Jake and I enjoyed one of our longer stretches away from the Twin Cities. It fell between our wedding and Thanksgiving. Now, we’re back to traveling back and forth along I-94 for the holiday season.

This past weekend we celebrated the engagement of Jake’s youngest brother and his fiance. On the way back to Fargo on Monday morning, I stopped at Kay’s Kitchen, in St. Joseph, a restaurant that has served breakfast since 1972. St. Joseph is the home of the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University so I guessed it would have a decent cafe or diner. I had remembered finding Kay’s Kitchen on a web search for breakfast along I-94 months ago.

When I’m in a hurry but want to stop for a food detour, I pause in towns whose main streets are about five minutes from the freeway (such as Osakis and Fergus Falls). I stopped in St. Joseph, knowing its main street was also a short drive from the freeway. Kay’s Kitchen is not actually located in St. Joseph’s charming main street area, though it’s not far.

I sat in the diner part of the restaurant and perched on a bar stool along the counter. The woman working there quickly offered me a bottomless mug of coffee, $1.69, and provided me with a menu. Little plastic containers of cream and a jar of sugar were already at the counter.

For breakfast, I chose the Silver Spoon Omelet, $7.99, described as having avocado, tomato, onion, bacon, mushrooms, and cheese. It also came with my choice of wheat toast and hash browns. After a short wait, my breakfast arrived.

The omelet was fluffy and I liked its texture. The inside was filled with plenty of caramelized mushrooms, onions, and large pieces of crunchy bacon. I love mushrooms, especially when cooked to a golden brown. The avocado on the top of the omelet was a little droopy and slightly oxidized. It didn’t taste bad, but could have been fresher.
The omelet, as a whole, tasted quite good, but I didn’t like the little dribbles of oil from the inside. These either from the sauteed vegetables or bacon grease. I enjoyed the hash browns. They were crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside. They were also nicely seasoned. The wheat toast was dense and grainy and spread with margarine. I helped myself to the plastic packs of strawberry and grape jelly available on the counter.
In summary, breakfast was fine. I appreciate that Kay’s used fresh mushrooms instead of canned. I hate canned mushrooms.
The service wasn’t notably warm, but it was attentive. My mug was frequently refilled with hot coffee and I received my bill quickly which was helpful since I was driving directly to class in Moorhead.
Although I enjoy breakfast foods, restaurant breakfasts don’t often strike me as life changing. More often than not, they have been decent, but not life changing. But that doesn’t keep me from searching.
Nine Breakfasts That Changed My Life
  • Venezuelan corn pancakes with butter, syrup, and cotija cheese from Maria’s Cafe, Minneapolis, MN
  • Daily egg bake from The Lodge On Lake Detroit, Detroit Lakes, MN
  • A freshly fried churro, Puebla, Mexico
  • The room service breakfast we ordered after our wedding from The St. Paul Hotel, St. Paul, MN.
  • Four-course breakfast at The Elephant Walk, a bed and breakfast in Stillwater MN (the cheese and homemade cracker platter was stunning as well. Rita even made me gluten-free muffins during my year-long, gluten-free phase).
  • Breakfast on trays including maple sausage, french toast, and fruit that we picked up to eat in our room at the Chelsea Station Inn, a bed and breakfast in Seattle, WA (The rooms are more like apartments and cost less than what you’d pay at a nice hotel. There is a community fridge packed with treats like goat cheese, local sodas and ice cream, plus an equally stuffed pantry).
  • Fluffy cinnamon rolls from Isles Bun & Coffee (I worked at an office next door one summer and, had this been longer, I would have had some problems).
  • An eggy breakfast skillet with thin slices of jalapenos griddled until caramelized at the Waveland Cafe, Des Moines, IA.
  • The simple but satisfying $5 free range eggs and sourdough toast plate from French Meadow Bakery and Cafe, Minneapolis, MN