Town Talk Diner

Traversing Minneapolis is much easier than getting around Burlington. The streets run N-S or E-W so finding Town Talk Diner at 2707 and a half (which has a reason, I just found out) was easy. We actually stopped right in front of the Diner while discussing where we were going. It was noon, well before service which begins at 4 at the bar and 5 in the dining room, so we rapped on the front window and waited to be let in. Chef Tor Westgard greeted us and began giving us his “5 cent” tour of the restaurant. The original diner was built in an alley way, hence the “half” in the address. It used to serve 2 pancakes, bacon, toast and a cup of coffee for $2.99. The diner (for the obvious reason) went out of business, and lay dormant for four years. I may be off on my facts, so don’t quote me, maybe until 18 months ago when Chef Tor and his partners purchased it.

Anyway, they are all chefs with a vision. What do NYC bistros, Paris cafes and New Orleans bbq shacks have in common? They all bring people together. That is, ultimately, what food is for, isn’t it? How do they at Town Talk Diner bring together people of all different ages and backgrounds? They offer a relatively inexpensive and eclectic array of dishes. From grilled cheese to pan seared salmon with lentils. Some come in for soup and a salad, while others consume 3 courses with a bottle of wine. Each and every item prepared is given the same value and uses the same procedure and skill, regardless of what it is, grilled cheese, burger, or salmon. There’s even a Fried Egg sandwich on the menu, and you can throw in a 40 oz Mickey (yes, that’s beer) and it comes in its own champagne bucket! Another unique feature of the Town Talk Diner’s menu is the way the chef-owners have incorporated diner food with trained French techniques. The “frickle” for example is the old fashioned fried pickle of the 20’s fair era, but with a culinary twist. Chef Tor definitely shows enthusiasm for his restaurant. His “5 cent” tour lasted until 5 as he prepped and talked about his business with Marcus. Chase & I ducked out after 10 minutes and headed to the Mall of America.

Chef Tor and his partners run a very organized and clean restaurant from the top to the bottom, from the kitchen to the bar. Tor does all of the ordering himself and personally checks in all items. Tonight, actually, was the first night in 18 months there was no chef in the kitchen, as he took a night off. We dined at 6 and I will say that the staff did a great job.

We (Chase & I) joined Marcus and fellow NECI alumni Dan Zelle (’04 Montpelier) for dinner at Town Talk at 6. We began by ordering the frickles, cheese curd, and onion rings. The “frickles” are normally done at the state fairs in spears, or even whole, which is what I envisioned. Town Talk pickles 4 cases of cucumbers in house each week, and slices them thin, then batters and fries them and serves them with mustard dill sauce. They were sweet butter pickles and delicious. The cheese curd is also lightly battered and fried. Chase had a hard time sharing these. When we ask what he wanted for dinner, his response was “this” as he held up the cheese. We eventually talked him into a weiner. Marcus had the Kitchen Sink Burger, Dan the braised lamb with quinoa and cucumber tabouli, and I ordered the seared salmon special with carrots and lentils. It was all very good. And we are all very full.

Marcus enjoyed his stage…thank you Chef Tor and Town Talk Diner.

Published in: on July 31, 2007 at 1:42 pm  Leave a Comment  

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