LITTLE CANADA, Minn. - The moment that will live forever in the lore of Gordie's Place is still fresh in the minds of owners, employees and patrons, but on Monday came a chance to move on.
At 11 a.m. the doors to the popular Little Canada beer and burger stop opened to customers for the first time since May 30, when a pickup plowed through the wall of the establishment and pinned six customers against the bar. Some of them were hospitalized for days following the crash, but all somehow survived.
The bar reopened with little fanfare and a small, somewhat subdued crowd.
"Nothing grand about it, kind of grand the way it closed but not too grand of opening we will just get the doors open," said owner Tom Cossack.
Still, the trauma of the day brings much emotion.
"You cannot look at the film and not believe somebody did not get killed," said Cossack. "We are just very lucky."
Cossack says he repaired the bar from floor to ceiling, with damages above $100,000. The hole in the wall did lead to one new opportunity.
"This will be a welcome addition," pointing to Gordie's new patio deck. "There was a hole in the wall so I didn't have any trouble putting the door," he said.
The bar is also offering new t-shirts available with messages on them that are truly tongue-in-cheek. One reads "I survived Gordie's drive-thru," while others read "I didn't get smashed at Gordie's... this time" and "Gordie's: Not your average hole-in-the-wall."
"You got to have a sense of humor, you got to laugh, and say hey, everybody is alive," said bartender and bar manager, Pat Sazenski, who can be seen diving away from the truck in the video. "Today, I just keep one eye on the window and one eye on the customer."
At least two customers who were struck by the runaway pickup and pinned to the bar were on hand for the reopening but didn't want to talk about what the occasion meant as they are still too traumatized.
Patrons who survived the crash later described the impact like "a bomb going off." The Ramsey County Sheriff's Office spokesman Randy Gustafson says the driver of the pickup, 51-year-old Christine Spiritwolf, is believed to have suffered a diabetic-related medical emergency while driving on Little Canada Road, and will not be charged. She struck a power pole and careened Gordie's Place.
Surveillance tape captured the near-death incident, and catapulted the story into national headlines. People who saw it couldn't believe all the people who sat at the bar quietly chatting that afternoon survived.
Sazenski told KARE 11 days after the crash that Gordie's owner hoped to reopen the joint within a week, but that goal proved to be optimistic. The doors were finally reopened Monday, nearly four weeks after the crash.
Cossack says he just wants to go back to "everyday business", another year in the bar's 80 year history, a bar that gave him his first job six decades ago.
"We are just a plain old little bar in a small community, but a good community," he said.
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