Do or die for historic Twin Cities diner as it crowd-funds for survival


Update: The diner reached it's goal the morning after this article was posted. Click here to read the update.

A distinctive and historic Minneapolis diner is turning to crowd-funding in a last-ditch attempt to stay open.

Although takings are good, The Band Box Diner in the Eliot Park neighborhood of downtown is short on capital, and The Business Journal reports its last grill burner is on the brink and urgently needs replacing.

If it dies, so does the business, and chef and owner Brad Ptacek has launched a GoFundMe page to raise the $5,000 he needs to buy a new commercial grill. The fund was approaching that total Tuesday evening.

The page says: "Our grill is on its last leg (1985 Vulcan that they no longer make parts for). Which means if it reaches the end of its useful life, we are out of business.

"Please help us raise money to invest in a grill that will keep us slaying those burger and breakfasts you love!"

The diner enjoys an excellent reputation among Minnesota diners, with City Pages naming it its best diner in 2013, describing it as the number one spot to get a greasy-spoon fix in the Twin Cities.

Its loss would be a blow to Minneapolis' food heritage, given it is the last survivor of 14 prefab diners opened by Bert and Harry Weisman in the 1930s and has been since the second to last closed in 1972, according to the Star Tribune.

The City of Minneapolis website says the Band Box Diner chains became a gathering spot for people from all walks of life following their launch in the 1930s because they were open all night, and even became favored haunts of local gangsters.

In 2000, the diner was designated as an historic landmark by the Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission.

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