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 Pittsburgh Memories of the 2,000,000 who moved

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Baah Ben

  • Total Posts: 3026
  • Joined: 11/30/2001
  • Location: Ormond Beach, FL
RE: Pittsburgh Memories of the 2,000,000 who moved Thu, 10/16/08 8:42 AM (permalink)
Anyone remember Mike Kalina, The Phantom Diner? Let's see before I tell my story...No need if none of you remember him...

Any of you remember Hot Lick's? I believe Louis Lipps was involved...

Badseed - Did you ever go to Fat Franks (1989 - 1991)in the Strip District
 
#61
    MetroplexJim

    • Total Posts: 3705
    • Joined: 6/24/2007
    • Location: McKinney, TX
    RE: Pittsburgh Memories of the 2,000,000 who moved Thu, 10/16/08 8:56 AM (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by mmarkovitz

    Now the old memories are pouring back. I don't think I would have ever remembered "Adventure Time". But I watched it all the time. What was the name of the show on Sat. mornings that always had Tarzan movies? I remember being at the airport with my Dad and He said come with me and we walked up to Roberto And my Dad had me shake his hand. Boy was he big, but then I was only about 10 at the time.


    He was only 5'11", but no man has stood taller.
     
    #62
      Mosca

      • Total Posts: 2935
      • Joined: 5/26/2004
      • Location: Mountain Top, PA
      RE: Pittsburgh Memories of the 2,000,000 who moved Thu, 10/16/08 9:02 AM (permalink)
      I remember Mike Kalina! But not Hot Licks; wasn't that Louis Lipps' place? that was after I moved.

      I sent a link to this thread to my sisters, and here are their replies; both mention stuff that no one else has yet.


      One lives in Chicago, and wrote:
      quote:
      I had that kielbasa bread too, that the last post is talking about. The mom
      of a guy I dated at St. Vincent College in Latrobe home made it and it was
      delicious. I've only had it once and never forgot it.

      I saw night of the living dead at the drive-in when it was first released.
      Anyone who lived in Pittsburgh (and especially those of us who don't live
      there anymore!) will remember that you had to wait until almost 10PM for it
      to get dark so you could watch the movie on the longest days of summer.

      Remember the cobblestone streets and the trolley cars and the different
      colored "belts" to follow in order to get downtown? Awesome.

      And how everyone kept cases of beer in their garage because of the blue
      laws, and everyone's favorite pastime was looking for open garages at nite.

      Stouffer's was a fancy place to eat. South Park had that funny monorail from
      the county fair. And the Gateway Clipper was the best way to go on the
      Monongahela through the boat locks.

      Pittsburgh still has the best sandwiches ever b/c they have the best bread-!

      Also they have the best pickled eggs, bar-cheeseburgers, hot sausage
      sandwiches, thin crust runny pizza, fish sandwiches and a pitcher of beer.
      Ahhhh those were the days. Can't find such great bar food where there aren't
      blue laws....



      And the other lives in Tampa/St Pete and wrote:

      quote:
      Hoagy place [Danny's] or Beto's? Wholey's or Benkovitz? Fried oysters at The Oyster
      Bar in Market Square? Palmer's onion rings? Breakfast at DeLuca?
      Primanti Brothers--the old one off of Smallman Steet? The old Walnut Street
      Deli? Tambellini's fried zucchini? Apple Cider from Trax? Reuben
      Sandwich's from Rich's? The Original Hot Dog in Oakland. . . The Rib Joint.
      . . Horne's Tea Room. .. .

      I must have eaten out lot. . . .
       
      #63
        Capybara91

        • Total Posts: 240
        • Joined: 7/7/2006
        • Location: Puyallup, WA
        RE: Pittsburgh Memories of the 2,000,000 who moved Thu, 10/16/08 9:34 AM (permalink)
        a good link to studio wrestling in pittsburgh

        http://members.aol.com/rcbac/local.htm
         
        #64
          buffetbuster

          RE: Pittsburgh Memories of the 2,000,000 who moved Thu, 10/16/08 10:26 AM (permalink)
          Since I still live here in Pittsburgh, I have been reading this thread with great interest. I am 46 years old so a few of the things mentioned were slightly before my time. But it has been very enjoyable nonetheless.

