Lyn-Lake breakfast cafe the Egg and I has closed permanently, following a statewide order shutting down restaurants for on-premise dining.
Its St. Paul sister restaurant, known informally as the Big Egg, will stay open.
“When they shut down all the restaurants, we made the decision to consolidate to one store. It just happened to be this store works out better for us,” said owner Eric Grotbeck, referring to the St. Paul location (2550 University Av. W., St. Paul, 651-647-1292, eggandimn.com).
The original restaurant in Minneapolis had been venerable presence at 28th and Lyndale Av. S., since it opened in 1980. A large “Egg and I” mural stands over its parking lot.
The St. Paul location opened in 1987, and it’s currently doing takeout orders. Business there is down 90%.
Though a total closure of the Minneapolis site was not planned, Grotbeck said the business had experienced other setbacks.
“Business, things had changed in the neighborhood,” he said. “There wasn’t as much breakfast.”
But the coronavirus was the final straw.
“It had a lot to do with not knowing what the future would bring,” Grotbeck said.
Forty years ago, Grotbeck’s mother, Cathy Grotbeck, was a waitress at the Black Forest Inn and a single parent when she decided to partner with two friends to open a new restaurant.
“She put her house up for sale, got a loan, and opened it up,” Eric Grotbeck said. “It was busy right away, so then she called me down to start washing dishes since day 1.”
He was 13 at the time, and essentially grew up in the restaurant, which makes the closure that much harder.
“We had lots of regular customers, lots of employees who have been there for 20-plus years,” he said.
“It’s sad to see it end the way it has,” he added. “It’s not how I pictured it, but it’s the way it happened.”