I have been to the “O” a hundred times late night.  We all have.   And that mass of greasy, crunchy, fused-together fries, sided with ketchup, cheese-whiz and warm beef gravy in those little plastic cups always tasted better after 2 a.m.  We all know that.  But, odd as it may seem, the one “O” visit that sticks in my head happened on a Sunday morning.

I had gone on a visit to Penn State Beaver with a friend, and I had expected a legendary Penn State party scene.  Instead I got three guys (one of them me) sitting inside a dorm room, sharing a bottle of Ketel 1.  (And lets just say I did most of the sharing).  I think I might have been twenty.

The next morning my buddy drove me back to my apartment.  (And if you’ve never taken your college days to true excess, then I’m sorry you just won’t be able to relate).  As luck would have it, the O was on the way.

And so we stopped.  (Pretty sure I demanded)

I had a pair of leather gloves – a present from my mother – in my back pocket when I entered.  They were hanging kind of halfway out.

They were not there when I left.

That was probably because I was drunk.

But it might have been because there was a shady dude standing behind me.

Either way, there was enough of a shadow of a doubt behind it for me to write a short story called “The Man Who Stole My Gloves“.

I can’t remember if it was published, but I might have recited it at a reading.  Suffice to say that somehow that story led to a buxom young undergrad um…acknowledging my writing style … at a party later that semester.

So yes, that’s my favorite “O” story.  And who doesn’t love one where the guy gets the girl in the end.

But I digress.  The “O” has passed today.  And this is my obituary.

The Original Hot Dog Shop officially passed on April 18th, 2020.  It died quietly, in Oakland, on a clear 55 degree day in April.  By some accounts, 350 boxes of potatoes were moved out of the basement on the day of its death.  The “O” was mourned by nearly everyone who had experienced it late night, and many who had not.  The cause of death was old age, with complications brought on by the Novel Coronavirus, or COVID-19 as has come to be known.  The “O” was 60 years old when it passed.

According to the website, the Original Hot Dog Shop was founded in 1960 by Syd and Moe Simon, who were ostensibly trying to capitalize on the Pittsburgh Pirates magical 1960 season. It was thought, “where would a better place be than outside of a ballpark to open a hot dog and burger stand?”

Little did they know that it was the University of Pittsburgh that would put the “O” on the map.  The restaurant,  originally named “House of Beef” and “Franks & Burgers” later renamed “The Original Hot Dog Shop” was featured on  on various television programs such as The Food Network’s “Unwrapped”, The PBS Special  “A Hot Dog Program” not to mention several other magazines and newspaper articles.

It’s unclear when the “O” started to become a phenomenon for University of Pittsburgh undergraduates.  Perhapst its when they started to focus on hand cut French fries, deep friend in peanut oil.  It can be surmised that the Pirates move away from Forbes Field in 1970 had something to do with it.  Either way, the “O” Survived for another fifty years after the Pirates headed for the North Shore, and succumbed only that what will likely be considered the greatest economic downturn since the great Depression (although I do fully expect a V-shaped recovery).

If the “O” loved anything, it was getting down and dirty with a bunch of random ungraduated on a Friday or Saturday night.  Serving them fries.  Maybe a cheap pizza.  Possibly even a hot dog (although it was the fries that they truly came for).  Only God and IRS know how many thousands of pounds of potatoes passed through that building, but I can say with confidence that every time went in there, there were dozens of 50 lb sacks stacked behind the counter.  Yes the place was not clean, but the “O” never worried  The hot grease killed all the microbes.

The “O” loved all walks of life.  From wealthy undergraduates to those Oakland residents who could scrape together only enough change for a cheap malt-liquor forty.  It did not discriminate, and it served all that came through its doors in the same fashion.  With stolid, slightly surly service, greasy surroundings and somewhat (or depending on your era, very) funky bathrooms.  Yet, no matter who you were, the “O” was there, neon lights gleaming in the night, a beacon to those wayward souls with nowhere else to go after leaving the bar, the club or the party, beckoning all on Forbes Avenue to come and enjoy its tawdry delights, and extend their night just one more half hour.  (although it should be noted the potatoes were not of poor quality)

Most people will remember the “O” for the heaping mountain of french fries that could bought for below market prices.  I, on the other hand, will remember the experience of it all.  Oh… and what an experience (yea sorry pun slightly intended…)  If you can take yourself back to a time when you knew little about the world and yet thought you knew everything.  Where, upon entry, judgement was clouded but confidence was at an all-time-high.  Where the landscape was dotted with people of questionable intention (yourself included), whose desire was very much concrete.  The smell of cooking grease.  The harsh neon.  The dirty orange floor tiles.  The potatoes.  Bags upon bags of potatoes.  Behind the counter.  Right next to the deep fryer.  Stacked as high as the ceiling, with just a stainless steel cutter in between.  The seemingly endless cheap, white, plastic price signs blaring at you as waited for your order.  The sound.  The smell.  The sizzle.  That was the O.

There will be a memorial service on Social Media starting on 4/18/2020, and lasting  until at least 4/19/2020 (if not longer).

My only regret is that I never tried a hot dog.

Hail to Pitt

Michaelangelo Monteleone

How about you?  What’s your favorite “O” story?  (Try to keep it PG)

188 thoughts on “An “O”bituary. Pitt mourns the passing of a legend.

  1. MM — outstanding writing, the juices were flowing, so to speak.

    And you even managed to work the word “buxom” into a POV article. Commander Reed has to be pleased!

    Hail to Pitt.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Breaks my heart. I know much has changed since I walked those hallowed grounds, but the O was supposed to be the one constant.

    I will have to get some peanut oil, russet potatoes, and get some beef gravy and cheese sauce.

    And booze…lots of booze

    Dave

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  3. Great article Mike befitting a great institution. I’m heading off to bed now trying to think of some sort of profound story to tell tomorrow but unfortunately, my memory is fogged from those days. BTW, I did not attend the PITT main campus (PITT GBG) but I’ll bet I spent more time in Oakland and the “O” than any commuter ever did.

    I put the “O” in the same iconic corner as Primanties.

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  4. I “sort of” knew the original owner “Coke bottle glasses” Sydney Simon. We both unfortunately shared the dossier bullet item that we suffered from melanoma. I beat my bullet, Sydney passed from it in November of 2008. I think he ran the “O” since opening it in 1960 (Year of the Pirates). That’s 48 years, POV-ites of sucking grease through your nostrils with the world passing by on Forbes Ave.

    Anyways, it was late in the Pitt 1973-1974 Basketball season (say late February or early March) of my senior year at Pitt and Pitt had just beaten WVU at the Fitzgerald Field House. I was back at my dorm at McCormick Hall and I was feeling on top of the world because of the win and I had a couple of really good engineering job offers as I would be graduating in less than 2 months. Stress analysis, thermodynamics, fluid dynamics = finally make some money.