          I watched a lot of studio wrestling as a kid. Remember Pie Traynor saying, "Who can? American!" And there was always the same little old lady with an umbrella who would sit in the front row and somehow get involved in the action. Bruno Sammartino? Great man. Not just a great wrestler, but a truly great man.

          Also watched a lot of Chiller Theater as a kid. I think I had a crush on Terminal Stare! The movie I remember being on many times was King Kong vs Godzilla. Bowling for Dollars was something my dad I would watch together, so we could laugh at what a trainwreck Nick Perry was. Has there ever been a worse interviewer ever?

          I hate to tell you, but the Steelers were one of the very first teams to have cheerleaders. It was back in the 60s and they were from Robert Morris College, which I graduated from. http://www.steelerettes.com/ Thankfully, they don't have cheerleaders now. Here is another fact that some of you might not know. Try and find the bios for the Rooneys in their media guide. It isn't there. How many NFL owners do you think do that?

          Someone mentioned Sweet William's, which I haven't thought about in a long time. Anytime my mother would take me to the Monroeville Mall, I had to get a sundae there. Great memories.

          Several of you mentioned that you come back to Pittsburgh once in a while. If anyone ever wants to meet me for a meal when you are town, I am always interested in meeting fellow Roadfooders. Especially fellow yinzers!
           
          #65
            Foodbme

            • Total Posts: 9567
            • Joined: 9/1/2006
            • Location: Gilbert, AZ
            RE: Pittsburgh Memories of the 2,000,000 who moved Thu, 10/16/08 11:04 AM (permalink)
            Who could forget Argentine Rocca! He wrestled barefoot and invented the Airplane Spin!
             
            #66
              mamaduck43

              • Total Posts: 184
              • Joined: 9/15/2008
              • Location: Denmark, WI
              RE: Pittsburgh Memories of the 2,000,000 who moved Thu, 10/16/08 1:57 PM (permalink)
              I remember going to hockey games and ice shows at, I think it was Duquesne Gardens, on possibly Craig Street in Oakland.... And also going on school field trips to Shriners Circus at Syria Mosque... I loved that building!!!!!

              "I was a pig at Kings" - - I still have a couple of those buttons laying around, and I have a few of the original celluloid Heinz pickle pins from factory tours there... Coming home from swim practice, we would drive over the Bloomfield Bridge and would get a kick out of the row of ducks on the old Drake Bakery building - - and the aroma of fresh baked bread was so tantalizing to a carload of hungry swimmers....

              I do have a couple of questions - - does the Gulf building still forecast the weather??? From our house in North Park, we could just catch a glimpse of the tippy top of that building (14 miles away) and the solid or blinking red or blue lighted top helped make decisions whether or not to wear a heavy coat.... We also could see the rows of blinking red lights on the towers from KDKA and KQV.... Are street cars still running??? My grandfather lived in Castle Shannon, and it was a real treat to ride the streetcars on the right of way that paralleled Saw Mill Run Blvd....

              Not really in Pittsburgh, but I remember a fantastic orgy of eating at a restaurant called Erculani's - - I don't even remember where it was, but dinner lasted for about 4 hours and there was a never ending stream of goodies coming from the kitchen to our large group of hungry eaters.... I will have to google and see if it still exists.... The one thing that sticks in my mind was a fantastic salad dressing - - it was kind of like a red french dressing over a huge chunk of gorgonzola cheese which could be broken apart and added to your salad... I have tried to duplicate it without success.....

              Metro - - thanks for the links to the oldtime wrestlers (or as my mom would have said, "Wrasslers"...... She was a true believer that everything that happened in the ring was honest and not scripted....

              And for info - - I am 65 - - grew up in North Park and had the opportunity to live near/in the Burgh a couple of times during my ex's AF career.... I have defended my Pittsburguese - - baby chickens are called 'peeps', I use a washrag, I 'red' up the house - - but I promised my kids that if I ever heard them say, 'yunz', I would wash their mouths out with Lifeboy!!!!! Pittsburgh is a wonderful place, but the weather sucks and the roads are ridiculous!!!! But I will defend the Burgh and Burgers forever......
               
              #67
                blue heaven

                • Total Posts: 488
                • Joined: 3/4/2007
                • Location: Pompano Beach, FL
                RE: Pittsburgh Memories of the 2,000,000 who moved Thu, 10/16/08 3:55 PM (permalink)
                Great thread...so here goes Albert's tasty brand hot dogs from Washington Pa (sold to shorty's and the O) Ernie's Esquire and the Red Bull restaurants on Route 19. Of course Isley's chipped ham. Oh I almost forgot Sam Remy and Kahlil's Lebanese restaurant in Pittsburgh Oakland I believe.
                 
