Spring is finally here, and the snow is melted, so the thought of venturing out into the Twin Cities for food is a lot more appealing now. Last Saturday, my friend Lia and I celebrated the beginning of spring break and the unseasonably warm weather by going to a phenomenal brunch spot in Lowertown St. Paul: The Buttered Tin.
The Buttered Tin has been around for a few years, and after opening up in 2013, it quickly made its mark on the St. Paul dining scene. Lowertown, where the Buttered Tin is located, is a beautiful, vibrant neighborhood with amazing historic buildings, picturesque parks and an artistic vibe among its residents; so it’s only fitting that a high-quality, reliable restaurant like the Buttered Tin has become one of the many keystones of this community.
There isn’t the widest selection on their menus, but that’s because The Buttered Tin sticks to what it does best and doesn’t mess around with frivolity. Their breakfast menu sticks to pretty standard American breakfast fare: eggs benedict, biscuits and gravy, french toast, pancakes and the like. Don’t let how ordinary it sounds turn you off, though. Everything I’ve had here has been absolutely delicious. It’s downright joyful to eat brunch at the Buttered Tin, since they effortlessly take an ordinary dish and make it something to behold.
I ordered the Huevos Rancheros Benedict, which were served with corn and black bean salsa, ranchero sauce, cornbread, avocado and sour cream. While the eggs benedict came with a side salad that was actually larger than the eggs, they ended up being very filling and tasted delightful. I usually walk away from brunch feeling overstuffed and tired, but felt like this was an excellent amount of food. The eggs were poached to perfection, and the toppings gave it enough of a kick to make it exciting, while at the same time not overwhelming the dish.
They also have a lunch and dinner menu at the Buttered Tin. While I didn’t try it at this meal, it looks like they’re serving mostly sandwiches on there.
The Buttered Tin has a very casual, down-to-earth vibe. It’s not a greasy spoon diner (a la Mickey’s) by any means, but it’s not pretentious or full of itself either. I wouldn’t worry about dressing up if you choose to go out. There’s plenty of natural light inside the restaurant, and while it’s a bit small inside, it never feels cramped or crowded while you’re eating.
There’s not much of a waiting area inside, which might make waiting for a table uncomfortable. On a nice day, sit outside in front of the restaurant, or walk around Lowertown while you’re waiting for your table. If it’s less than pleasant outside, be prepared — you might be a bit uncomfortable. Waits can be a bit lengthy on a weekend morning, though. Expect about 20 or 30 minutes to wait for a table to open up. But they have over-the-counter service as well, so you can get a cup of coffee or pastry to tide you over while you wait.
The Buttered Tin is very easy to get to. Take the 21 or the 63 into Downtown St. Paul, and get off at Wacouta Street. Walk left two blocks, and you’ll see it right on the corner. Otherwise, you can take the Green Line to the end of the line and walk up Wacouta as well. If you want to drive, take I-94 into downtown. There’s no parking lot for the Buttered Tin, but you should be able to find street parking in the neighborhood.
Overall, I’d highly recommend The Buttered Tin if you haven’t been there already. While their offerings are fairly conventional, they’re delicious and very satisfying. They’re very affordable, too — most breakfast offerings here range between $10 and $12 each. However, be warned: if you’re thinking of Easter Brunch here, think again. They’re closed this Sunday for the holiday.
The Buttered Tin
237 7th St. East
Standard American breakfast & lunch fare
Accessible by the 21 & 63 buses and the Green Line
Open daily 7 a.m.-3p.m.
(Closed on Easter)