Searching For Breakfast in Rochester, Minnesota

This year feels like I’m living a long version of Sex & the City S4:11.

When I watched the show in my earlier 20’s I never really understood Charlotte. Re-watching the series, I never understood her more than during this episode.

A lot of things are hard when you’re dealing with infertility: Facebook pregnancy announcements, your Instagram feed, baby showers, family holiday gatherings, and people giving terrible advice (like anything alluding to relaxing more).

You will truly not know how you’re going to feel about any of these things until you’re confronted with this reality. Sex and the City got a lot of things wrong (and nailed others), but accurately captured many of the feelings around infertility.

We’ve spent a lot of time driving to and from Rochester, Minnesota to see our provider. An hour and a half drive feels annoying, especially when you’re racing to and from work. But, in the grand scheme of things, I realize how fortunate we are to even have this option within two hours.

Mayo is like hospital city on the prairie. Is the downtown the clinic or is the clinic the downtown? It’s hard to tell. About 34,000 people work at the Rochester sites. This means about 30% of Rochester, Minnesota is composed of Mayo employees which seems pretty remarkable.

Early morning appointments mean we’re sometimes in search of breakfast. People gave us many breakfast suggestions. On the days we had the time, we’ve tried a new restaurant. Neither of us have spent any time in Rochester so it’s all new.

The Mayo operates in-house cafeterias at the Methodist and St. Mary’s campuses. I peeked at the menu and the prices are very affordable. You could eat a full, hot breakfast for about five dollars.


The last time I ate an a Pannekoeken was decades ago when one operated in the Burnsville Center. This Pannekoeken is located in the across the street from the Methodist hospital in the Days Inn.

The Mettwurst Skillet serves up two eggs, breakfast potatoes, Mettwurst sausage (tastes like kielbasa) and a side of pancakes. I could have taken or left the pancakes but the breakfast potatoes are some kind of light, crisp act of sorcery.

Of course, there are pannekoekens. Servers race through the dining room chanting “Pannekoeken, Pannekoeken, Pannekoeken” upon delivery to tables.

To get to the bathrooms you have to walk through the Days Inn lobby and into the basement. They’re certainly find if you need to go but you’ll probably be more comfortable waiting until you return to the Mayo.

 Cheap Charlie’s

Cheap Charlie’s is really a dive.

It’s a half mile walk from the Methodist campus. If there’s a train running on the tracks along Civic Center Drive, you may have to wait a bit.

According to this article published in the Post Bulletin, Cheap Charles has operated at least seventy years. You’ll know it by the pig statue on the roof above the front door.

The bar seating running across the restaurant is pretty cool. Breakfast meals also come with one’s choice of coffee, milk, juice or hot tea.

Omelets are the thin rolled kind. A ham and cheese omelets is quite literally an omelet filled with diced ham and a slice of American cheese with a square slice of American cheese melted on top. This is either going to be right up your alley or not at all.

The Spanish Omelet is a toasty flour tortilla folded around generous portion of scrambled eggs, taco beef, diced fresh tomatoes, jalapeños, onion, cheese and sour cream. It’s served with toast and a bottle of hot sauce. We loved it. The food was served so freshly from the griddle that it remained piping hot through our entire meal.

The pancakes were also noteworthy. They tasted homemade and basically embodied what I aspire to make from scratch and often fall short of.

I didn’t like the air freshener smell, Jake didn’t even notice it. 

A couple other places friends have suggested include Canadian Honker and weekend brunch at Chester’s. There are more I can’t recall. On one hand I hope we won’t have to keep driving here for appointments, but since we do, we might as well enjoy some good food, right?

Have you spent time in Rochester, Minnesota? Feel free to leave any thoughts or restaurant recommendations in the comments below. 


  1. Will @ Road Tips

    My wife and I ate at the Pannekoeken in Rochester a number of years ago, absolutely in the dark about the practice of the old ladies coming out of the kitchen and yelling, “Pannekoeken!” I was like, “What the hell…?” After hearing this a couple three times before finally figuring things out, I told my wife, “I sure as hell wouldn’t want someone announcing to the whole restaurant what I ordered for breakfast!”

  2. Feisty Eats

    Sending you good vibes, Jeni.

  3. katie

    Love to you and yours my dear, may you get the answers and outcomes that you desire.

  4. Ann Teget

    Great post!

    I love lunch at Salad Bros. It is a great quick stop on our way from the clinic back to the Doubletree. I love the made-to-order salads, the Minnesota wild rice soup, and the complimentary rolls. And, there’s an incredible kitchen store nearby called Counter Point.

    I’ll gather a list of some other places, as well, and will pray that God gives you the desires of your heart.

    • Jeni

      Thanks Ann! We will check them out if we find ourselves there around lunch. Sounds wonderful. Thanks so much for your kind comment.

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