The lid has been lifted on the virtual ballot box, the votes have been counted and a winner has been declared for the title of "America's Best Bathroom."
The Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport — by a landslide — is the most inviting place to do what needs to be done.
Airport officials were presented the honor Monday from Cintas, a major supplier of products for public restroom facilities. Cintas conducted online potty polling for about four weeks this fall with 10 public bathrooms on the ballot.
Pointing to recent upgrades, Cintas had much to say about what makes MSP the place to … well, you know:
"Restroom zones are highlighted by softer lighting and a material palette that serves as a wayfinding icon. This zone includes a waiting area as well as an amenity node with flight information, emergency devices and curated art display cases. Art that reflects features of Minnesota is also featured within the restrooms, with original mosaic art in the entrances, created by a different regional artist at each set."
Of the 4,790 votes cast, nearly 39 percent were for MSP. Its closest competitor, the Charmery ice cream shop in Baltimore, garnered 16 percent of votes.
In reaction to the results, airport spokesman Patrick Hogan was flush with pride, saying, "More than 36 million people travel through MSP International's terminals every year, the vast majority of whom visit a restroom while at the airport. It is important to design restrooms that are fully functional for travelers with carry-on bags, accessible for people with disabilities and sustainable from an environmental standpoint.
"We also wanted to incorporate regional art in the form of permanent mosaics at the entrance to the facilities as well as art display cases outside the restrooms to provide a sense of Minnesota's vibrant arts community."
MSP has about 100 sets of restrooms in both terminals. That includes those outside secure areas and employee areas beyond those serving the traveling public.
The airport is hardly resting on its restroom laurels. They facilities are in the midst of a renovation program that began in 2009 and will continue until 2025. Among the upgrades are shelves for carry-on bags, built-in niches for rolling luggage and, yes, wider stalls.
Also competing for best bathroom honors in the 15th annual contest were: Coca-Cola Park, Allentown, Pa.; Leña Brava restaurant, Chicago; the Novel Neighbor bookstore, St. Louis; Safe House restaurant and bar, Milwaukee; Swift & Sons restaurant, Chicago; the Vine hotel restaurant, New York City; the Way Station saloon, Brooklyn, N.Y.; and Urban Ecology Center, Milwaukee.
In 2013, the bathroom at the Varsity Theater in Minneapolis' own Dinkytown came away with top honors.