Update: The Pitt News has received confirmation from The Original Hot Dog Shop’s longtime manager of the closure.
This is going to be a tough one, Pittsburgh. Legendary Pittsburgh eatery The Original Hot Dog Shop (better known as ‘The O’) is apparently closing its doors for good.
The rumor of the Oakland restaurant’s closure started on social media on Saturday afternoon, when a now-deleted Facebook post mentioned that the owner “shut down after 60 years.” The post went on to describe that a team of volunteers helped to move 350 boxes of potatoes out of the restaurant’s cellar storage area to donate.
KDKA reports that “The Blessing Board” a non-profit organization that provides donated household furnishings to those in need at no cost, said that Bruce Simon, an owner of the restaurant, donated 35,000 pounds of potatoes and other food to give to Light of Life.
As unverified as this information is (and, to be clear, it is unverified right now), Pittsburghers started mourning on social media immediately, using the hashtag #RIPTheO.
According to the company’s history, the restaurant was founded in 1960 by Syd and Moe Simon “in the shadows of Forbes Field during the Pittsburgh Pirates’ unforgettable, 1960 World Series Champion season. It was thought, “where would a better place be than outside of a ballpark to open a hot dog and burger stand?”
Over the years, the restaurant gained a reputation as the place on Pitt’s campus for late-night eats. Known for their hot dogs, low prices, and massive servings of fries, the O has been featured on lots of national media, including the Food Network, PBS, People magazine and the New York Times.
A few years ago, Pittsburgh Magazine did a fantastic piece highlighting 8 things you may not know about the O (like that there were 200 fries in every small order). Read it… and weep.
We’ve also covered the Original Hot Dog Shop over the years, naming it a Beloved Classic Pittsburgh Restaurant, one of the Best Spots for Late-Night Munchies, and making it a stop on our Ultimate Pittsburgh Food Road Trip.