    My roommates wanted to stay in house that night so I headed to the “O” alone to celebrate the win and my resume with a dog and YEAH those fries and maybe a 16 ounce can of IC.. At the counter (I swear) was me, Sydney Simon, and Billy Knight. I think I said something prolific like, “You’re Billy Knight.” It was a surreal moment for me because normally the place was buzzing with people, but at THAT moment it was just the three of us.

    I was so sad when I heard of Sydney’s passing in 2008 and I am sure Syd and his wife Esther (Essie’s Original Hot Dog Shop) are equally sad of the passing of their contribution to why Pitt is Pitt.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I fully expect some stimulus money be directed towards restaurants in the next bill passed by Congress. Sadly, many businesses will never come back so I must disagree with that V shaped recovery. It will take trillions more from the government to save jobs, get people out of debt and caught up after losing their job and to rebuild confidence. I’m speaking as a Pitt Econ major. 🤠. But iconic establishments are worth saving and worth some government partnership with the private sector to make it happen. And I’m speaking as a former small business owner.

    Tex

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t disagree tex but I was trying to be upbeat. Going to be a long hard slog I’m afraid. Regardless of any sort of distancing or shelter in place. (And for others pls remember don’t allow any politics to bleed into any economic thoughts that you decide to share l)

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      1. Let’s hope pitt academics and sports recovers fast. Pitt sports is likely to lose well over $30 million unless budgets are cut. I don’t know of any pitt employees being furloughed or asked to take a pay cut. No money is coming in and that’s unsustainable. Without tv revenues, Pitts ACC check will be zero. I’m assuming sports come back when students come back but it’s a decision made by each school. The NCAA or conferences can’t force any one school to open up. And I know pitt won’t play sports unless students are back because Pitts athletes are student athletes. That’s where the BoT and I agree.

        I expect much smaller classroom sizes next fall. Students might take a semester or two off. And there will be mandatory social distancing on campus. Every other seat in those large lecture rooms. I still can’t see how games are played the same again. Unless like I said, you have rapid testing and only allow those immune, with the antibody, to attend games and classes. That’s until everyone is vaccinated. And then we get ready for the next virus to hit.

        Tex

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  6. My crowd affectionately called it the “Dirty O”.
    I graduated from Pitt in 1972. However, my fondest collective reflection is stopping there before Panther football or basketball games over all the years since then. Multiple times each season. It was always jammed! My order was always the same — hot dog, fries and a beer (or 2).
    For me, the “O” will always be a touchstone for fond remembrance of time and place — where I shared a meal and the Pitt college game day experience with closest family and friends.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The O was never clean. They hosed it down every day at 4am but the crusty mustard stick for the dogs had over 30 years of mustard accumulation. I don’t think it was ever cleaned.

      Tex

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  7. Thanks for the O’bit unary Michael and for the opportunity to use this thread as a vehicle to have a repast for this venerable Pitt institution . I unfortunately have no specific memory regarding the O, other than the fries being very good and heaping . Alas, I was one of those commuter students, that ike spoke of, and can’t recall if any of my trips to the O were of the late night variety . I do like Tex’s idea of soliciting Mark Cuban or some other wealthy alum to delay the O’s demise. One can hope.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. If the O in totality can’t be saved, my alternative plan would be to have a section of the Eateries at Heinz Field and the Pete created as a mini O, in O’mage to the “Original “….

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Gordon Conn
    April 18, 2020 at 10:04 pm
    Wow, that really is the end of an era. The legendary O is no more. Joins a long list of eateries and bars that are no more. The O was the most famous and long lasting of them all.

    When I got to Pitt on that block along with the O, which wasn’t open all night and I don’t think had a liquor license, but did and was by the time I left Oakland were Frankie Gustines, which became Hemingways and Cum Laude which had a run but was gone in the late sixties, nobody seems to remember it.

    Across the street was Scotty’s Diner, which was the only place open all night except for Ritters.

    Around the corner was Wohlfarth’s Pub and the Oakland Tavern which did not cater to students.

    I grew up with the son whose Dad owned Scotty’s and later knew the son of the original Wohlfarth’s owner.

    Peter’s Pub was open for business, as was Quinques, famous for meatballs and cheese in a bowl along with great sandwiches. He moved to Wexford when Forbes Field was torn down.

    We had some great discussions of the old hangouts in Oakland in Pitt Blather Days. Emel had some great stories.

    Too old to personally miss the Big O, can’t remember my last O Dog. But it was a mainstay of my diet while a student at Pitt. I remember when they switched from frozen fries to the fresh cut ones and when they started serving Pizza. Many a quart of the cheapest beer was bought from their cooler. Those guys could really sling the dogs on a busy Saturday night.

    There was a time that I judged how drunk I was the night before by how much chili dog had missed my mouth and ended up on my shirt, a telltale sign the morning after. I had a cast iron stomach back then, not any more.

    One last story, The Wooden Keg which opened circa 1970 was probably the most popular bar when I was in school. One night a very good friend and I hit the jackpot. It was a pretty slow night until we went to the downstairs bar which was hosting the Carlow College Graduation Celebration. Needless to say it was the start of a legendary evening. You will have to use your imagination for the rest of the story.

    Hail to Pitt and RIP Big O

    I had to copy my comments from last night in case you didn’t see them.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. “Quinques, famous for meatballs and cheese in a bowl”. I loved that place and what memories you stirred! I use to walk there from Salk Hall just for the meatballs.

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  10. Sooooooo sad … the “O” was PITT and PITT was THE Dirty “O.”
    When I think of PITT, I think of the “O” not cathedral arches …For one game I suggest every player on the team wear the letter “O” in place of numerals on their jersey ( the “O” would be “unarched” to avoid confusion with the arced 0…..

    Loved the dogs at the “O” … first time I ever had a dog that snapped when I bit into it….I had a $10 allowance to help with food… basically, lived on soups, venison and some groceries most of the week… but every week the “O” got a piece of my $10 along with the Tack shop where I would get a bagel and a coke another 1st for BigB…. bagels had not found their way to Apollo in 1970…..

    Liked by 3 people

  11. This really is a big blow to the uniqueness of Pitt and the Pittsburgh experience.

    I guess one thing that had to hurt the O was the overall improvement of the on-campus dining experience.
    Many more options, and much higher quality than in years gone by. Also more availability. Even hospital food is much better, the cafeteria at Presby is pretty good.

    When I lived in the dorms for two years, the food was pretty much inedible except on Saturday night steak night. A lot of kids went home so you could get their ticket for a second steak. I remember coming off the hill after practice and drinking eight glasses of milk cause I couldn’t find anything worth eating.

    The O was good and inexpensive and pretty much the only game in town. It outlasted many a competitor.

    I feel bad that Maestro never ate a delicious O Dog or my favorite Beef Sausage after a night at the Wooden Keg or Wohlfarth’s/Chances Are or Bimbo’s/Zelda’s Greenhouse owned by the famous Froggy Morris.