                #68
                  MetroplexJim

                  • Total Posts: 3705
                  • Joined: 6/24/2007
                  • Location: McKinney, TX
                  RE: Pittsburgh Memories of the 2,000,000 who moved Thu, 10/16/08 7:18 PM (permalink)
                  quote:
                  Originally posted by mamaduck43

                  Not really in Pittsburgh, but I remember a fantastic orgy of eating at a restaurant called Erculani's - - I don't even remember where it was, but dinner lasted for about 4 hours and there was a never ending stream of goodies coming from the kitchen to our large group of hungry eaters.... I will have to google and see if it still exists.... The one thing that sticks in my mind was a fantastic salad dressing - - it was kind of like a red french dressing over a huge chunk of gorgonzola cheese which could be broken apart and added to your salad... I have tried to duplicate it without success.....


                  It was Erculini's in Gallitzin, near Altoona. Bob Tracey used to plug this place so much on KDKA I nagged my parents to take me there for my birthday. What a FEAST!

                  http://www.roadfood.com/forums/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=20890

                  Remember Johnny Garneau's Golden Spike both downtown and on McKnight Road in the North Hills? That's probably where BuffetBuster got his name!
                   
                  #69
                    dannybotz

                    • Total Posts: 357
                    • Joined: 1/30/2007
                    • Location: Branchburg N.J.
                    RE: Pittsburgh Memories of the 2,000,000 who moved Thu, 10/16/08 7:24 PM (permalink)
                    No mention of "FATHEADS SALOON" which I plan on going to when i go to the Steelers Chargers game inn Nov. Besides the reviews on roadfood give me some idea of what to expect!! and is it the place i should hit??
                     
                    #70
                      Baah Ben

                      • Total Posts: 3026
                      • Joined: 11/30/2001
                      • Location: Ormond Beach, FL
                      RE: Pittsburgh Memories of the 2,000,000 who moved Thu, 10/16/08 7:34 PM (permalink)
                      Bring your appetite.....Most reviews are positive. My friends who live in Pittsburgh have been there many times and they love it.
                       
                      #71
                        badseed555

                        • Total Posts: 44
                        • Joined: 7/24/2008
                        • Location: oxford, PA
                        RE: Pittsburgh Memories of the 2,000,000 who moved Thu, 10/16/08 10:40 PM (permalink)
                        I remember Hot Licks in both Shadyside and East liberty, loved the hotest sauce and the home made potato chips. I don't think I ever went to Fat Franks, even though I was in the strip about every other Saturday during that time. Where was Fat Franks and what did they serve?

                        Does any one remember the blackk and white prints from Tiny Harris, the photographer for the Pgh Courier? His family had them for sale on the street by a pastry shop on Penn Ave, USA Gourmet?

                        I always had a sate from the cart outside of Sam Bok's and once in a while, a fish sandwich from Benkowitz or foccacia from Penn Mac. I was a poor grad student so I had to pick and choose.

                        Didn't Mike Kalina commit suicide via tailpipe, please forgive if I am incorrect
                         
                        #72
                          badseed555

                          • Total Posts: 44
                          • Joined: 7/24/2008
                          • Location: oxford, PA
                          RE: Pittsburgh Memories of the 2,000,000 who moved Thu, 10/16/08 10:42 PM (permalink)
                          Oh and Hazel 1-7866 The jingle for one of the sponsers for Studio Wrestling
                           
                          #73
                            mamaduck43

                            • Total Posts: 184
                            • Joined: 9/15/2008
                            • Location: Denmark, WI
                            RE: Pittsburgh Memories of the 2,000,000 who moved Thu, 10/16/08 11:39 PM (permalink)
                            Ahhhh... The commercials for Beryle Chevrolet in Turtle Creek - - "Boyle Chevrolet in Toitle Crick".......

                            I doubt that any of you 'Burghers remember the school Safety programs sponsored by the Pittsburgh Press - - it featured Donny Dingbat and the policeman was 'Micky Finn'..... Micky Finn was my dad and he used to also be involved in the Safety Patrolboy program throughout Allegheny County.....

