I've been asked/targeted by a friend to write my thoughts on the Rust Belt cities of Northwest Ohio (affectionately known as Table-Flat) since I've had the pleasure of growing up here. I won't pretend to know everything about the region...but I'll try my best to show its hidden treasures. Which brings me to the first. Tony Packo's in Toledo, Ohio. If you've never had the distinct pleasure of visiting a Tony Packo's restaurant I urge you to take the Ohio turnpike to Toledo..immediately (don't forget to bring your heart burn medicine of choice).
Tony Packo was the son of Hungarian immigrants who lived in East Toledo. He started his Hungarian hot dog stand in 1932 during the Great Depression and the restaurant exploded from there. Currently Tony's has five locations (two are express stands) in the Toledo area.They also sell their products in grocery stores all over the United States. Now onto the good stuff.
Tony's is famous for it's MOAD (the Mother of All Dogs) or the Bunker Buster...which my aunt famously shouted upon our order arriving "That's the biggest weiner I've ever seen." No joke, I couldn't make that up if I tried. They also have some intensely epic chili, not to mention peppers and pickles. The actual restaurants have really awesome interiors and they have a tradition of asking famous patrons to sign hot dog buns which they then showcase on their walls. And where did Ohio State University president Gordon Gee ask NW Ohio students to meet him for dinner and a "pep rally" of sorts? Yes. Tony Packo's.
Because I am quite possibly the luckiest gal in Table Flat, I will have the pleasure of eating at Tony's this weekend for my sister's birthday. Like a steward of hotdog goodwill, I will bring back more stories and pictures of Packo's (and Toledo in general as the restaurant is part of a revitalization plan for the downtown). I think there is nothing more heroic than sacrificing oneself to save a Rust Belt city by eating hotdogs, chili, and deep-fried pickles.