    I know there was also some danger at times in and around the O late at night. What do you expect in the City with a bunch of drunk students and the general population and drugs. That was part of it’s character. I am sure there was much more stolen than a pair of gloves. I believe there was loss of life.

    As Tex mentioned the restaurant business will be one of the last to come back after our current crisis. The Big O won’t be the only one gone forever. It had a great run, I remember vividly Sid’s flashy Firebird parked illegally out front and his son and daughter slinging dogs with some memorable others.

    Time marches on. Very slowly right now.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. The O’s Dogs were provided by Silver Star Meats in McKees Rocks. They were a private recipe not available to anyone else. You can buy Silver Star Dogs that are similar same natural skin but slightly different taste.
    They are pretty pricey.
    I am sure that the unlimited soda refills hurt the O’s profit margin. Back in the day you paid for refills.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was in the O last year- took my son and daughter-in-law for their 1st O experience… I did notice the cost of the dog was “ up there” compared to our days at PITT…

      My most vivid memory was going into the O for a celebratory dog after we beat UCLA in a game played in California in the early 70’s….

      Liked by 1 person

    2. The overhead probably killed the business. I’m assuming they paid a pretty penny for that location. They always seemed to have the volume to support the thin margins but they might have been stuck in a bad lease and had too much staff. I’m pretty sure their menu was underpriced for their costs.

      Tex

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  13. Great article MM.

    Who remembers the extremely large security guards that worked the in the mid to late 80s? They looked like 6’ 5” bodybuilders.

    Best fries ever.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He was Mr Pittsburgh a body building champ. My friend the Wiz all of 5 feet 4 ( no longer with us) was spitting tobacco on the floor. Mr Pittsburgh came up and said are you going to clean that up?
      We were terrified and hammered.
      Wiz goes do I look like the F cing janitor?
      Mr Pittsburgh was stunned and just walked away.
      KMAN

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I remember those guys well, even knew one by name ” Alphonse”. Saw him drop a drunk football player with one punch. Ah, the good old days…

      Like

  14. thoughts from a non-Pitt alum

    Although we can never even think to match the O memories or experiences that you Pitt alums / students have, we want you to know that we share your sorrow and sense of loss.

    The first thing I did when I read the horrible news here yesterday afternoon was to text 3 of my long term friends, all also non-alums. In fact, one of them was a dreaded late 70s Duquesne grad who, incidentally never understood or appreciated my affinity for Pitt athletics. (But I digress)

    I can tell you that if we ever caught a show at the Decade or the Mosque, there was never any question where the night would end. Maybe it was a stop at Hemmingways first but it always ended at the O. One of my buddies was an iconic (late night) eater who I swear could have easily polished off an order of large fries if we ever let him. Yet he turned out well ….. after just retiring after >25 years of teaching at YSU, he now teaches at Thiel.

    We also never particularly went to the O for its hot dogs, but how many places can you order a footlong? I even ordered a corned beef a time or two (or 3), but never did we not order fries.

    I close this as Channel 2 is reporting the O’s closing on the news. All the unused potatoes and other food products were donated to the Light of Life Mission … so it indeed this is the end, it ended on gloriously.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What made you become a Pitt fan?

      For me, I had no family ties to the school. I was too young to really remember the championship in 76. It just always felt right for me. My dad attended two years at penn state and I really never gave it a thought. Pitt was always it for me.

      Although I was and still am a closet Michigan fan.

      Tex

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Tex, I grew up reading the Post-gazette sports page every day and listening to the Pirates every night on the patio. In the mid 60s, I start watching college FB and became an Alabama fan because I thought Bear Bryant was really cool. Pitt of course was terrible in late 60s; in fact, the very first college game I saw in person ended PSU 63 Pitt 7 ,,, when poor little Davey Havern was being chased all over the field by Mike Reid and Steve Smear every time he went back to pass.

        I saw Dorsett play in high school and knew he was special. And it was obvious that Johnny Majors was doing something special when he arrived. I went to Pitt stadium a couple times in ’73 including a 16-7 loss to highly ranked USC. And I knew this was the start of something.

        By the late 70s, I was head-over-heels about college FB, and thought the Pitt-PSU game was the most important game on any sports calendar. And remember … that’s when the Steelers were the king … in fact, I even attended the Immaculate Reception game in Dec ,72, and Steelers’ 1st Super Bowl in Jan .75.

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    2. I am a non alum too.
      Went to football games in coat and tie in the 70’s as a young kid
      was a wild high school kid who spent senior year at zeldas after being kick out of prep school
      partied all summer in and around Oakland when home from Boston in summer
      season ticket holder
      life long fan and Thanx to Fran I actually know more than a few Pitt alum
      KMAN

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Bill… you have more PITT blood flowing through your veins than most PITT alums… IMO, you are the quintessential PITTman……!!!

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  16. Not that it matters but did you know the Simon’s were Jewish but they do not own the building. It’s owned by an Italian family. Making it impossible to keep the business afloat. That building has to be paid off 30 times over.

    Like someone mentioned above that it would be great if a PITT alum or a PITT alumni coalition would get together and buy the building and clean that corner up and reopen as “The Original X2” all the while not changing the fancy decor. 🙂

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    1. I got to know Froggy a little bit in the mid 90s when he had the downtown club. Rarely saw him without a glass of gin (martini or with tonic) and a pack of Marlboros. Always treated me very nicely, but always thought he was a heart attack waiting to happen. I looked it up; he died at 62 from “emphysema and other ailments.”

      He raised lots of money for Epilepsy including running a golf tournament for 26 years to fund Camp Frog

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  17. A CMU buddy who is 70 said that when the Simons raised the hot dog prices from $.25 to $.35 it devastated the students then, none of whom had much $.

    He also said they would walk down from CMU on Fridays in Lent for the fish sandwiches, whic apparently pretty good. Any Pgh joint worth it’s salt knew/knows how to make a good fish fillet.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The one near the airport? If so yes. But only twice in my nearly 9 years up there. But had beef on wek at many a catered lunch.

      Also that sponge candy place by the airport off Transit. Buffalo originals.

      And Pittsburgh’s own Original won’t be gone forever. There will be grant monies from the government and interest free loans for the taking. Someone will purchase the rights to the name and the fries and dogs will flow again.

      But restaurant floor plans and designs are changed forever. Smart designers and architects will focus on fewer tables and headcounts. More outdoor patios. Even more takeout and delivery options. That’s the new normal.

      Tex

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      1. I think the one near the airport was Sam the butcher or something. It came highly recommended by the locals. And yes it was good. But I prefer wings over wek.

        Tex

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  18. The hamburgers were also pretty good at the O. One thing that made everything better was that they steamed their buns. It is the little things that count.