                            Since North Park Pool was a big part of my life, the snack bar was integral to my childhood.... Popsicles were 5ยข and usually my daily treat.... They sold big bags of cheese popcorn that would turn your fingers yellow through at least 2 hours of 'in the pool' time.... They also sold bags of sweet popcorn that had some kernals colored a neon pink.... Their hotdogs were cooked on one of those roller machines and were the food of the gods.... And another treat sold there were slices of cake roll - - a rolled chocolate cake and vanilla icecream.... They came in a wax paper sandwich bag.... I only got a slice when I was really 'rich'.... Oh, I almost forgot - - They kept gallon jugs of Reymers Blend in the freezer and when they poured a glass it would be icy and yummy...... Do they still sell the concentrate??? I have tried to clone the taste, but it is impossible.....
                             
                            #74
                              Capybara91

                              • Total Posts: 240
                              • Joined: 7/7/2006
                              • Location: Puyallup, WA
                              RE: Pittsburgh Memories of the 2,000,000 who moved Thu, 10/16/08 11:47 PM (permalink)
                               
                              #75
                                mamaduck43

                                • Total Posts: 184
                                • Joined: 9/15/2008
                                • Location: Denmark, WI
                                RE: Pittsburgh Memories of the 2,000,000 who moved Fri, 10/17/08 12:16 AM (permalink)
                                OMG!!!!! I just ordered a gallon!!!!! You are wonderful!!!! Thank you so much.....
                                 
                                #76
                                  Capybara91

                                  • Total Posts: 240
                                  • Joined: 7/7/2006
                                  • Location: Puyallup, WA
                                  RE: Pittsburgh Memories of the 2,000,000 who moved Fri, 10/17/08 12:38 AM (permalink)
                                  quote:
                                  Originally posted by mamaduck43

                                  OMG!!!!! I just ordered a gallon!!!!! You are wonderful!!!! Thank you so much.....


                                  LOL! My aunt and uncle kept the concentrate in their fallout shelter. If the Russkies bombed us, we were going to go down drinking Blennd.
                                   
                                  #77
                                    Baah Ben

                                    • Total Posts: 3026
                                    • Joined: 11/30/2001
                                    • Location: Ormond Beach, FL
                                    RE: Pittsburgh Memories of the 2,000,000 who moved Fri, 10/17/08 2:11 AM (permalink)
                                    Badseed555 - Well, now that someone else beside Mosca said they know who Mike Kalina was, I'll tell you a pretty amazing story...A $200,000 story actually. I'd e-mailed Mosca because it appeared nobody else ever heard of Mike Kalina, the Phantom Diner. Didn't think anyone else wanted to hear this.

                                    In the late 1980's he had a show on Saturdays on PBS and also a spot on KDKA Channel 2 where he was The Phantom Diner. I built a restaurant down on Smallman Street across from Jo Jo's in the late 80's. Sorry we missed you. We served a menu similar to the Original with some addded things like Chinese Roast Pork on Garlic Bread, fresh chicken breast sandwiches, hand pattied burgers, ribs, etc.

                                    We used a Sabrette natural casing 6 to 1 dog and charged $2 for it; Sheetz had 3 for a dollar! Some people bitched. We had very high end customers who appreciated what we were doing. We just did not have enough of them! We had the same fresh cut fries, the same fryers and used peanut oil, too. What we did not have was the Dirty O's foot traffic..That's why we got $150,000 from the landlord and that's how I got to Pittsburgh. Bad location at that time and so the Landlord induced us to come. Like I said, I put up $120,000.

                                    Anyway, things did not go well (First Iraq war, coldest winter in 20 years, etc) and a friend in NYC said she knew a restaurant critic in Pittsburgh. She could ask him to review the place, but no promises of a good review. My projections were half of what I felt we were going to do...We were months away from calling it a day.

                                    One Monday night, we sent everyone home early and just my wife and I were there. In walks four well dressed people and they proceed to order everything on the menu! My wife immediately recognized one of them as Mike Kalina (from his PBS show on Saturdays).

                                    I knew this was either going to be the end or the beginning for us. I'm by myself in the kitchen and all of a sudden more people start coming in! My wife went up to them and said if they would not order any food, she'd give them all the free beer they wanted. They were great. Pittsburghers are good people.

