By Kate Raddatz

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — When you walk into the Waverly Cafe, you feel right at home.

Maybe it’s the comfort food, or the coffee cups you can leave on the wall for your next visit.

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But owner Sarah Larson will tell you it’s the people of Waverly, the city that Vice President Hubert Humphry called home.

“I know most of my customers on a first-name basis. It’s like a big family,” Larson said. “I have some customers that come in every day.”

One of those customers is Harold, 91.

“I’ve been halfway around the world and this is the best place,” Harold said.

(credit: CBS)

Even out-of-towners will travel for miles. It’s one dish in particular that makes the Waverly Cafe the Best of Minnesota.

“We’re known for our stuffed hash browns,” Sarah said.

Their stuffed hash browns have not just one, but two layers of slivered, golden-fried potatoes. They really are stuffed.

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“Ham, bacon, onions and mushrooms — and then another layer of cheesy hash browns,” said head cook Karrie Jo.

She shreds three Russet potatoes fresh for each order. Customers can get them in a half order or the full order, which is a meal on its own.

Sarah says the full order is by far the café’s most-requested item.

“To turn hash browns into a meal, it’s great,” said customer Chris Blocher.

Long before Sarah was slinging award-winning hash browns, she was just a kid living in the Twin Cities, cooking with her dad.

“My dad just really loved cooking, and we would spend a lot of time at night cooking dinner for our family,” she said.

When Sarah had kids of her own, she moved to Waverly for a quieter life. She picked up a waitressing job at the Waverly Cafe while she was in nursing school. She fell in love with the place, and bought the restaurant in October of 2016.

Sarah’s dad passed away before she took over the restaurant. She says he’d be proud not just of the food that gets people in the door, but the feeling of home that keeps them coming back.

“The people in this town are what makes this restaurant incredible, and makes this town incredible,” Sarah said.

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Kate Raddatz