    Froggy was also one of a kind. His downtown joint was unreal during the 80’s. His drinks were lethal.

    Brings to mind, “his drinks were like breasts one was not enough but three was too many”.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Exactly Gordon!
      Two scotches – man-sized – and you felt pretty good.
      I made the mistake of having three of those at Happy Hour one Friday. He had the first rooftop bar Downtown as well.

      Like

  19. Never went to the O much as I lived in the upper part of the campus across from Schenley HS. The 5 cent Wednesday beers at the Luna always got my attention. School was very hard to do on Thursday mornings.

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    1. The 10 cent hot dogs at Haddon Hall were hard to beat too.

      Now that I think about it the O was where I first tasted brown mustard.

      Never bought the yellow stuff since.

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  20. gc, you never had a hot dog at Forbes Field with brown mustard? Hell, I can still smell the hot dogs and cigar smoke wafting throughout the stands.

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  21. I commuted my first year at Pitt 68
    and spent many an afternoon at the O studying ? in the upstairs room.

    The rest of my times at the O were like everyone else. Late night drunk.
    Those fries and dogs were the best cure for a hangover ever.

    Sometimes in my senior year while living in Shadyside I’d hit the O and then Ritters. You did not want to be near me next morning!

    MM your gift for writing was well served in a fitting tribute to the O.
    Thank you!!

    Liked by 2 people

        1. I hope they have the cash flow to survive or acccess to bridge loans from the stimulus bills. That’s another iconic establishment but far less associated with Pitt than the ‘O’

          Tex

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  22. Froggy owned Bimbos until it changed to Zeldas. I remember wooden nickel nights. Other than his place in town he also had Bimbos in Greensburg. It was wild with tequila shots.

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    1. JP, spent a lot of time at Bimbos in GBG. I remember the large mural of Archie Bunker and saw some great bands. Gravel played there a lot.

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  23. Pitt made the mistake of tearing down pitt stadium and moving off campus. Let’s not make another collousal mistake with the closing of such an iconic landmark on campus. The O is as much associated with Pitt as is the Cathedral. There has to be some government money out there in the next bill that can be used to save her. Will there be any local politicians that step forward and lead?

    Tex

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    1. Tex, I agree but how do we know that Simon already wasn’t approved and he took the money and run? From a good source, he was losing money for years and also, he may not be mentally stable at this point in his life?

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      1. I’d want new ownership. A place as busy as the O with that location and clientele should never lose money. It’s a goldmine. Getting a favorable lease is key.

        Purchase the naming rights, renegotiate a new lease, get university and political support, get monies from the next government stimulus bill and redesign the layout for new code on social distancing.

        If we were smart, you’d never eat in a packed restaurant ever again. The O always had a very high percentage of to go orders anyway. It’s a unique historic landmark. It has to be saved. Even if it no longer has dine in and just offers pick up or delivery.

        I’m just surprised it was never shut down for health violations. It truly was dirty most of the time.

        Tex who wants to save the dirty O

        Liked by 1 person

        1. The dirt only made us stronger… built our immune systems…. probably helped us survive PITT FB and stay loyal for the last 40 years…..

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      2. Ike, why would you say something like that about someone with no proof? What would make you think he’s mentally unstable? Can’t a guy just retire in peace?

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        1. I have my reason and a good source…….. but I won’t go into details and I do have proof. Then again, many of us have issues we deal with daily.

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        2. Looking backwards I have to say that you ask a fair question Mr Anonymous.. I forwarded that information based on a second hand source and their personal opinion. Of course I trust my source who was frequent flyer to the O. I guess I shouldn’t have disparaged the guy and I apologize. Although I stand behind my statement yet there are times when it’s better to leave words unspoken.

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  24. I know where Rillton is, used to play softball down there in a league with Arona and others from around Westmoreland County. JP, do you know about Rocky’s BBQ shack? << and I mean shack but he makes a mean sauce that covers his smoked pork steaks.

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  25. Finally, a subject worth posting about. The two best dogs ever were the grilled ones at Forbes Field in the left field bleachers. The smell and taste were unforgettable. The others were the chili dogs at Coney Island in New Castle. Clear memories of the O are distorted due to the beverages consumed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. FWIW I was weaned (or is it weined) on Coney Island and PO Lunch hot dogs in NC. I can remember the original Coney Island when you can buy two hot dogs for a quarter back when I was in high school. They shops reminded of the old hamburg shop skits on SNL with Belushi behind the counter.

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      1. Ya, and Mary behind the counter would even serve you those 15 cent beers if you were lucky. Not the same now, out of nostalgia I went up to CI last year. Same decor but chili was no where near the same, sigh.

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        1. I remember when Mary died. It made the front page of the NC News

          I guess PO Lunch shop on Wilmington closed last year. Don’t get up in that area too much these days. There is a Brighton Hot Dog shop near me but their chili doesn’t have close the tang and flavor that the NC shops have. It’s like going to Ohio when we were 19 and 20 to drink 3/2 beer.

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  26. I can handle the whole Coronavirus lockdown….but losing the O? This is simply too much. This is the Pittsburgh version of the Carnegie Deli closing in NYC.

    I’ll never forget my first visit to the O as a freshman in 1975. Walked in with my roommate around 1AM after a night of partying. Ordered a chili dog and “small” fry. The dog and fries arrive pretty quickly. I was absolutely stunned at how large the mountain of congealed fries was. OMG, when you have the munchies at 1AM those fries were the absolute bomb. Took a seat at a greasy table towards the back. A couple of guys sitting in the corner were completely blitzed. One guy stands up and proceeds to take a leak right next to his table. Sits back down and finishes his fries and drink. Nothing like the smell of peanut grease and urine in the morning….smells like victory.

    Despite that somewhat inauspicious first trip, my roomie and I made many many trips to the O. What a great year 1975 was…. I discovered the O and Pitt won the national championship…what could be better? Every time I came back to the burgh, I had to go to the O for fries and a chili dog. Sadly, the O will probably be replaced by a new place specializing in organic tofu burgers and bean sprouts.

    The O will most certainly be missed.

    ScottsValleyPanther

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Now is the time to save it. The money will be there for the restaurant industry. Time to also redesign the interior. I’d implement a no dining experience. To go only. Would save money on the lease as well since the other half of the floor plan could be leased to another tenant. Pitt also needs to begin thinking about more outdoor dining areas. Plazas with non permanent tables and chairs.

      Tex

      Liked by 1 person

  27. I’m going to run with the Rocky’s BBQ shack. It was or maybe still is outside of Hermine and West newton. You’ll never find it if you haven’t been there before. Rocky was an old American Indian fellow married to a black woman with something like 10 sons. He didn’t open until around 11:00 on Friday nights and the floor was nothing but dirt with a counter going 3/4 ways around the open fire-pit that had a hole in the roof. JP is right, two slices of white bread on a paper plate. Made the Original look like a clean surgical room. Place was packed with every walk of life. I never witnessed any trouble even with the Pagans hanging out there every weekend. It was a pork sanctuary. Well at least that’s how I remember it. ??

