Legendary Pitt Eatery ‘The O’ Closes

Alan Saunders, reporting for Pittsburgh Sports Now:

The Original Hot Dog Shop has closed its doors after nearly 60 years of selling hot dogs, french fries, pizza and more from its location on Forbes Avenue adjacent to Pitt’s campus.

Better known as The O, the hot dog shop was founded by Syd and Moe Simon in June 1960, and over the years became Oakland’s most legendary eatery.

Over the years it had been honored by the likes of Gourmet Magazine, The New York Times and Food Network, and was featured on WQED’s A Hot Dog Program with host Rick Sebak.

Its colorful menu boards, neon signage, low prices and sometimes absurd portions made The O a throwback classic. Open until 2 a.m., The O was a frequent destination for Pitt students after a long night of partying.

“Sometimes absurd portions” is putting it lightly. A “small” order of fries was mountainous; a large to-go order barely fit in an entire brown paper bag. And they were some of the best damn French fries I’ve ever had — fresh cut and fried on the spot. Not just good but “Holy shit these fries are amazing” good. The O had everything a college student could want, including a decent-enough pizza — a whole pizza — for just a handful of bucks. And the service was delightfully curt. God help you if you got to the front of the line and weren’t ready to order.

The O was the canonical ideal of the greasy college spoon, the sort of institution that you can’t imagine not having always been there or ever going away. Devastating news — and I was only ever a few-times-a-year visitor from across the state.

Saturday, 18 April 2020