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Friday, January 21, 2011

Which Mickeys do you like?

OK Twin Cities Foodies......whats the deal? If you've ever traveled down West 7th street through Saint Paul, have you ever noticed that there are 2 restaurants named Mickeys within a few miles of each other? Both are on the west side of the street, both are open 24 hours and I'd almost be willing to bet your soul that the tandem is not related to one another.
The more famous of the 2 would certainly be the "Dining Car" located at 36 West 7th. This building has been used for numerous movies, but none more prestigious than The Mighty Ducks. remember when Coach Bombay (Emilio Estavez) and Charlie sat in this space hashing out the meaning of life?
Without a doubt this place is not only a Saint Paul Icon, but a State Icon as well.
With that said........Mickeys on 1950 West 7th is really the better of the 2 places to go if you want good cafe food at a reasonable price. Mickeys #2, or Airport (because it isn't all that far from the Terminal #1 exit is awesome.
The place is owned I think (or at least run by, but I'm thinking owned) by an Egyptian guy named Khalid. The Egyptians have made a silent splash in some interesting food concepts that are not African in nature. Just down the street @ 1199 West 7th you'll find Ray's Mediterranean. Ray is from Cairo, and everytime I go in to get a Gyro, he and his wife are always darting around, multitasking. They have a cute baby that resides at the restaurant as well. the place is obviously blanketed with good karma.The only down side is when Ray first came to America, he set camp in NYC and now refuses to swap his Yankees cap for a Twins.
Then there is that Fire & Ice mini chain which is run by Mohammid. Dude is cool. He can barter with the best of them. Many people think I'm being cute when I say the only 2 peeps in the TC's I'll shut my pie hole to listen to are Mohammid and David Fhima, they are Masters at what they do, and I can learn a lot by just listening to them.
But....back to Mickeys #2.....Khalid has a full service Winnebago camper behind the restaurant that he practically lives out of. I still remember the first time i went to pay a call on him, the server at the counter directed me to go back to the camper. I kinda furrowed my brow and made my way around the back, only to see Khalid standing on the top step of his camper, about 3 feet higher than a U.S. Foods delivery guy, and the dude from the Coke (or was it Pepsi?) truck.
Because Klecko is such a fun loving guy, you'd think he laughs alot, but actually that simply isn't true. Klecko usually just cracks smart Alec grins or simply stares with approval, but as Khalid thrust his hands through the air barking instructions at these 2 guys as if he were Patton steering a battalion.....I actually laughed audibly, and I was soooo laughing with him, not against him.
And the coolest deal he's got going on is....if you are an industry person and need to make contact with him, he'll send you back from the camper and tell you to wait in the restaurant, where he will join you soon. Tick-Tock goes the clock.....5 minutes, 10 minutes, then a server will offer you a pop. 5 more minutes elapse, and then just when you head out the front door, you'll see Khalid bounce out of the camper. The first few times I could never figure out how no matter whether I waited 6 minutes or 35 minutes Khalid would always seem to use ESP to time his departure from the camper in unison with my departure from the restaurant, but finally one day one of the servers mumbled at me with stiff ventriquist lips. "Brah, he's got cameras thoughout this entire place. He loves to entertain himself by watching you on his monitors in the trailor.
Once again....Danny Klecko laughed out loud.
Peeps, Whether you are going to the X-Cel Center, Airport or Downtown.....I hope you will consider dropping a few bucks into the hands of these Egyptian friends.

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