Really, really yummy food. However, I found the atmosphere a little frightening. I admit it, I'm a small town girl and I'm used to restaurants where the staff at least pretends to be nice to you. The bathrooms were scary, my friend and I had to go in together. I think we were very obviously tourists. Luckily, the food was awesome enough to make up for the scariness.
With its casual neighborhood vibe the Hard Times feels like a family restaurant in the morning, a post-modern art student's study hall dream in the afternoon, and later, in the post-bar rush and late night hours there's a slightly more rough-and-tumble sheen (but this is the city; fraidy cats get back in yer car and drive to Denny's!) Food ranges from interesting vegetarian takes on American Casual to fantastic house special concoctions that are known to keep loyal regulars coming back for years. Best known for their 'so strong it can defend itself' coffee, the place has also been a focal point for the West Bank's youth culture and as such is a true institution. And whether you're a vegetarian cutting your teeth on Minneapolis' cafe culture, a neighborhood regular, or a music or Arts Quarter student (at the U) the fact is the Hard Times Cafe is indispensable, hence the five stars it so richly deserves.
hard times is about alot more than food-the place has quite a reputation among the knowing crowd. much respect! but i was extremely surprised to see it on yahoos top 5 places to bring a kid in the mpls. ?
The first time I ever saw the kitchen area at HT, I was frightened. Back last year, I tried a quesadilla- why did I wait so long before ordering from there? And when you order anything breakfast-ey, the portions are enough to feed a squad of paratroopers! I've been having coffee and tea from HT since 1991, and am kicking myself for not having gone through the menu sooner!!!
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