Back to Top


Eats: Kay's Kitchen is much more than 'just a little hometown diner'


What’s the best part of waking up? For many of us, it’s breakfast! Tanya Finken, owner of the 2017 Best Breakfast winner Kay’s Kitchen, told the Times about the ups and downs of the restaurant life, plus her favorite breakfast dishes.

What, in your opinion, is the secret to Kay’s Kitchen’s continued popularity in the community?

Our diverse blend of clientele. We have our hometown locals that support us year round, and then we have the beauty of having St. John’s and St. Ben’s students shower us with their vibrant energy on weekend mornings. The college has been a huge supporter of Kay’s.

What’s the best part about working in the restaurant industry? What’s the most challenging part?

The best part of my job is getting to know my customers’ stories. It’s amazing how much success, beauty and golden hearts we serve every day, from veterans to those that donate their time to volunteering. Such a wonderful blend of people in our community that we all get to surround ourselves with every day! The most challenging part has been finding and retaining cooks in the industry for evening and weekend help, as well as trying to balance life and kids’ activities while having to cover evening shifts at work. A day in the life of managing a restaurant — always looking for that balance!

Describe your idea of the perfect meal:

For starters, start off with the best part: pie! Either our homemade coconut cream pie or rhubarb custard are always a treat for me! For the meal, definitely breakfast. An egg white omelette topped with salsa, or a breakfast salad. I love breakfast all day.

What do you want Times readers to know about your business that they might not already know?

Kay’s has been serving our amazing customers since 1972! Its tradition of freshly baked treats and homemade recipes and sauces does not go unnoticed — customers often will say, “Last time I had creamy cucumbers, potato salad, or gravy like that my Mom was still with us and made it!” We take great pride in customer service. We want our customers to have a beautiful, relaxed, delicious, experience, even if it’s just a little hometown diner.

- Back to Best of Central Minnesota -