A staff member cleans the front door windows ahead of the re-opening of the Lindt Cafe at Martin Place in Sydney on March 20, 2015.
Peter Parks — AFP/Getty Images
March 20, 2015 12:17 AM EDT

Coffee was brewed again, chocolate prepared and pastries sold at Lindt Café in Sydney on Friday morning, as the establishment reopened its doors months after it made international headlines in the wake of a hostage crisis that ended in bloodshed.

Hundreds customers snaked around the block and waited patiently in line to enter Lindt Café. Louie Doumit, who ordered the day’s first brew — a flat white — said he came to shop to prove that terrorism had not prevailed.

“It sends a strong message to all those people out there, any terrorists, we are not just going to give in to what they want or give in to their demands,” said Doumit, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

During an early morning ceremony, New South Wales Premier Mike Baird said the reopening of the café was an “incredibly important step” for Sydney.

Three people died, including the armed perpetrator, when police commandos stormed the café last December after Man Haron Monis held 17 people at gunpoint for more than 16 hours in the central business district of Australia’s largest city.

Two plaques now adorn the walls of Lindt to honor the memories of former manager Tori Johnson and customer Katrina Dawson, who were killed during the siege.

Survivor Joel Herat said getting back behind the counter and working with his fellow employees has been instrumental to his healing process.

“It was extremely important for me to be here and support Lindt and support the people I work with,” Herat told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.

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