Al’s Diner is a breakfast eatery. At only 10 feet wide, seating 14 patrons along one counter, it’s the smallest restaurant in Minneapolis.
With a legendary reputation of great food and long lines, Stephen, my friends and I, decided to give it a try.
We got in line outside thinking the wait wouldn’t be too long because there were only about 6 people ahead of us.
However, once we got inside, we found that the line continued to the end of the restaurant.
We had already invested enough time waiting that we couldn’t just walk away.
After an hour wait, our turn had arrived but only three seats were open. Three quarters of our party was seated, we just needed one more stool.
Al’s practice was to seat parties together, so it didn’t matter where the lone stool opened. If it wasn’t next to my group, other patrons would be instructed to move down to make room for me.
I ended up waiting another 30 minutes before being seated. During that time, I talked to a man in line behind me. Like me, he’d never been to Al’s, but his daughter said the food was delicious and it was worth the wait.
When I eventually joined my party, I noticed the yellow booklets on the lower shelves behind the counter. Frequent customers can purchase meal books and pre-pay for their food, hence the yellow books.
After an hour and 45 minutes from the time we began our journey, breakfast was served. I ate blueberry pancakes with bacon. It was tasty but I think anything would have tasted good at that point.
My buddy from the line stopped to ask about my meal on his way out. We both agreed the food was good. He said he thought it was worth the wait and asked if I thought so too. After standing more than an hour and a half, my brain wouldn’t allow anything less than agreement.
Now that I’ve gained some distance, I believe the experience was fun and worth doing once.
Was it really worth the wait? Probably not.
However, as customers perpetuate the myth, the legend will continue.
May the farce be with you!