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"Yep. For real."

That's the caption on a photo of an "Open" sign posted Thursday to Band Box Diner's Facebook page.

The replies were emphatic: GIFs of a baby yelling "Yesss!" and a cat riding a unicorn were how fans are expressing their joy at the much-awaited reopening of this downtown Minneapolis institution, which had been dark since March 17, 2020 — the day dining rooms were ordered closed in Minnesota.

Under owners Brad Ptacek and Heather Dalzen, the red-and-white 1939 diner near Elliot Park had remained one of the longest shuttered restaurants since the pandemic shook the restaurant industry.

In a 2021 article in the Star Tribune, Ptacek and Dalzen said they were dealing with Dalzen's cancer diagnosis and treatment and overseeing their son Laughlin's education when his school went into remote-learning mode.

The owners launched a crowdfunding campaign to help cover reopening costs, including installing security measures to counteract vandalism and property damage from several break-ins during the early months of the pandemic.

Now, almost two years after raising more than $26,000, the historic landmark is back with its signature short-order fare, including omelets, burgers and pancakes.

The Band Box, 729 S. 10th St., is open 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wed.-Fri. and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sat.