Hard Times Cafe

Twin Cities, Minnesota

4.0 / 85 votes

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Hard Times is a collectively run all-vegetarian cafe, many of the items are vegan.

Restaurant, Coffee/Tea/Juice

Located on the West Bank near the U of M, Hard Times is open 22 hours a day, so no time is a bad time to drop by and get something to eat. Prices are cheap and the food is pretty basic, but when it's four in the morning and you've only got a couple of bucks and you're in the mood for some loud punk rock, there's not too many other options.

Added by Let's Eat! on Feb 28 03 (last updated May 13 15)

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Most Recent Reviews

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Hands down the best vegetarian restaurant in the Twin Cities.

From the delicious (and cheap) vegan cupcakes and whoopie pies, to the umami-heavy biscuits and gravy, this is simply some of the best that Minnesota has to offer for vegetarians. The grill is vegetarian only, so no meat will get mixed in with your food. The menu is broad, with quesadillas, breakfast fare, sandwiches, salads, and soups. I really have a lot of respect for the cooks here, who make everything from scratch and toil alone on the grill as waves of people flow through.

The atmosphere here is not everyone's cup of tea, but I just love it. The bathrooms have an unholy amount of graffiti and there are references to satan throughout the cafe. The music is very diverse and the people watching is always good.


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So, Hard Times is pretty much my favorite restaurant. That said, I initially* didn't give it 5 stars because you really have to know what you're getting at Hard Times and I could totally see someone having an unpleasant experience there.

The coffee: Really really thick, kind of murky. French Pressed. I love it-- it's some of my favorite coffee in the city, but it's too much for a lot of folks.

The baked goods: The Espresso Cupcake is the best cupcake i've gotten from a cafe. Their muffins are a little dense for me. Their cookies are usually really good. I don't like the peanut butter cup. They change it up a lot, and some of the best items are random one-offs.

The soups are really good, and just about everybody loves the vegan biscuits and gravy. The quality of the food does vary pretty drastically from day-to-day/cook-to-cook. Their food can be on the greasy side sometimes, but I like that.

The service is quick, especially when it's not too busy. I've ordered soup and had it ready before I sat down. If you expect the staff to smile at you and compliment your shirt you'll be totally disappointed. On the flip side, if someone working there smiles at you or makes conversation, you'll know it's because they actually want to, rather than faking it to keep their manager happy. It's more honest that way.

IMPORTANT: Make sure you write what you want down on a slip of paper and put your name on the bottom, otherwise you'll piss off the barista. If you've got a super common name, like Matthew, make sure you put your last initial down so that you don't hear your name called, pick up someone with the same names food, and then come to blows thinking that you stole each others' food.

It's not actually dirty, just grungy. You can see the kitchen, and it's super clean and sanitary. The bathrooms are full of graffiti but people don't piss on the seat. The tables are carved up but they get wiped down as often as you'd expect from a cafe.

Hard Times is one of the few all vegetarian restaurants in the cities, and it's collectively run to boot! That alone makes me love it.

*I changed my review to a 5 because the staff seems to have gotten friendlier over the last few years.

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Neighborhood

West Bank

Non-Smoking

No Reservations

Not Wheelchair Accessible

Prices

$ - inexpensive

Cash Only

Cuisines

  • American
  • Mexican
  • Eclectic (Varied)

Features

  • Gluten-Free Options
  • Wi-Fi

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main image for Hard Times Cafe image for Hard Times Cafe Vegan biscuit breakfast with gravy Vegan Rancheros with side salad

Hours

6am - 4am

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