    Like

  28. MM, WT actual F? That last sentence in this article????? Your confession, an expose, admitted now for all the world to contemplate from this point forward, stated in such a nonchalant, matter of fact manner, has me absolutely mortified!

    So please explain to me, exactly how, any rationally thinking, sane human being, with a healthy appetite expected to be possessed by any male college student worth his weight, who not only attends four years of college at the University of Pittsburgh’s main campus, but also successfully graduates from that University, ends up NEVER, not even once, not once out of the admitted hundred+ times that this specific Pitt student had visited the Dirty O, (DBA “The Original Hotdog Shop”) ends up NEVER trying the frickin MAIN item on that menu that the place is named after, a delicious, truly skinned, snappy hotdog?
    I find myself deeply disappointed in your late nite cognitive decision making skills as that college student back in time my friend. I find such a revelation deeply disconcerting, to say the least.😂😂😂

    Liked by 2 people

  29. More Big O thoughts streaming back…..I actually took a date to the Big O Junior Year. Anyone remember partying with the Wheeler Business School girls???? WOGs (Wheeler Hogs) I took one after a Thursday night frat kegger (GC – Carlow Girls COGs) have to be careful, I almost married one!

    Anyone remember the “Rib Joint”

    Can’t thank you enough MM for the Hemingway like Tribute!

    Liked by 1 person

  30. If Pitt buys the property and puts up another book store, I’ll divorce them.

    Tex who doesn’t mess but who has no x’s in Texas…that I know of.

    Like

  31. I forgot uncle sams closed as well. It was after my time but the hoagies were good. Not as good as wegmans…the Danny’s favorite, but still very respectable. Wtf is going on in Oakland these days. Too many bars and restaurants that connect us all are closing. A memory is nothing if it can’t be shared and new ones created. A physical presence matters.

    Tex
    Ps: breaking news about covid and cmu soon

    Like

  32. With everything I’m learning in this thread, I am sad that I didn’t, as a commuter student, get to experience the on-campus ambiance at Pitt. My on campus days were at the other end of the spectrum in rural West Virginia, at tiny Alderson Broaddus, but fun as hell nonetheless.
    PittPT

    Liked by 1 person

  33. You knew you were a pro at Rocky’s if you could eat the ribs between the two pieces of white bread and end up only the bones. I believe it was in a place called Scot Haven.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. No doubt Covid 19 is going to shuffle the deck in the restaurant and night club world and it is going to take some time which will cause many bankruptcies.

    The restaurant business has alway been tough. My grandfather owned the Kenyon Restaurant on Federal Street, closed when they re-did the North Side.

    Anyway, here are some more names you may remember. See if you can guess the two still in business. George Aiken’s, Cicero’s, The Decade, Khalil’s Oakland, Bal’Abek, Cantor’s, Wooden Keg Sub Shop, Henry VIII, Ali Baba, Larry and Carols, Sonny Dayes and the three High Class Joints, The Black Angus, Park Schenley, and Nino’s. All before there were many, Chinese, Thai, Mexican or rib joints around.

    Not in Oakland but the one I still miss the most was Poli’s in Squirrel Hill.

    There is a great restaurant scene in Pittsburgh but it is Downtown, South Side, Mt Washington, East End, and Lawrenceville. How it survives after this is anyone’s guess.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A couple more. There was either a White Tower or White Castle on Oakland Ave or Atwood between 5th and Forbes. Great Rib take out place on Center Ave, called the House of Sauce. Mitchell’s and Thirsty’s were also on Center Ave, along of course with Luna and Haddon Hall, which made for a nice little bar hopping scene on Center. I think Khalil’s and Larry/Carol’s are still open. Were in 2013, my last trip.
      Khalil’s on Baum Blvd. was called Omar Kayyam’s back in the day. Samreny’s was also on Baum
      Roy Rodgers was in the basement of the Cathedral. (who could believe). Ritter’s (Critter’s) was also another drunk night eating establishment for those of us in North Oakland. Complete with customer
      sideshow and of course arguing with the Greek guys to get the big round table in the back.

      Nino’s was on Craig Street, the Park Schenley, we held our fraternity formal at and was a 5 star rated restaurant in the Mobile Travel guide. Just a beautiful place.

      Like

  35. For extra points does anyone remember Gammons in East Liberty? My dad used to take me there after his night classes at Carnegie Tech. Don’t know anyone that remembers it.

    Also the Atlantic Hofbrau on Liberty, Downtown, the best sauerbraten I ever had and Lowenbrau on tap when it was an import.

    Like

      1. That is great, there are two of us that have been to Gammons. I was a toddler, one of my earliest memories. My Dad would drop me off at Skibo, while he went to a lab and I would tumble around on the mats, maybe why I became a gymnast. Probably would be considered child abandonment these days. Then we would go to Gammons where he would have a beer and something to eat.
        They would bring me a Shirley Temple with the little paper umbrella.

        Absolutely remember Samrenys, but preferred Omar Khyyams across the street. Took my wife on our first date there, while still in high school. She had never had lamb before and was impressed with the whole exotic experience. Remember the autographed picture of Danny Thomas, and the middle eastern music.

        GC

        Like

        1. Been to Gammons as a kid, as well as anything else that was in East Liberty. The Brass Rail had great hamburgers(they were like a nickle or a dime), can still smell the fried onions on them ! 🙂 There was Vento’s Pizza across from Peabody HS in their first locale and then they moved to Highland Ave by Sears. Very good pizza and Meatball Parm samwiches.

          There was also the lunch counter at Woolworths and another lunch counter at a place almost next to Woolworths, that was a bakery. I think it was called ‘Anthons’. First chinese food i ever had was in East Liberty at…can’t remember, but it became so popular they kept expanding/moving to bigger buildings.
          Seemed like Sunday night was Chinese Food night.

          Boys got Roy Roger’s, not Shirley Temple’s btw. lol Skibo was a popular hang out for teens, remember
          my dad dropping my sister off there with her friends.

          Like

  36. Maybe Pitt Administration reads the comments and begins to understand that buildings on and around campus create a link to the university. Memories created and cherished that all on here speak of dearly. If you can’t create a link, you are Phoenix University. A slight exaggeration except for this semester.

    I took the wife and kids to the O about two years ago on a visit to the burgh. We had a blast, some good stomach aches after, but well worth it in my opinion. It is sad to read all the stories about the O on here. Great memories. As each Oakland mainstay is retired, it becomes more and more difficult to connect my kids to Pitt.

    An on campus stadium for one provides a connection and when you think about it, most everyone on the pov attended games at the old stadium. What we are being forced to pass down to our children is ……….Steelers Stadium. Zero tie-ins to the university.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. While my daughter attended in recent years, we had a lot of meals at The Porch. New place obviously, but a lot of nice memories for her and I. I’m sure she will look at that later in life as one of the classic Oakland spots, just as many of us do with other spots.

