By Ryan Hill

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – There were plenty of smiling, familiar faces at Sacramento’s  Tower Café as it reopened for business Monday after more than a year.

“It’s great to see some of them. It’s like a homecoming,” said Will Green, who’s been eating at Tower Café for 35 years.

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It was also the first time in a long time people could finally get those desired dishes.

“The All-Week Special,” George McKamy said.

“The French toast and it’s the best French toast in the world!” Green said.

The restaurant opened its doors for the first time since closing in March 2020 — the start of the pandemic.

“We missed a lot of opportunities during COVID and we were always anticipating when this would reopen, not knowing if they would,” said McKamy, who’s been eating at the restaurant for two decades.

“It’s exciting. This is actually his first time here. So, yeah, we were going to wait for daddy but we couldn’t wait any longer,” said Justine Salamy, who brought her son for the first Tower Café meal.

The Café’s owner, Jim Seyman, told CBS13 that a long wait was needed to make sure they could open safely, even after the state reopened.

“Without those restrictions, I think a lot of places took that and ran with it. I just wanted to be a little more careful and cautious to see if there was any kind of surge,” Seyman said.

He took the same precautions during the tier reopening system.

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Before the clatter of silverware hitting plates filled with French toast and eggs benedict filled the restaurant, some feared they’d never sit down at the Tower Café again.

“I would drive by here and have grief. It’s like, you know it’s dead. You know because it’s closed. And you automatically look and where’s the line, where’s the people, where’s my good food?” Green said.

“No one really knew what the future would bring. Once the vaccines came out and were proven to be effective, I felt a lot more reassured,” Seyman said.

Patience is a virtue, whether it was waiting for this storied restaurant to reopen or now getting a table.

That long wait is paying off.

“It’s alive again! I mean It was just happening; good to see,” McKamy said.

“They need you. It’s great food,” Green said.

Tower Café’s owner said there will be slightly different hours of operation.

They’ve decided to stop doing dinner on Monday and Tuesday nights.

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Also, it’s scaling back an hour on their traditional evening hours the rest of the week.