A Dylan Night in Minnesota
A Dylan Night
An out-of-towner wanted to find Bob Dylan haunts in Dinkytown. He had stayed on after participating in a national athletic event for seniors in Minnesota. I had run into him at a library and was his reluctant tour guide for the evening. He had listened to ONLY to Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, and the 5th Dimension during is entire 22 hour and 2091 km car trip to Minneapolis. I felt he deserved to find Dinkytown. It is easy to overlook amongst the sprawl of the University of Minnesota where Dylan may or may not of attended college.
The Grand Tour
First Stop – Gray’s Drug Store or the back alley of The Loring Cafe. We went around back as it has been substantiated that Bob Dylan’s room overlooked the back alley. Humble digs for a young man from Hibbing, Minnesota.
Second Stop – Al’s Diner. Al’s diner has twelve seats and only twelve seats. It is an institution and crammed full of memories. But back in the day maybe Bob was able to slip into Al’s diner for pancakes or a cup of coffee. It was also a place for railroad workers who would prepay for food in coupon booklets as they only got paid once a month. Some of the booklets are still on the walls.
Last Stop – Vescio. Vescio is an Italian restaurant that is still around but was not open on a Monday night. We went there occasionally as a family and your spaghetti was priced per meatball. I remember that my father ordered three and I could barely finish the one gigantic meatball. I thought it was exotic. Perhaps Bob came in for pizza with friends. It’s the kinda place that keeps bringing you bread that would have sustained a young Bob Dylan.
Loring Park Cafe
In well under an hour and I had run out of things to say as tour guide. McGoshes bookstore is gone and I am reaching for Dylan trivia for this traveler. It is the calm before the storm before the students return and I retreat back to what was Gray’s Drugstore and what now is the Loring Cafe. During dinner we talk about Minnesota’s native son and the impact his music has had on the world. I mention Moville’s Dylan Fest to this restless retiree. “Maybe next year”, he said.