      Like

  37. Huff …great point. Year after year, so few of us have any connection to Pitt Campus. OCS is the only hope for those of us out of town.

    GC…Polis was my favorite. Luna Lounge next….Wooden Keg last.

    Like

  38. I remember a pretty good burger at the House of Beef in the 60s next to the O. The O was much smaller then before HoB went out of business and the O expanded into its space. BTW, I always appreciated the way they would run the hotdogs up the arm at Coney Island in New Castle and then layer in the hot sauce. The arm pit sweat gave them an extra flavor!

    Like

    1. When the O expanded on Forbes, it was at the expense of CJ Barney’s, the Wooden Keg. The part of the Wooden Keg/CJ’s that had the little kegs on the facade became the expanded part of the O. CJ’s survived for awhile at 50% smaller but then went under. They were the home of all you could drink beer
      in the cellar for first $2 and then $3 dollars on Thursdays.

      Like

  39. Gordon you mentioned Henry VIII…was thatvthe same as Henry Henry’s or am I misremembering stuff. Or making up the name Henry Henry’s? Place had a giant burger cooked to order and a milkshake you could turn upside down without spilling.
    Circa 1972?

    Like

    1. You are correct sir. It was Henry Henry’s and the had the absolute best grilled burgers. I think it was there in 68 but gone pretty quick.

      Like

  40. Pitt 77-81 (the Glory days) Lived at home (near Kennywood) and had lunch at the O almost every day. I actually went for the cheese steaks although sometimes had hot dogs. Haven’t lived in Pittsburgh for 30 years but still visit several times a year and first stop was always the O.

    Liked by 1 person

  41. Reality is setting in now just like this covid crap we are all going through. Doesn’t seen real until I picture myself driving down Forbes and the O is just not there. Someone do something!!!!!! I’ll buy the first 50lbs of potatoes to get things back up and running.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Khalil’s is alive and well on Baum — after having been closed for a time. Same family, different generation. Must own the property.

      Does anyone remember Edward’s? Next to the Cum Laude, same ownership. Both places, although night and day different in interiors and clientele, might have operated under one license since there was an opening in the back that connected the two.

      Like

  42. Maestro, I think we ought to have a POV Roll Call. Worried about our New York/ East Coast contingent.
    Also, Reed how about checking in so we know you are still with us.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. From my viewpoint, Upitt (Mark) and Reed are both great guys…… I converse via text message with Mark occasionally and Reed commented recently right here on the POV. I also agree, it would be great if they would join in and get back on the POV they both had a great hand in creating. Again, hats off to Reed and his vision in the POV.

      Like

      1. it appears to me that Reed still reads this site when he can but is preoccupied with a more important mission … primarily, assisting fellow veterans getting the help that they need. Maybe he is not making public speeches, etc but probably doing it virtually (hope I used this term correctly)

        Liked by 1 person

  43. Surviving thanks to NetFlix and Prime. Watching foreign films with subtitles, actually pretty good stuff and you can’t multitask.
    A new season of Bosch is up too.

    Like

  44. Here’s a spoof I happened upon. All in fun.

    “Hometown Hero! Mark Cuban to Save the O Just Like He Did With Pirates and Penguins

    OAKLAND — Pittsburgh-born mogul Mark Cuban announced today that he will invest in The Original Hot Dog Shop to save it from financial ruin, precisely as he did with the Pirates and Penguins franchises.

    “As a Pitt grad, the O holds a place in my heart,” he said. “Much like my beloved local sports teams, which I very much rescued and now happily own. The last thing I want to see is a time-honored staple in our community fail, so I’m putting in my chips to bring the O back to its former glory — much like I did with the Buccos in 2005, if you recall.”

    Cuban doubled-down on his original statement.

    “I loathe people who talk big about their hometown just to get their name in the papers,” he said, disdainfully shaking his head at the thought of somebody exciting interest in a market only when it served their means. “So let me make this clear: I’m saving the O, and just like my group kept the Penguins in Pittsburgh so many years ago, I will see that this institution also stays and prospers for years to come.”

    As of press time, an enthused Cuban mentioned further plans to fund functioning public transit infrastructure, bring Rolling Rock back to Latrobe, revive Hills department stores, and, “toughest of all,” get Pitt football another 10-win season.”

    In fairness to Mark, he did express a genuine interest in buying the Pirates years ago.. Cheapo wouldn’t think of giving up his golden egg.

    Like

  45. Good point Huff about buildings and campus. Oakland embraced Pitt until Pitt Stadium torn down, Norfside doesnt care about Pitt or have connections all they do is complain, It will never happen but for moving 2 or 3 houses Panther Hollow will never occur.
    HAIL TO PITT

    Like

  46. OT: Another Power Walk On committed to Pitt Luke DelGaudio WR from Shavertown, Pa(Dallas are NE Pa.) He decommitted from Bucknell to walk on at Pitt.

    Like

  47. Oh Darn! In PA, it is the Repeal of Prohibition II. Liquor stores are reopening today.

    And I just finished plans to sell bootleg liquor like my great grandfather Al did in Chicago back in the late 20s. He would have been so ;proud.

    Like

    1. No they’re not. Internet order and you can pick it up at one of 100 store across the state. Only state in the union that has closed liquor stores. Losing 6.5 million in revenue per day.

      Like

  48. just saw a headline where Brooks Koepka in response to playing golf with no fans said that the guys will be losing a lot of balls, Welcome to the club, pal. Can’t wait til June

    Liked by 2 people

  49. Just received an email from Pitt Ticket Office about football tickets that seems to imply they will be doing a reseating over the next three weeks. Or am I misinterpreting that?

    Like

    1. I had an email chat with Nick in the Pitt ticket office. His response to my query about that:

      “To be honest, I haven’t heard any internal discussions about a social distancing email plan. Although, I’m sure that each and every plan/possibility is being discussed seriously.

      What I do know is that Heather and the admin team at Pitt have been working to come up with a plan for numerous outcomes based on when everyone is able to come back to campus, including the student-athletes as well. From my understanding, they are devising a plan for each scenario if we are back on campus in May, June, July, August and so on.

      Hopefully it will not have to come to July or August, but we’re all in the same position right now having to take a wait and see what happens approach.”

      Like

      1. Thanks, Joe. Looking back at the renewal process, I had asked that one of my seats, which is a row behind the others, be moved up. The message may be related to that request. But it also talks about parking pass assignments. I’ll wait for the followup call or message.

        Like

      2. Thanks JoeL, Happy you called, I was hesitant myself. I’m ready to canceled my hotel reservations very soon. I’m seeing another outbreak when the country opens back up although it is very necessary to do so. imo

        Like

  50. Speaking of bootleggers – My birthday is in August. The year I turned 21, I was spending the summer in Texas staying with relatives. Even though I was a long time imbiber, my uncles decided to take me to a bar to celebrate my first legal drink.

