Al’s Breakfast in Dinkytown has reopened to dine-in service for the first time since the pandemic largely shut down operations in March 2020.
The restaurant, a mainstay of the University of Minnesota campus area, officially reopened on Friday after a soft opening earlier this week, according to posts on its social media pages.
The diner bar, which has space for only 13 diners at a time, wrote on Facebook that the restaurant would reopen to vaccinated individuals only, stating, “We’re too small to share space with unvaccinated people. Get a shot!!”
Owner Alison Kirwin said the restaurant would not be verifying customer’s vaccination status, relying instead on an honor's system, but would be reinforcing the messaging on social media and in-person.
Throughout the pandemic, Al’s Breakfast offered some takeout offerings and its $50-for-two "staff meals" weekly specials to keep business running. Still, the restaurant said it had lost around 75% of its business during the pandemic, with the diner too small for social distancing to reopen during the dial-turns of 2020, and has had to make some cuts to staff and hours.
Al’s Breakfast joined other local establishments in asking for the public’s help to stay afloat. It launched a campaign with the goal of raising $75,000 on its website. According to the page, the fundraiser raised around $55,000.
The restaurant, which has operated under its current name since the 1960s, was also named to Esquire magazine’s list of 100 restaurants America can’t afford to lose in January.