Uptown Cafeteria: the comfort food jackpot

By Jenny Ledig

I’ve been fascinated by Uptown Cafeteria for a while now. Their website advertises that they’re a self-proclaimed support group and with items like homemade poptarts and “Everything’s going to be alright” meatloaf, it’s hard not to be intrigued by the unique restaurant. On behalf of Uptown Cafeteria, I’d like to dispel some misconceptions about the place. First off- it’s not an official support group. Secondly, it’s not actually a cafeteria; you are seated at a table and your food is brought to you there, just as at any fine establishment. With my family in town for the weekend, I thought it would be a great opportunity to try Uptown Cafeteria once again. I’ve been there twice and each time I’ve been really impressed with the restaurant. It’s a very relaxed environment and you don’t feel like they’re just trying to get you in and out; instead it’s the type of place where you can linger. It’s great because although it’s a very cool, busy restaurant (complete with a great soundtrack of Motown and golden oldies,) you can still carry on a conversation without straining to hear or feel like your screaming, which is definitely not true for its Uptown counterpart, Chino Latino. My mom, Kathy Ledig, is always a sucker for quintessentially Midwestern food like Walleye, so we decided to try the walleye and sweet corn fritters with a jalapeño tartar sauce. The fritters had a similar shape and consistency to hush puppies but with little chunks of walleye in the mix. My mom found the appetizer to be a little bland, so she was glad for the extra kick of the jalapeño tartar sauce. In my family, we also love cheese and crackers, so we couldn’t resist getting their platter of cheeses and sausages served with flatbread crisps. A few highlights from the sampler include Kramarczuk’s summer sausage, aged cheddar and a homemade pimento cheese ball. We also tried some cheddar drop biscuits, which are a more upscale version of the Red Lobster gem. The biscuits won over my sister, Megan Ledig, a true biscuit connoisseur, which is quite the feat. Last time I went to Uptown Cafeteria I ordered the grilled cheese and tomato soup, which is wonderfully executed and the best comfort food in my book, but I eyed the fried chicken and waffles with much interest. This time, I took the plunge and ordered the classic Southern dish. As a big fan of sweet and savory combos, I was predisposed to like the dish, but when it came I still had some hesitation – do I douse it in chicken gravy and syrup or half and half? After some reassurance from our server I committed to the ultimate sweet and savory experience, and I could not have been happier! My mom opted for another comfort food classic, the hot tom turkey, an open-faced turkey sandwich with mashed potatoes and gravy. It was great, hit the spot, and was a huge serving of food. My little sister’s ambitious choice of the Sunday special, “Dad got a raise!” T-bone steak was a little disappointing. For $25.99 it was by far the most expensive item on the menu and while it was a lot of food, it just didn’t do it for her. I would recommend sticking with more standard dinner fare. Also worth noting is the gourmet four cheese mac and cheese that Hannah Van Den Brandt, ’13, ordered on a previous trip. Garnished with bacon and tomato, it is as great as it sounds. The Uptown Cafeteria is a fantastic place to go to get your comfort food fix in a cool, laid back ambiance and is definitely worth the trek to Uptown. 3001 Hennepin Avenue Minneapolis, MN 55408 Monday – Thursday: 11:30 a.m. – 11 p.m. Friday: 11:30 a.m. – 1 a.m. Saturday 9 a.m. – 1 a.m. Sunday 9 a.m. – 11 p.m.