    Since we were in a “dry” county, I thought we would be driving 30 miles or more to a :”wet” county. I was surprised when we drove to the black section of our small town, stopped in front of house, got out, walked into the back yard & spent the next two hours drinking beer in the back yard of the local bootlegger.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Awwww …. you were at your first “ speakeasy” Richard….. had my 1st taste of moonshine in Carolina given to me by a co-workers Dad…. he told me to shake the mason jars then look at the bubbles in the “shine”…”we call them bubbles- devils” more bubbles- more kick yo ass!!!

      Like

        1. Nothing official here Russ….. We get it. Hell I live at the foothills of the ridges where the stump jumpers and moonshiners have made a living while marrying their cousins and rivals.

          Like

  51. Best “O” Memories…

    Squeezing in the door after midnight on a Friday and seeing EVERYONE you saw out partying hours earlier… exact location unknown.

    Having the luxury of choosing between the classic “BIG O” sub… two Chili Dogs with mustard, relish and those huge squares of fresh white onions… or the ever popular Chicken Parm.

    Playing “BATTLEZONE” while one of your friends goes up to place everybody else’s order.

    And the BEST memory of all… as an 18-year-old freshman being able to buy a “9 Pack” of cold Schlitz Malt Liquor 16 ouncers for 3 bucks from one of the guys behind the counter wearing a ketchup and mustard stained dirty white t-shirt.

    It will be missed just knowing it’s no longer there.

    Liked by 2 people

  52. M… You really did miss out by never trying one those hot dogs. I’ve had the dogs at the Varsity. These were better. They had a real SNAP to them… the true test of a GREAT hot dog IMO.

    Like

  53. There is plenty of room at Heinz for social distancing. I would prefer the extreme upper deck corner with my smartphone. Cheap also. Players would like ants going after a crumb.

    Like

  54. Remember Chief’s on Melwood (think it is still there). Would buy a 6 pack and they would give you change in potato chips and pretzels.

    Like

  55. Old Pitt Bars trivia for POV-ite Coronavirus shut-ins:

    Pitt basketball star Mickey Martin was a bartender at the Luna
    Pitt back-up center Lucius Keese was a bouncer at the Original
    Sam and Bernie’s was the home of the Cat Lady
    Cicero’s (formerly on Forbes) owned the bowling alley across the street
    Flo’s Records was THE place in Western Pennsylvania to buy albums. Formerly located at 116 S Bouquet
    St.; it is now a green space. Still listed as a viable business on Bizapedia and owned by the sultry Florence
    Perry and Zack McFerren.
    Supposedly, Chief’s Cafe (according to my father-in-law. Pitt Engineering 1949) served students in the late
    40’s.
    At one time you could get a whiskey sour in a small green flower pot at Zelda’s, cross S Bouquet St., get a
    Rolling Rock at Wolfarth’s, go through Wolfarth’s back door, cross Oakland Ave., and have a shot of CC and
    an Iron at Peter’s Pub (Cozy’s).
    tonyinhampton met his wife for the first time at Haddon Hall. She had walked there with her 2 friends from
    her MCNR dorm at Pitt. After drinking and chatting, Yours Truly asked if she and her friends wanted a ride
    back to the dorm as it was a cold January night. She said “Yes …”

    Like

    1. Loved Haddon Hall..great popcorn…free w pitchers. Trying to collect all colors of prophylactics in the men’s room machine. I worked thru college at Addressograph Multigraph up the street

      Like

    2. Played hoops against Mickey Martin for years. He could shoot it. Definitely a scorer versus a player. Good hang time. Just couldn’t get to that next level. Nice dude if I recall.

      Like

  56. MM….pleasantly surprised to see your Big O article made the National net here in Maryland. Terrific writing rewarded. If you sell as good as you write you’ll have a great future. Thanks again.d

    Like

  57. If Pitt, community leaders, politicians, alumni, students and patrons want to save the ‘O’, it can be saved. However, I would recommend new ownership and management as a condition. And I’d also take the ‘dirt’ out of it for health and safety reasons.

    Tex

    Like

  58. Was Sam and Bernies across the street from Larry and Carols? I seem to remember visiting a bar there while living in an apartment on McKee Place.

    Like

  59. from today’s PG Sports twitter …

    Brad Everett@BREAL412
    Talked to Pat Narduzzi today for a story. Had to ask him about the “O” closing: “Man, good fries. You hope it’s a good reason why they decided to retire and it wasn’t the pandemic. You hope someone in the restaurant business buys it and the O becomes the O again.” #RIPTheO
    ….

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Someone will. Money is practically free right now for small business. The name alone has so much cache and goodwill. It’s a no brainer business decision if you get a favorable lease.

      Tex

      Like

  60. Seems to me that Sam & Bernies was on Semple St, a block or two from my apt. But I could be mistooken. A mind is a terrible thing to waist. And, a waist is a terrible thing to mind.

    Liked by 4 people

  61. @Tex/Dr. Tom … My favorite Ritters story is being there post-bar celebration and a buddy of mine throwing up but having the common sense to not throw up on the table or floor to get us kicked out … instead he grabbed a woman’s purse from behind us and barfed in it … then gently placed it back on the chair without a single person noticing. Good times. I sometimes wonder what the woman’s reaction to her new purse belongings were.

    Like

    1. Ritters was like a Fellini movie after 2pm, back when it was the only game in town.

      I also remember late nights at the original Primantis whe the brothers still owned it and it opened around 2pm. We were the only long hairs with a bunch of truckers. They didn’t seem to mind as we scarfed those superb sandwiches. They were so much better then.

      Like

    1. There was also an Italian bakery that opened around midnight that would sell you a loaf right out of the oven for a buck. Bring your own butter.

      Like

  62. That’s a good story.

    All these places help connect generations of pittsburgers and fans of Pitt.

    When they close, we all lose

    Tex

    Like

      1. Bernie, you had to wait in lines every-other day depending on what your license plate number ended in either an odd or even number. There were a couple instances by the time I got to the pump, I was practically out of gas or the gas station was.

        Like

  63. I worry that the long term impact of moving Pitt football to Heinz will be the loss of all these spontaneous occasions when lifetime memories are made. The Noon starts and long wait for bus rides back to campus tend to destroy the game day on campus atmosphere. Spilling out of Pitt Stadium into the bars at 4:30 pm set the evening up for a wide time which I’m not sure will ever be recaptured..

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Exactly, Oakland is becoming devoid of nighttime activities, which is a large part of most people’s memories of college life. Peter’s Pub is no more, Pitt Tavern is long gone, Zelda’s gone, CJ Barney’s gone, The Decade gone, The Wooden Keg gone, Sanctuary(Chances R) gone. And none of those places were replaced with another bar. Only thing left is Hemingway’s apparently in Oakland proper and maybe a few dives in South Oakland which I wouldn’t want to drink in now.

