The neighborhood just north of the University of Minnesota's East Bank campus has long been known affectionately as "Dinkytown." It is like a small town's main street and has been a hangout for musicians, artists, students, and professors for over fifty years.
“Dinkytown”, now that is an interesting name…"
The name most likely derives from the days when trolleys and rail cars were a common sight in the area. The little vehicles were referred to as “Dinkys.”
One of Dinkytown's most famous landmarks. long familiar to generations of U of MN students and residents of the Twin Cities, is Al's Breakfast, the tiny hole-in-the wall nook just a few doors down from the Book House.
Walk down 14th Street and you will find many other restaurants and sidewalk cafés. Espresso Royale is a favorite gathering place for a diverse cross section of neighborhood dwellers and provides exhibit space for young artists. Kafe 21 offers a bistro-like ambience with European-inspired cuisine. The old corner drugstore has been remodelled into the trendy Loring Pasta Bar, and around the corner there is Shuang Chen with excellent Chinese fare. Across the street from the Book House is Blarney's Pub offering Irish pub fare and and Vescios serving fantastic Italian food.
Around on First Avenue are our neighbors Magus Books where you can pick up the latest in magic and esoteric books or get herbs, incense, and shiatsu. There is also the newly expanded Purple Onion cafe on the ground floor of an apartment building built for University student housing.