Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Joe Chiodo 1918-2007

The owner and operator of the historic Chiodo’s Tavern in Homestead, Pennsylvania died earlier this week. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has a thorough obituary, but I just wanted to share the story of my one and only visit to Chiodo’s. In the summer of 1996, after just turning 21, I interned at my Congressman’s office. When not handling phone calls from angry and/or crazy constituents, I played on the office softball team. We split two matches against the local fire department’s softball team in preparation for the big match against the Senator’s softball team. (As a complete tangent, a few of the firemen hated playing against me. Even though I was the smallest guy on the team and had no power, I consistently reached based on bloop hits, “seeing-eye” singles and errors. This is one of my proudest post-high school athletic accomplishments.) When we finally faced the Senator’s team, we were prepared and completely dominated them 17-6. (Unfortunately, it took about ten years until this Senator lost this badly again.)

This is a really long story just to write that we all went to Chiodo’s after the game. What a cool place! I avoided the “Mystery Sandwich,” but remember having good food and relatively inexpensive beer. Actually, I think the losing team paid, so that made the food and drinks even better. Chiodo’s closed over two years ago, and I never made it back after my first visit. There are/were not many bars with as much history and character as Chiodo’s.

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