Ghosts of Closed Pittsburgh Restaurants

Hotlicks – (RIP 1998) Walnut Street Shadyside. Part of the Balcony. Rib joint. – see below

Buffalo Blues (RIP 2015) Highland Avenue – Great ribs, great sauce. Real Sauce. Best takeout ribs in a long time.

Khalil’s – (RIP 2015?) Baum Boulevard. One of the longest standing Middle Eastern Restaurants in Pittsburgh. Awesome medamas a walnut paste similar to hummus. Excellent spinach and meats pies. Awesome shish kebab . Everything was good. Another tragedy.

Spaghetti Warehouse – (RIP 2016) Smallman Street – Awesome rolls with Garlic chive butter. Thick noodles and thick meat sauce. Old trolley to sit in while you ate. Authentic old-timey decor. Another tragedy.

Benkovitz Seafood  (RIP 2013) – Strip District – Best Fish Sandwich and Best Cocktail Sauce Ever, Best Savage Fish Soup. I was there about once a month. It was always steamy, especially on a winter’s day. You could always find parking. First you would buy your savage fish soup, then get your fried fish sandwich, It was tough to find should space at the stand-up counters and people were always bogarting the cocktail sauce or hot sauce. The protocol was to leave the sauce up on top when you weren’t using it so others could use it to. But hogging it was an unpardonable crime.

Silk Pagoda  (RIP 2013) – Greenfield – Best Gen Tso Chicken ever. It was crisp, well-spiced. Easy to get to at the edge of the Greenfield bridge, nice people.

Gullifty’s (RIP 2013) – Squirrel Hill – Good Desserts, the rest of their food was mediocre at best. At one time it was a hip place.

Sammy’s Famous Corned Beef (RIP Unknown) – Forbes Avenue, Smithfield Street and Bloomfield. Only one is still left. Best Pittsburgh Corned Beef Special Ever. They just closed the one across from the jail. The best one was down on Smithfield. You could go in get your corned beef special, cole slaw, no horrible sauerkraut. You needed a fork to eat the excess corned beef. Pickle slices were great too.

Minutello’s (RIP 2012)– East Liberty – Best Eggplant Parmesan, once the best antipasto, but then they substituted horrible pepper rings for delicious pepperoncini and took out the anchovies

Iz Cohen’s/Rhoda’s/Polonsky’s Hebrew/National (RIP 2010) – Squirrel Hill – Filthy – Best Kreplach Soup Ever, Best nasty Beef Sticks, Best Latkes, Solid Corned Beef, Pastrami and  Pickled Tomatoes.

Poli’s  (RIP 2006)— Squirrel Hill – Cool Place, Food OK, Best Bronze Lobster Door Handles.

Ung’s Chinese Restaurant (RIP 2000) – East Liberty – Best Egg Roll and Duck Sauce ever. The secret recipe died with them.

Bagel Land  (RIP Unknown) – Squirrel Hill- Best Fresh Bagels in the Entire United States – New York City Included

Bagel Nosh  (RIP 1996) – Squirrel Hill – Wasn’t that good to begin with.

Sir Loin  (RIP 1990) – Squirrel Hill – Also not that Good.

The Balcony (RIP Unknown) -Shadyside – Good Ribs, I think. Had good live Jazz music.

The Gazebo (RIP Unknown) – Shadyside – I don’t remember it at all.

Isaly’s (RIP Unknown) – Oakland – Best barbecued Ham Sandwich Ever. See Brian Butko’s awesome site: Isaly’s History

Chick-King Supreme  (RIP Unknown) – Squirrel Hill – Best Ribs ever. Had the original ‘Pong’ video game. Great Corn Dogs.

House of Sauce  (RIP Unknown) – Oakland – Hottest Sauce ever, terrifying clientele. Hot sauce was actually painful, caused lip and facial swelling.

Niko’s Gyro’s (RIP Unknown) – Oakland – Weirdest place ever, it was never open during normal business hours. Very strange. Like Brigadoon. Great Gyros. I think they re-opened somewhere else.

Mother John’s Pizza (RIP Unknown) – Oakland – Great Calzone.

Taco Vista (RIP Unknown) – Oakland – Best Mexican anywhere ever. Another place that was great in the winter. Nice thick sauce with the meat. Tiny fresh onion bits on the burritos. Lots of Chick Publications Jesus Tracts. I used to collect them by the way.

Samreny’s (RIP Unknown) – Oakland – Middle Eastern. Solid, fancy joint. Not fantastic, but OK.

Penguini’s (RIP Unknown) – Friendship – Upscale Dining for Young Hipster’s. The Penguin, like the Owl is a gay symbol. They just are. Don’t question it, you sexy brute. I vaguely remember it. May have closed in the 1980’s.

