Chili, Hot Dogs & Good Friends
Last Saturday the Smokin’ Hot Wife, two of my sons and myself made the trek to Toledo, Ohio to meet up with some two friends. We met at Tony Packo’s, home of the Hungarian hot dog, created in 1932.
Here’s the story from the Tony Packo website.
The son of Hungarian immigrants, Tony Packo was a native East Toledoan. Tony was born in 1908, just a stone’s throw from Consaul and Genesee streets. Tony Packo started out as a factory worker. That all changed when, in 1932, he and his wife got a $100 loan from relatives. No small feat, mind you, for this was during the hardest of hard times, the first years of the Great Depression. That same year he opened a sandwich and ice cream shop just around the corner from the place he was born. Tony had learned the restaurant business working for his older brother John, who owned a place across Consaul Street in what is now Tony Packo’s parking lot. There was no beer at Packo’s that first year. Prohibition would not be lifted until 1933.
Because Tony was Hungarian-American and lived in a Hungarian neighborhood, Tony’s creation was called the Hungarian hot dog. Until Toledo-born Tony invented it, there was no such thing as a Hungarian hot dog, say those who know the Old Country’s food.
I really don’t have any idea what a “Hungarian hot dog” is. But who cares? It tastes good. Real good. The menu of the joint (and I use the word “joint” in the most flattering way possible) is limited to mostly chili and hot dog related dishes, and this is a good thing, as it allows a restaurant to focus on quality. In other words, don’t order the veal parmigiana at The International House of Pancakes.
The place is very Toledo, yet nationally known because of several mentions by the Toledo native Corporal Klinger character on the series M*A*S*H. The walls of the place are covered with hundreds of celebrity autographed hot dog buns, a Tony Packo’s tradition.
We all had some deep fried & hand battered pickles as an appetizer. Dee-lish. I had a chili sundae and a dog as a “main course”. A chili sundae? Yes, it’s true. Tony Packo’s world-famous chili, sour cream, and shredded cheddar cheese, all layered into a sundae glass, and served with warm taco chips on the side. Would it taste the same if served in a bowl? Of course. Would I have had as much fun eating it? Doubt it.
Is Tony Packo’s Old School? Let’s review: family-owned, menu focused on great eats (“eats” used as a noun — good word) like hot dogs and chili, great local following and quirky tradition of celebrity autographed hot dog buns. Yeah, it’s Old School.
“Made it, Ma! Top of the world!”
When was the last time you watched an old black & white movie? It as though there is an unwritten law in the minds of most people that only current movies are worth watching. This, of course, flies in the face of what Old School Rules is all about. Great is great, whether it’s from 2009 or a black & white from 1949, like this post’s movie White Heat. This post marks another Old School @ The Movies.
White Heat was listed in Time magazine’s top 100 films of all time. It’s the story of Cody Jarrett, a ruthless and borderline insane leader of a criminal gang. It begins with a train robbery and ends with one of the most memorable scenes and lines in movie history. In between Cody spends some time with an undercover G-man in the joint (a completely different kind of joint then the one mentioned a few paragraphs above), but avoids hitting anyone with a grapefruit, a feat he couldn’t avoid in Public Enemy.
You can watch White Heat online streaming in its entirety here.
Keep it Old School, my friend
The Old Man, Chris Dixon
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