• 50°

Restaurant known for pancakes has been in city since 1950

Waitress Crystal Bagley pours coffee for Howard Schewe Saturday morning at B&B Cafe, where service is prompt. – Tim Engstrom/Albert Lea Tribune

Waitress Crystal Bagley pours coffee for Howard Schewe Saturday morning at B&B Cafe, where service is prompt. – Tim Engstrom/Albert Lea Tribune

No. 14: B&B Cafe

There are a number of restaurants and other places to eat in and around Albert Lea, but B&B Cafe, arguably one of the smallest of those places, has one of the strongest followings.

According to Clint Miller, who owns B&B along with his wife, Holly, the cafe has been in existence since about 1950. The Millers bought it from the previous owners almost 12 years ago, after Holly had worked as a server for about a year beforehand.

B&B Cafe comes in at No. 14 on the Tribune’s favorite places of Albert Leans.

The cozy cafe is known for its large pancakes that take up almost the entire circumference of the plates they’re served on. Breakfast menu items are available at lunch, too, and there is a lunch portion to the menu that’s offered after 11 a.m.

B&B, 321 Sibley St., is open from 5 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 5 to 10:30 a.m. Saturday. Clint said the cafe’s busiest days are typically Friday and Saturday.

There are about an additional 12 servers who work part time at the cafe, but the Millers run the kitchen. Clint does most of the cooking at B&B, with Holly backing him up when needed.

The cafe is relatively small, with a counter and stools surrounding a small, open kitchen where Clint makes pancakes, grills burgers and fixes up other menu items. A number of booths outline the perimeter. Friends and strangers are found chatting at the counter, sometimes flipping quarters, while other people gather in booths and tables decorated with Americana, such as small highway signs, big forks or a painting of a cow.

Locals love it, but they also get regulars who travel the interstate highways, too.

Clint easily said his favorite part about the place is the customers, especially, “being out in the morning with customers lined up around the counter.”

He also said he hopes to run the restaurant into his retirement, for at least another 10 years. When he and Holly bought B&B he said they had been considering opening up a restaurant beforehand, and that buying the cafe was a great opportunity they didn’t want to pass up.

“It was a good move,” Clint said.

Judging by the lack of empty seats, the almost-constant pouring of pancake batter on the griddle and the continuous conversation throughout the place, he’s right.

 

25 favorite places 

The Tribune staff compiled what it feels are the 25 favorite places of Albert Leans. The results will be published over the course of the coming weeks. What will be No. 1? Agree or disagree, it will be enjoyable to mull over and discuss. Send feedback to letters@albertleatribune.com.