                                    The next day, we get a call that we'd been reviewed. They would not tell us what the results were (they'd eaten everything..cleaned their plates so we knew it would be ok) and wanted to video tape the place, etc. They came in and took pictures of all our food. They called and told us we would be on Wed on the Evening PM Show's Phantom Diner segment at 7:30. Within 10 minutes of airing (we got 4 stars out of 5 with raves about the ribs)people started calling for our hrs and location.

                                    We'd been averaging $300 a day, which was half of my projections. The next day after the tv spot we did $900. The day after that $1800 and the day after that $2700. We ran out of everything! From that point on, we did very well. Steelers, Penquins, Pirates, etc. all started coming in. My wife hated the hours and the cold weather; we sold (all cash) to a rich physician's son and left. The kid changed the hot dog, changed all the homemade food (we did not even have a freezer in the restaurant) and he eventually went in the crapper two years later. Moral of the story..Never finance the sale of your restaurant or too many times you most likely will be taking it back.

                                    Two years later, a scandal hits the papers. Mike Kalina had been charged with setting up a dummy corporation with a friend. The friend would approach struggling restaurants and say he could get a good review for them. They had to pay the guy in cash. When the story hit the papers, Mike Kalina, a icon in the town, was so embarrassed that he killed himself. He ran a hose from the exhaust pipe of the car in his garage.

                                    He'd never asked me for a penny. His review turned out to be worth nearly $200,000. That's the power of an unsolicited review. My big mistake was never seeing the need to advertise when we first opened. I knew the food was going to be good and thought word of mouth would do it...that is tough when Primanti's is right down the block though. I foolishly thought we'd take a percentage of their customers..We got none of them.. We had to develop our own customer base. IT took far longer than I expected. That's it....
                                     
                                    #78
                                      MetroplexJim

                                      • Total Posts: 3705
                                      • Joined: 6/24/2007
                                      • Location: McKinney, TX
                                      RE: Pittsburgh Memories of the 2,000,000 who moved Fri, 10/17/08 9:05 AM (permalink)
                                      quote:
                                      Originally posted by Capybara91

                                      Reymer's Lemon Blennd. Hometown Favorites.

                                      http://www.hometownfavorites.com/products.asp?dept=1020&number=HFBE225&pagenumber=3


                                      I always take a few bottles back to Dallas after a visit. Unfortunately, I can't keep them in my carry-on anymore.
                                       
                                      #79
                                        buffetbuster

                                        RE: Pittsburgh Memories of the 2,000,000 who moved Fri, 10/17/08 9:12 AM (permalink)
                                        Baah Ben-
                                        Thanks for the story. I do remember the phantom diner, but did not know his name or the story of his unfortunate demise. Was he definitely guilty of the accusations? Glad you got out without losing your shirt.

                                        I sure drank a lot of Lemon Blennd as a kid!
                                         
                                        #80
                                          Baah Ben

                                          • Total Posts: 3026
                                          • Joined: 11/30/2001
                                          • Location: Ormond Beach, FL
                                          RE: Pittsburgh Memories of the 2,000,000 who moved Fri, 10/17/08 12:14 PM (permalink)
                                          BB - I believe his partner was convicted.

                                          Our expectations for two years were much too high. We actually had investors who wanted us to open another one in Mt. Lebanon, but by that time we'd had had enough. Six days a week...13 hrs a day..We had lines out the door on Fridays and Saturdays for lunch, but on a Wed night, it was like a bowling alley before the review.

                                          You have to love the business..Not just be in it to make money.
                                           
                                          #81
                                            Foodbme

                                            • Total Posts: 9567
                                            • Joined: 9/1/2006
                                            • Location: Gilbert, AZ
                                            RE: Pittsburgh Memories of the 2,000,000 who moved Fri, 10/17/08 2:49 PM (permalink)
                                            quote:
                                            Originally posted by Baah Ben

                                            BB - I believe his partner was convicted.

                                            Our expectations for two years were much too high. We actually had investors who wanted us to open another one in Mt. Lebanon, but by that time we'd had had enough. Six days a week...13 hrs a day..We had lines out the door on Fridays and Saturdays for lunch, but on a Wed night, it was like a bowling alley before the review.

                                            You have to love the business..Not just be in it to make money.


