Classic, compact, and colorful, the Band Box Diner stands out among the historic brownstone buildings in the Minneapolis neighborhood of Elliot Park. Colorful…not just because the building’s candy-striped exterior catches the eye. The charming business claims a storied past. Its history includes tales of underworld king Isadore “Kid Cann” Blumenfeld—the man FBI agents once called “ The Overlord of Minneapolis.”
The Band Box survives as the last of fourteen identical units that once graced area streets. Harry and Bert Weisman founded the franchise in 1939, hiring the Butler Manufacturing Company to fabricate petite box-like buildings that could serve fast and inexpensive food. The name Band Box was selected because during the 1930s and 1940s men put their collars and cuffs in a small box—a bandbox—when they took their shirts to the cleaners.
“They wanted a name that would say this place was clean and special and small,”says current owner Brad Ptacek.