Conflict Kitchen (May 31, 2017) Good Riddance. Pompous, holier-than-thou hatred of America was its prime feature.

Del’s (RIP 2015) – Bloomfield Generally agreed upon in most online comments as the worst restaurant. Worst service ever. I was actually served a veal Parmesan with a bone in the middle of it under the breading. WTF? I took a bite, found the bone, complained and was told it was supposed to be like that and I had to pay for it because I took a bite. Bye, bye now!

Rax’s Roast Beef (RIP? 1990’s?) – Center Avenue, Shadyside – Rax was awesome. They had the first tasty salad bar at a Fast Food Restaurant. Proximity to colleges led to its downfall. Students sneaking in plates, bums pulling plates out of garbage cans probably did it in due to ‘lossage’. Now they barely exist.

Park Schenley (RIP 1985?) – North Dithridge Street, Oakland – I took a girl here once when I was in College. Overkill I think. It was once one of the great classy Pittsburgh restaurants. Time just passed it by.

George Aiken’s (RIP 1980?) – Murray Avenue, Squirrel Hill – Great old-time deli. Had good Ham Barbeques I think. Also fried chicken.

Isaly’s (RIP 1978?) – Forbes Avenue Squirrel Hill – Chip-chopped ham, ham barbeques. Also a great Deli. The Klondike Chocolate Covered Ice Cream Bar is the sole survivor of this once mighty institution.

Mother John’s Pizza (RIP 1990?) Center Avenue, Oakland – Best Calzone ever. Probably overwhelmed by the chains.

Tambellini’s (RIP 1995?) – Saw Mill Run Boulevard, Beechview -Touted as a high-end Italian Restaurant with several restaurants in the area. I never liked their sauce.

Red Bull Inn (RIP 1990?) – Shady Avenue, Shadyside – Also had a few locations in the area. Sort of a local chain. Was once a high-end family restaurant. Excellent dark interior décor, comfortable, a favorite of local National Guardsmen for lunch-time boozing.

Regional

Winky’s (RIP Unknown) – Wilkinsburg – Burger joint, chain. Junkies loved it.

Bruegger’s Bagels (RIP 2015)  – Oakmont. Another shocking closure. Drove up today and it was boarded up. WTF?

Hoss’  (RIP Unknown) – Moon/Coraopolis – Best Hoss’ Ever, Great salad bar. None of the others are quite as good.

Howard Johnson’s (RIP 1988?) – Pennsylvania Turnpike – Had disgusting fried clams that I liked. Closed almost everywhere in the U.S. May be one location left in Maine, but I’m not sure.

Glisan’s Diner (RIP 2011) – Markleysburg – Best Muffins ever. Right on top of the Laurel Highlands Ridge on Route 40, Washington;s Road high above Olde Uniontowne.

Rowdy Buck (RIP Unknown) – Donegal – Best Mashed Potatoes and Ribs. Very redneck country joint. Authentic rustic wooden decor. Right above the Turnpike.

Ship of the Alleghenies (RIP 1986) – Schellsburg PA – Lincoln Highway –  Weird tourist attraction on the old Lincoln Highway. Burned to the ground in 2001 http://old.post-gazette.com/regionstate/20011027ship1027p2.asp

Back in New York…

Mother Stahl’s Knishes (RIP Unknown) – Brighton Beach – Brooklyn, NY. Botendaddy was a baker there once,  Best Cabbage Knishes, Best Cherry Knishes, Best Potato Knishes ever –  Sam-Mor, took the recipe to their graves. They were awful rude fucking people.

Red Thai on Lexington (RIP 2013?) – 39th and Lex? Awesome Thai for sit in or takeout. Nice people.

Revived

UPDATE! Carnegie Deli (DEAD AGAIN!) – Lesson here – it might be cool to sue your own restaurant for some calculation of back wages, but they may not remember the lawsuit fondly and then shut down the f&%king restaurant. Nice shooting yourself in the foot. Times Square area – Manhattan location is closed. Will continue to exist through merchandising and a few casino locations, like Bethlehem, PA. WTF? Come one New York! I will translate into New Yorkese: Who gives rat’s ass if they siphoned gas? I don’t give a flying fuck. Lose enough tourists yet? I want my fucking Cheesecake and Pastrami! Re-open the goddamned restaurant you fucking Con-Ed/NYC government douche-bags. I was here in June 2016 with one of my muses. I got the pastrami and one bite of chocolate cheesecake. AWESOME!!!

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About Botendaddy

Three times voted extreme sexiest man alive...by acclamation. I run because I must...I must!
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2 Responses to Ghosts of Closed Pittsburgh Restaurants

  1. Jim says:

    Penguni’s was active in the early 1980’s – I went there in 1982 and they had an excellent stuffed crust pizza (the bottom of the pizza was stuffed with meat). Great food, cool place.

    Liked by 1 person

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