in 1947 and, despite changes in ownership, is still there.

Our Kitchen (813 W. 36th St., 612-825-3718) has been making morning brighter in south Minneapolis since 1941.

Peter's Grill (114 S. 8th St., 612-333-1981, www.petersgrill.com) has been serving short-order favorites -- and fantastic apple pie -- to downtowners since 1914.

St. Paul

Cecils Delicatessen (651 S. Cleveland Av., 651-698-6276, www.cecilsdeli.com) has been chopping liver since 1949.

Cossetta Italian Market (211 W. 7th St., 651-222-3476) now serves fans pouring in and out of Xcel Energy Center, but diners have long headed there in search of pizza and pasta.

Dari-ette Drive-In (1440 E. Minnehaha Av., St. Paul, 651-776-3470) and the Fida family have been flipping their fabulous "Burger-ette" and stirring red sauce since 1951.

DeGidio's Restaurant & Bar (425 W. 7th St., 651-291-7105, www.degidios.com), which is still operated by founder Joe "Kid Bullets" DeGidio's descendants, originated in 1933.

The Lexington (1096 Grand Av., 651-222-5878, www.the-lexington.com), the grande dame that everyone shortens to "the Lex," has been at the center of capital city goings-on since 1935.

Mancini's Char House & Lounge (531 W. 7th St., 651-224-7345, www.mancinis.com) has offered charcoal-broiled steaks and back-slapping hospitality since 1968.

Mickey's Diner (36 W. 7th St., 651-222-5633, www.mickeysdiningcar.com) has been slinging hash in its faux railroad car since 1937.

O'Gara's Bar & Grill (164 N. Snelling Av., 651-644-3333, www.ogaras.com) hails from 1941.

St. Clair Broiler (1580 St. Clair Av., 651-698-7055, www.stclairbroiler.com) has been anchoring the corner of St. Clair and Snelling since 1956.

St. Paul Corner Drug (240 S. Snelling Av., St. Paul, 651-698-8859, www.stpaulcornerdrug. com) still has inexpensive ice cream cones on the menu at its old-fashioned soda fountain.

Yarusso-Bros. Italian Restaurant (635 Payne Av., 651-776-4848, www.yarussos.com), which dates to 1933, is now the work of siblings David, Fred and Michael Yarusso.

The 'burbs

Convention Grill (3912 Sunnyside Rd., Edina, 952-920-6881) and memorable burgers have been mainstays since 1934.

Denny's 5th Avenue Bakery (7840 5th Av. S., 952-881-4445, Bloomington, www.dennysbakery.com) started turning out cakes, bear claws, doughnuts, jelly rolls, fruit-filled turnovers, Bismarcks and other Hirman family favorites in 1969.

Fireside Pizza (6736 Penn Av. S., Richfield, 612-869-4040, www.dinewithfiresidepizza.com) has been laying on the pepperoni since John F. Kennedy was elected president.

Lions Tap (16180 Flying Cloud Dr., Eden Prairie, 952-934-5299, www.lionstap.com) has been flipping its famous burgers since the late 1950s.

Lord Fletcher's Old Lake Lodge (3746 Sunset Dr., Spring Park, 952-471-8513, www.lordfletchers.com), the Lake Minnetonka dockside destination, opened in 1968.

Wally's Roast Beef (2113 W. 90th St., Bloomington, 952-884-4349, www.wallysroastbeef.com) served its first signature sandwich in 1969.

RICK NELSON

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