Sunday, April 19, 2020

The End Of The O

News came out on Saturday that The Original Hot Dog Shop, better known as "The O," closed. Props to my friend Alan for publishing the first article about this at Pittsburgh Sports Now. Anyway, The O is, I mean was, (I'm going to jump between past and present tense a lot in this post) located in the heart of the Oakland section of Pittsburgh. Even though it's not technically part of the University of Pittsburgh campus, the restaurant is across the street from the law school, a few buildings down from some residence halls, and close to several university hospitals. While hot dog is obviously in the name of the restaurant, The O may be best known for its French fries. An order of small fries is enough for 2 people. A medium can easily serve 3-4. The best way to eat the fries is to order a side of the cheese sauce, especially since you only get one ketchup for a small and two for a medium. 

I just went through my blog archives, and while I mentioned The O several times, I never described what the restaurant meant to me. My great uncle used to take me there as a child, and I'm pretty sure I ate there before a few Pitt football games with him and my dad. We definitely ate there as an entire family. On the last day of my senior year of high school when seniors got out early, I went there for lunch with some friends. I had several drinks there after I turned 21. Even though I haven't lived in Pittsburgh in many years, I still tend to eat there nearly every trip back. I'm glad that I can say that all of my kids ate at The O during our visit last summer.

Restaurants come and go. It's a tough business. I think we're going to see a significant number of restaurants not return once COVID-19 is gone. However, I never thought that The O would be one of those restaurants. It's an institution. It's a place where doctors and professors eat lunch and where college students eat and drink late at night. The O wasn't supposed to close. I'm really going to miss it.

More information about the closing is available via KDKA and The Pitt News.

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