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Food & Drink

C’mon Gang, Let’s Save Band Box Diner!

The landmark Elliot Park breakfast/burger joint needs $15,000.

9:41 AM CDT on September 30, 2021


Band Box Diner was in danger of closing before COVID-19. The historic burger destination on the fringes of downtown Minneapolis needed a new grill in 2015, and its Elliot Park neighbors responded to the tune of $6,425.

Then, as you may have read, a global pandemic hit five years later, shutting down restaurant service for months.

Band Box, in biz since 1939, never reopened.

Now the greasy-spoon institution needs your help again. Loyal customer Cassie Garner convinced owner/chef Brad Ptacek and his wife, Heather, to accept donations from a just-launched GoFundMe page that's seeking $15,000.

"Band Box was too small for safe social distancing, so they never reopened to the public," Garner writes of the 14-seat diner at 729 S. 10th St. "Additionally, Heather and Brad were navigating their son’s distance learning education for the past 18 months while Heather was fighting breast cancer; we are happy to report Heather is doing well and in the final stage of treatment."

Brad and Heather, who've been flipping eggs and taking orders since acquiring Band Box in 1998, have identified exactly where the money will go.

Vandals wrecked three doors on the historic building, which was designated a historic landmark in 2000 by the Minneapolis Heritage Preservation, so custom replacements will be required. Other needed improvements include: windows, plumbing, and security cameras, according to Garner. Anything leftover will go toward an initial food order, menus, and hiring staff.

"Brad and Heather have worked so hard to keep this beloved gathering space alive," Garner writes, noting that all donations (minus fees) will go directly to Band Box. "Now’s our chance to step up for them."

At press time, the GoFundMe had raised over $9,000.

You might remember multiple Band Boxes from the middle part of the last century, when around a dozen of the diners dotted the Twin Cities. You absolutely remember the Elliot Park location from its primo placement in 1994's Mighty Ducks 2.

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