      The egghead/dumbbells at Pitt don’t seem to understand what makes up a typical college campus. Sorry a Pantera Bread, Chipolte, 5 Guys or a Dunkin Donuts isn’t going to make lasting memories of college life in anyone’s mind.

      Like

  64. I believe it was Sam & Bernies that had a pool table (’68/’69). 2 or 3 of us took our dates there after some kind of tie and coat event on campus. Every time one of the girls (clad in mimi skirts) bent over to take a shot, a hush fell over the locals. I’m sure the girls enjoyed it as much as the guys did!

    Like

  65. Original Primantis late night out…started a fight that spilled outside. Me and my buddy Shady Grady squared off against 2 dudes that threw a salt shaker at us.
    Turned out it was Rick Trocano and one of his wide receivers. Once I recognized him we backed off and went back in and had a great time talking Pitt football.

    Liked by 1 person

  66. Football can move back. Financing is dirt cheap right now and federal grant monies may exist for infrastructure projects. A MPC would qualify.

    Pitt has done a very poor job at translating these memories into athletic donations.
    Other schools effectively capitalize on these positive experiences and build lifetime connections with fans.

    Tex

    Like

  67. Loving these stories! You all are the best. Summer semester at the start of PT school we had Intro to PT class on Friday afternoons after Pizza and Pitchers at Zelda’s for lunch. That was a tough class to sit through…
    PittPT

    Like

  68. Wow man, I am in shock. I just mentioned the Big O in a comment last week or so.

    First it was another Pittsburgh icon, Froggy’s around 20 years ago and now the O !

    No reason to come back to the Burgh, everything I knew and everyone I knew is either dead
    or has moved.

    Mineo’s will FedEx me a pie, and the O will probably become a zombie 5G phone store.

    Both Pitt football & bball aren’t worthy of a visit based on their own merits. (football always lose
    when I show anyway 😦

    The O ……killed by a souped-up virus and some vaccine pushers.

    Like

  69. The Dog was not the best move at the O to accompany your O Fries Cheese, Ketchup & Gravy, had you wanted a fully balanced and nutritious meal, as recommended by the FDA.

    The Sausage/Kielbasa thing was ! Plus a Pitcher of Beer to wash it all down.

    Like

  70. What about Oak Lodge(aka: Toke Lodge)? Many a late night food run was made to the Toke Lodge. For some it was salvation of sorts. Interesting group of patrons especially on late Friday and Saturday evenings.

    Like

    1. Don’t remember that place, can you give a general locale and circa time period. Could have been there, if you know what i mean. Sounds like this could have been in the 1960’s.

      Like

  71. Iek, our quarterback couldnt hit 6’7″ Shady from 15 feet with that salt shaker…he was a db his senior year.
    I think the wide out was Willie Collier.

    Liked by 1 person

  72. Even long after school, If I was in downtown/sousside partying or elsewhere along the Parkway I would design a route back home thru Oakland, to stop and see the Simons and pick up a hot submarine to take home. And they made it convenient to add some fries(naturally) to the order. The Subs were as good as the fries.

    The O even made Square Pizza which when topped with pepperoni with floating grease was quite tasty.

    Anybody remember The Top of the O ?

    Like

  73. As an fyi, many universities are following the guidance of Dr. Scott Gottlieb…….not the ncaa dude. He has an interesting take on how the graduated return to normalcy will unwind on campuses. He is an FDA guy that seems to have taken a solid approach to modeling how to do what in the right way.

    It’s all about time, place and circumstance………..like knowing when to go for a touchdown on 4th and goal from the 1. Awww dog dirt. I was being so positive for at least three posts.

    Tex – me and you think money is cheap and Pitt money managers missed on university shelf registration idea, federal funding and the like. You either are ready and can pounce…or you arent. A lot of fed money is being paid to colleges based on Pell Grants percentages. So much has to go to the student and the equal amount has to go to the university. Interesting stuff for sure.

    Like

  74. You guys don’t know the O like I know the O… I my brother 3 years older than me and my grade school friends grew up with the Simon family… grade school, high school and beyond… Bruce S was my age and his brother Larry and Terri (twins) were my brother’s age… I had been going to the O since the early 70’s and work there for about 6 months in the mid 70’s… I went to Bruce S prior telling him as a old friend and classmate that I didn’t see any black employees behind the counters at the O and that I couldn’t understand why… to make a long story short although I had a management job at the time Bruce offered me a job which I gladly excepted… what an experience for me…(I don’t think he thought I would except the offer)…best part time job I ever had… a couple of my high school friends would meet up there for lunch as early as a year or so ago… reminiscing and spending time with Bruce S…in closing because I could go on and on… I would like to see another classmate who we grew up with step in and save the O… he could renew, refurbish and renovate the O with his “pocket money”… his name is David Tepper… Pitt alumni and major supporter of CMU…multi billionaire to say the least…enough said… farewell but not forgotten… guess who …

    Like

  75. My favorite “O” story happened this summer. My wife and I are both Pitt grads. We were in town for a family reunion and wanted to visit campus as we haven’t been there in a while. Our daughter is a junior in high school beginning her college search, our nephew had just been accepted to Pitt and our young son tagged along. We figured we could give our version of a campus tour. We walked around visiting many buildings, stopped by to purchase a few items from Chas and then headed down Forbes.

    It was a warm August day and by now I was thirsty from all the walking. I told folks I was going to 7-11 to get drinks. 7-11 was gone. We walked down a bit more, stopping to take some pics of the stairway leading to Schenley Quad. As we passed the former C.J. Barney’s I bowed my head. We arrived at the corner of Forbes and Bouquet and I pointed to the door to the “O”, looked at our daughter and nephew and said “Go in.”

    I handed my daughter some cash, pointed at the back counter and said, “Get the largest size fries they have and some cheese and gravy.” I sat and waited. While I waited, I looked around and was sadden. The place was empty and the whole one side was practically gutted. It was a shell of its former self. You could tell it was dying a slow death. I snapped back when my daughter handed me a tray of fries overflowing the container and said, “What the heck am I supposed to do with this?” I said, “Eat them.” I still didn’t get anything to drink so I figured we could go up to the Top of the O and I could get a beer. The bar was gone. We sat, ate lots of fries and chatted. I pointed out to my wife the table where we shared our first “O” pizza. She didn’t remember.

    We left and got ice cream at Dave and Andy’s. It was exactly as I remember.

    I am happy that I was able to share the “O” experience with my children. I know it meant more to my wife and I then it did to them. It should.

    The “O” was in decline. I don’t know why. Things change. 60 years is a long time for a restaurant that serves hot dogs and fries. I’m glad I got to experience it.

    Liked by 2 people

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