The Band Box Diner’s grill was ailing, and so too were the chances the historic diner would stay open.
But Wednesday, the Minneapolis diner with the red-and-white facade got new life after surpassing $5,000 in donations on a crowdfunding website.
“I’ve been limping this thing along for a long time, and I never dreamed this would happen,” owner and cook Brad Ptacek said.
For months, Ptacek and the other cooks have been flipping its classic burgers and omelets on a faulty 1985 grill. And as its life neared its end, so did the business.
“My whole life is here,” said Bailey Jimenez, Ptacek’s daughter and employee.
But thanks to donations, even as small as $5, from loyal patrons the diner raised money to purchase a new commercial grill. The replacement is on its way.
The Elliot Park location is the last of 14 diners that were once managed by Bert and Harry Weisman in the 1930s. It was designated a historic landmark by the Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission in 2000.
“Having everyone reach and donate kind of … made [us] realize what a staple we are in the community,” Jimenz said.