It's been a constant at Nicollet Avenue and 42nd Street in south Minneapolis for years.
Curran's, yes — that family-run fixture that's served up classic, quality, affordable eats and one of the best breakfasts around since 1948.
But also, that banner. The one advertising a twice-daily $1.49 pie special (formerly just a buck). That sweet, sweet semaphore, a happy hour holdover from simpler times, bearing a plastic promise that every day, from 2 to 5 p.m., and again from 7 p.m. to close, you can get a slice for less than the cost of a load of laundry.
Except on this day? It's gone. Gone.
What does it mean? Is this the end of the pie special? Is south Minneapolis canceled?
Don't fret, fellow dessert lovers. Don't crash your car, double-take rubber-necking at the jarringly bare brick post. Don't text your therapist; do not leap from your bicycle and go careening through Curran's front door, stumbling up to the counter as you fumble for the right words, ultimately sputtering some combination of, "Uh, pie? The pie? Happy hour. Special. The banner? It, um, missing? Pie."
If you do, here is what will happen: The woman behind the pastry case will look at your deranged, sweaty face with concern, before pointing you to owner Dennis Curran, who will appraise you with a stare that shows — if it's possible — even graver concern.
Doing his very best to refrain from rolling his eyes, he will assure you: The pie special hasn't gone anywhere. You're fine. It's all fine.
He'll shake his head, and say, with a small sigh: "I'll put it back up today."
And you will get back on your bicycle and ride away, only a little embarrassed, having done nothing but give this poor soul another thing he needs to do today. Besides feeding people delicious pies.