College kids stay up late.
Getting up early? Not really their kind of thing.
And yet, the Dinkytown diner/institution Al's Breakfast has been serving eggs and pancakes to standing-room waits and lines out the door for going on seven decades now, with enough success to last through the dramatic transformation that's occurred in that neighborhood in recent years.
Now, Al's is catering to its audience. As of earlier this month, Al's is opening for two nights a week, Friday and Saturday, with a specialized menu available from 6:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. each evening. For a restaurant to serve dinner-time or late-night food is, normally, no big deal.
At Al's Breakfast -- emphasis on that second word -- it's a revolution. Owner Alison Kirwin, a former chef and manager there who took over late last year, tells the Minnesota Daily the nighttime service is her "first opportunity to take charge of some things and experiment a little bit."
The menu will look pretty familiar to Al's regulars, who can expect to find the traditional egg-based breakfast fare available, only now, your order will get rolled up into an "Al-urrito," easier to walk around with. You can also still get pancakes and waffles -- which City Pages suggests you eat sitting down on the sidewalk, like a proud American -- and hot dogs, which previously did not grace Al's premises unless someone had them in their purse from the night before.
Customers will order at a counter mounted on the diner's doorway, while a pair of employees man the grill inside.
Kirwin sees the nighttime opening, which mirror Al's traditional morning hours of 6:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., as a logical expansion, telling the Daily she wants to take advantage of the "mass amounts of people that are here in Dinkytown at other times of the day." (And drunk.)
What? We were all thinking it.
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