As one of the oldest restaurants in Minneapolis -- it's certainly the tiniest -- it's no surprise that Al's Breakfast might have a few images in the Star Tribune's archives (read my interview with owners Alison Kirwin and Doug Grina here). Here's a quick visual trip down Dinkytown memory lane:
 

May 16, 1973: "Breakfast won't be the same in Dinkytown," reads the caption. "Champagne flowed and spirits were high as friends gathered Tuesday [May 15] to help Al Bergstrom, left, with flower in mouth, celebrate his 23rd anniversary of the operation of Al's Breakfast. Bergstrom, 67, plans to semi-retire July 1. Gov. Wendell Anderson, who used to eat breakfast there as a student at the University of Minnesota, came to the festivities with a plaque for Bergstrom, which said, 'To Al Bergstrom, whose wholesome food and warm hospitality have made breakfast a Dinkytown tradition for 23 years. May 15, 1973.' (Photo by Mike Zerby) . 

 

May 16, 1980:  "Al Bergstrom looked on as his nephew was kissed by a customer," reads the caption. "It was Al Bergstrom Day on Thursday [May 15] as Al's Breakfast in Dinkytown celebrated its 30th anniversary. Al, age 74 and seven years retired to Forest Lake, was back -- minus his dirty white T-shirt and chef's hat -- clowning around with customers as he always did. You might say the diner was packed except, as any regular knows, Al's is always standing-room-only at breakfast time." (Photo by Duane Braley). 

May 11, 2000: "Al's Breakfast has been a Dinkytown tradition for 50 years," reads the caption. "Little has changed, including the long lines of people waiting for one of the 14 counter seats. Longtime (35 years) customer Tom Roe, right, and his wife Robyn Roe, left, chat with co-owner Doug Grina, 13-year-employee Mary Rose Ciatti and four-year-employee Alison Kirwin (reading paper) as the Al's Breakfast crew attempt to help the Roes choose a dog from the newspaper on Thursday morning." (Photo by Ann Heisenfelt).

June 10, 2003: "Outside the back door of Al's Breakfast sits a sign that aptly describes the low-key 'greasy spoon' atmosphere of the restaurant, reads the caption. "Al's Breakfast, a tiny diner in Dinkytown known to current and former University of Minnesota students, has been a favorite establishment since it was built in a former alley on May 15th,1950 by Al Bergstrom, who died last week at age 97." (Photo by Judy Griesedieck).

Mr. Bergstrom's obituary was published in the Star Tribune on June 11, 2003. The story included a tale from former Gov. Wendell Anderson, "who first walked into Al's during his sophomore year in 1951," it said. "He's been eating the same meal - buttermilk pancakes, sausages, milk and coffee - ever since. 'When big shots come to town, I always take them to Al's,' Anderson said. 'It's a Minnesota icon.'" Anderson died in July.

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