Just a five-minute walk from the new Tria hockey facility in downtown St. Paul is Mickey’s Diner, a classic establishment that has served meals at West Seventh Street since 1937.

Heading to this diner following the Otter girls’ state hockey consolation title win at the Tria rink the morning of Feb. 23 was an easy decision.

Mickey’s dining car has been operating 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, for 82 years. This establishment is best noted for its all-day and all-night breakfast menu.

Portion sizes are huge, especially if a person orders eggs, toast, hashbrowns and bacon. We knew in advance that this plate of food was enough for two people.

“We go through 600 pounds of hashbrowns halfway through the week,” said the cook working across from us at the Mickey’s Diner counter. “Our hashbrowns are steamed and shredded from whole raw potatoes.”

Mickey’s buttermilk pancakes were featured by NBC’s Al Roker who also works for the nationally renowned Food Network.

The menu at Mickey’s also includes homemade mulligan stew, hamburgers, ice cream floats, Jumbo French Toast, fish and chips, southern fried chicken, grilled liver in onions with bacon strips and much more.

“My mom frequented Mickey’s Diner when she was a nursing student at the College of St. Catherine back in the 1940s,” said Sally Worum, a 1970 graduate of Fergus Falls High School. “It’s so great that Mickey’s is still at the same location.”

Dining car came from New Jersey

Mickey’s Diner was designed to resemble a railroad dining car from the era of the 1930s.

This classic dining car was manufactured in New Jersey and shipped by rail to St. Paul on a flatbed in 1937. It was built in the Art Deco style.

Movie scenes have been filmed at Mickey’s Diner over the years, including “The Mighty Ducks,” “Jingle All the Way,” “The Danbury Mint” and “Saks Fifth Avenue.”

Mickey’s Diner was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. The designation helped preserve the diner during urban renewal in downtown St. Paul.

“Love that place,” said Fergus Falls native Patrick Donoho on Facebook. Another Facebook comment came from Linda Mellon, “Love their breakfasts.”

An online testimonial speaks volumes about Mickey’s Diner in St. Paul.

“Stepping into Mickey’s is a visit back to when diners were neighborhood gathering places and strangers ate together. It has a special history of its own thanks to movies, books and radio shows.”

Dedicated fund for roads, bridges needed

In October 2018 a poll by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune and Minnesota Public Radio found that 56 percent of respondents supported a 10-cent gas tax increase to maintain roads and bridges throughout Minnesota.

Those who say no to a gas tax increase may need to accept an increase in the vehicle registration tax and the motor vehicle sales tax that people pay when purchasing a vehicle.

With roads and bridges in Otter Tail County and across the state in need of repair, people need to realize this is not about a choice between raising taxes or not raising taxes. It’s a choice between living in a state with a safe transportation system or living in a state with crumbling roads and bridges.

“Residents are willing to pay more taxes if it means keeping roads and bridges safe,” says Otter Tail County Public Works Director Rick West. “This was expressed loud and clear in previous months at public meetings held throughout Otter Tail County.”

With overwhelming citizen support, the five-person Otter Tail County Board of Commissioners approved a half-cent county sales tax. Later, they approved a license tab renewal fee of $10 per vehicle that was increased to $20, all dedicated to road and bridge maintenance.

Otter Tail County is larger in size than the state of Rhode Island and paved roads total 1,062 miles.

Our county has 2,225 square miles compared to Rhode Island with1,212.

Tom Hintgen is a longtime Daily Journal columnist. His column appears Saturdays.

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