                                            Baah Ben,
                                            Quite a story!! I hope others who are thinking about starting a business learn from your words of wisdom about what it takes to own and run a business. Your assessment is dead nuts on!
                                             
                                            #82
                                              Baah Ben

                                              • Total Posts: 3026
                                              • Joined: 11/30/2001
                                              • Location: Ormond Beach, FL
                                              RE: Pittsburgh Memories of the 2,000,000 who moved Fri, 10/17/08 6:50 PM (permalink)
                                              Foodbme..Shame on me. This was my business for 20 years..Helping others to open restaurants (I designed the kitchens and installed the equipment) but you get caught up in your own "whatever." That's what happened. I had an opportunity for my own place with the landlord's money! But, I made every marketing mistake possible. Our food was great, the place was well planned, but it takes far more than that. The location was bad hence the "free" $150,000. There is no free lunch as I found out!

                                              The reason it takes 4-5 years to see if a place really is going to be a success is that you need a tremendous number of customers to support the business unless you have unusual foot traffic like the Dirty O had being next to the U of Pittsburgh. If someone loves your place, he may come once a week...He also loves other places, too. So, figure out how many people you need to love you each day and you can see the tremendous number of customers you'll need. Advertising helps a little, but word of mouth is the real answer and that takes time to develop. I'm lucky I got out with my own money and made a few bucks.
                                               
                                              #83
                                                Baah Ben

                                                • Total Posts: 3026
                                                • Joined: 11/30/2001
                                                • Location: Ormond Beach, FL
                                                RE: Pittsburgh Memories of the 2,000,000 who moved Fri, 10/17/08 6:53 PM (permalink)
                                                Hey, who knows Angelo's in Bloomfield?

                                                Angelo was a good friend of mine and he had a really good pizza. Pizza places always do well in Pittsburgh. He would help me whenever he could. He was never jealous. He always wished us well. His entire staff would always come to my restaurant after their shift on Friday nights and spend money. I never forgot that.
                                                 
                                                #84
                                                  MetroplexJim

                                                  • Total Posts: 3705
                                                  • Joined: 6/24/2007
                                                  • Location: McKinney, TX
                                                  RE: Pittsburgh Memories of the 2,000,000 who moved Fri, 10/17/08 7:16 PM (permalink)
                                                  quote:
                                                  Originally posted by Baah Ben

                                                  Moral of the story..Never finance the sale of your restaurant or too many times you most likely will be taking it back.


                                                  That is wise advice, unless the buyer is a Korean.

                                                  Flush with cash from my vertically integrated printing, design, and advertising businesses in 1992 I tried a semi-absentee (first mistake) venture in the food biz - a little-known fast food franchise. I was in it for $120K cash and a corporate signature for another $170K, primarily equipment and additional build-out.

                                                  I did $27K/week for the first year, $22K for the second, and was hovering near $20K when I unloaded that nightmare. Even at $20K/week the pro-formas told me I should be dragging $2-3k/week, but neither the franchisor "experts" nor I could ever overcome the fact that actual food cost was 41% when it should have been 28%. (Restaurant professionals are crying with laughter by now).

                                                  Koreans to the rescue!

                                                  They assumed the remaining debt (somehow they saw 30 of 60 lease payments having been made on 2 1/2 year restaurant equipment as having "equity"), paid $200K cash (which would have been more than enough for me!), and proffered a 10 year/10% note for $300K. I sold. And each payment on that note was received timely and in full by me.

                                                  After I sold I noticed that the workforce remained "indiginous personnel", but only Koreans handled cash, went to the freezer, received deliveries, or took out the trash.

                                                  Over the years I realized what a wise "investment" it was for the church of my youth in Washington, PA: Second Presbyterian (which became Church of the Covenant circa 1960) to have alone sponsored three Missionary Families in Korea back in the 1950's.
                                                   
                                                  #85
                                                    Baah Ben

                                                    • Total Posts: 3026
                                                    • Joined: 11/30/2001
                                                    • Location: Ormond Beach, FL
                                                    RE: Pittsburgh Memories of the 2,000,000 who moved Fri, 10/17/08 8:25 PM (permalink)
                                                    Metro - Koreans are incredibly hard workers and very smart. Hey, look at the turn around of their car industry. They practically own the Ma and Pa retail produce businesses in NYC. They were the first to come up with these carry out fruit salads, veggies, salads, etc. They eat, live and breathe those retail businesses. And they are not deadbeats. They pay their bills. A very industrious people and a welcome addition to our country. A perfect example of what's good about this country..least we forget sometimes. Their stores in Ft. Lee, NJ are absolutely amazing.

