Product Spotlight: Tony Packo’s
Maybe it’s the hot dogs that Tony Jr. describes as magical or the celebrity endorsed buns. Maybe it’s the concept of family that applies to the owners as well as the employees. It might be the personal connection to M*A*S*H, the wildly successful TV series that ran in the 70s. Whatever the reason, Tony Packo’s is special… AND successful.
The business got its start in 1932 on the east side of Toledo, Ohio. With a $100 loan, Tony and his wife opened a small sandwich and ice cream shop in the same Hungarian neighborhood that they lived in.
It became an overnight sensation when Tony introduced his Hungarian hot dog. He chose the name in honor of his Hungarian roots. Interestingly, those familiar with the native foods of Hungary commented that until Toledo-born Tony invented it, there was no such food.
In three short years, success enabled them to purchase the building that houses part of today’s business. The Packo family still runs the restaurant.
In 1972 “The Rainmaker” was playing at a local auditorium, starring Burt Reynolds. Nancy Packo, Tony’s daughter, wrote a letter inviting Reynolds to the restaurant and dropped it off at his hotel.
When he showed up several nights later, Nancy asked him for his autograph to commemorate the visit. Picking up a hot dog bun, he scribbled his name and a famous tradition was born!
More than 1,500 buns adorn the walls, signed by entertainers, actors, politicians, and sports stars. The actual buns have been replaced with foam, air-brushed replicas and the now famous “bun signing” continues today.
But the unexpected celebrity recommendation didn’t stop there.
In 1976 their business was referenced in the hit series M*A*S*H. In that particular scene, Jamie Farr, playing the role of Corporal Max Klinger (both Toledo natives), ad-libbed a line in his script about Tony Packo’s having the greatest Hungarian hot dogs. He advised the gentleman
The screenwriters liked the name and wrote the business into five subsequent shows, including the farewell episode in 1983.
Needless to say, the endorsement by such a popular show put Tony Packo’s on the national map.
The company has expanded its offerings to include pickles, peppers, sauces, and hot dog kits that allow you to make your own at home. They have restaurants in five locations throughout the Toledo area.
The next time you’re near Toledo or one of the other locations, be sure to check out a Tony Packo’s Restaurant!
We have in stock:
- Really Chunky Garlic Dills at $5.29/24 oz.
- Sweet Hots Pickles & Pepper at $6.29/24 oz.
Stop by and give them a try!