This popular Swedish breakfast food mecca first opened on Belmont in 1945. Good, reasonably priced Scandinavian food and a very wide selection of dishes is the draw in theory, but anyone who's been once knows the cinnamon rolls truly make its reputation for gooey a.m. greatness.
Voted best breakfast in the Midwest in 1994 by CBS This Morning, the reputation holds more than a decade later; you may have some trouble getting a seat on weekend mornings without a hefty (but worthwhile) wait. Go authentic with the Swedish breakfast platter (one pancake, one Swedish meatball, potato sausage and one egg any style) or Swedish pancakes with lingonberries. Those looking for the familiar won't be disappointed with the variety of omelets and eggs benedict options (which include tomato and watercress, crab cake and smoked salmon varieties). Breakfasts are served with hash browns or fresh fruit and muffins or the aforementioned cinnamon rolls (two huge ones). If you don't leave with a doggie bag, chances are you're leaving with an unnaturally large waist.
The Belmont location also serves Swedish-inspired lunch and dinner. Lunch consists mainly of sandwiches (go for limpa bread), soups and salads. Later in the day, opt for hearty chicken, fish, beef, pork and vegetarian entrees that run $10-$13; Swedish meatballs and roast duck with ligonberries are excellent bets. If you're a chocoholic, try the super-fudgy brownies.
Now owned by gay community activist Tom Tunney (who bought the restaurant from the original Ann Sather), the space was transformed into a sort of community center, with hand-painted Swedish folk art on the walls.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Kate Schwartz