                                                    I'm trying to digest your deal..So, you were into it for $340,000. That was terrific volume and yes, you should have made very, very good money. But, like you said..that food cost..Jeez. Can't do it absentee, but what a fantastic deal you made. It's better that you did not do well..You did better selling the place! Dude, You stepped in sh_t! What a beautiful deal. Good for you!!!

                                                    Incidently, I had a Proforma, too...Mine was good ( I got paid to do them for others). But, like I said, I assumed I'd be able to take business away from my competitor. I believed my food would be so good that that was all there was to it. I actually flew down several friends from NYC in the food business just so I'd get their unbiased opinions of Primanti's (my competitor) food. They all said I was going to hit a home run! Yeah, well go tell that to the people who loved and still love Primanti's for the past 30 years? They never gave us a chance. Wouldn't even come in the place.

                                                    I had to get my own group of customers and they were much older. They lived in the surburbs in places like Mt. Lebanon on weekends to shop in the Strip. We also had a lot of businessmen coming from downtown for lunch during the week. They loved our food and the cleanliness of the place. But, I did not have them in the evenings. So, it was basically a lunch business and that was not enough volume. Once we got the review, that did change. We started getting the athletes, etc. But, for us, it was too little too late. We had had enough.

                                                    Before I did the deal, I'd sit outside in my car in the dead of winter at 2 AM on a Saturday to count the number of customers going into Primanti's after a late night out on the town. I figured I could get at least 15 percent of their customers to come to my place...Two blocks away. I was able to get a rough idea of what they were grossing, too. How? Well, the counts at the door and also they'd put fries on each of their sandwiches and I knew how many pounds of potatoes they purchased monthly. I was able to calculate a rough number of sandwiches per month etc. Back in the late 1980's I figured that they were doing at least $1.5 million out of that one place.

                                                    All I needed to make a really good living at the time was $400,000 so it seemed easy...WRONG. Like I said, I got none of their customers. Primanti's is a tradition..It's far more than just the food. I'd made a critical marketing mistake. It's a loyal town and they do not make new friends (restaurants) so easily.

                                                    Hey, good story Jim. Good for you!
                                                     
                                                    #86
                                                      Mosca

                                                      • Total Posts: 2935
                                                      • Joined: 5/26/2004
                                                      • Location: Mountain Top, PA
                                                      RE: Pittsburgh Memories of the 2,000,000 who moved Fri, 10/17/08 8:59 PM (permalink)
                                                      Baah Ben, what was the name of your restaurant?
                                                       
                                                      #87
                                                        Baah Ben

                                                        • Total Posts: 3026
                                                        • Joined: 11/30/2001
                                                        • Location: Ormond Beach, FL
                                                        RE: Pittsburgh Memories of the 2,000,000 who moved Fri, 10/17/08 11:06 PM (permalink)
                                                        Fat Franks..2000 Smallman Street
                                                         
                                                        #88
                                                          mamaduck43

                                                          • Total Posts: 184
                                                          • Joined: 9/15/2008
                                                          • Location: Denmark, WI
                                                          RE: Pittsburgh Memories of the 2,000,000 who moved Sat, 10/18/08 12:19 AM (permalink)
                                                          Baah Ben - - we used to go to a family type Italian Restaurant in Bloomfield, but I don't remember the name of it... It was no more than two blocks from the Bloomfield Bridge, on the right side of the street, and if my memory holds, it had a gray granite front on the building... Friendly people and great pizza....

                                                          I am really enjoying this thread.... Lots of great memories - - food wise, and otherwise.....




                                                           
                                                          #89
                                                            badseed555

                                                            • Total Posts: 44
                                                            • Joined: 7/24/2008
                                                            • Location: oxford, PA
                                                            RE: Pittsburgh Memories of the 2,000,000 who moved Sat, 10/18/08 10:44 AM (permalink)
                                                            Great story, Baah Ben and I would have loved chinese roast pork on garlic bread, so sorry I missed it.

                                                            MamaDuck, was the Bloomfield restaurant called the Pleasure Bar? a block or 2 from Tessaro's (one of my favorites), with an entrance on one of the side streets? I'm not too keen on Italian food, I don't really like pasta except for with white clam sauce or Carbonera but I always found something I liked at the Pleasure Bar.
                                                             
                                                            #90
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