Tony Packo's Cafe, located across the Maumee River from downtown Toledo Ohio, was founded in 1932. The simple cafe, in the city's Hungarian-American neighborhood, is known for its spicy hot dogs, chili, and strudel as well as the hundreds of autographed, plastic-encased hot dog buns that adorn the walls. It's a northwest Ohio tradition.
Tony Packo and his wife opened Tony Packo's Cafe in 1932 with $100 borrowed from relatives, in the heart of the depression. His friendly eatery, affordable prices, and Hungarian hot dogs were a hit from the very beginning. The restaurant is still owned and operated by the Packo family and now includes a mail-order food business and branch locations in downtown Toledo, the suburb of Sylvania, and in Findlay Ohio.
Toledoan Jamie Farr, who played the character Corporal Klinger on the TV series M*A*S*H, brought an unexpected worldwide popularity to Tony Packo's when he mentioned the cafe in a 1976 episode of the popular show.
Celebrities and the Hot Dog Buns:
The tradition of the autographed hot dog buns began in 1972 when actor, Burt Reynolds visited Tony Packos. Proprietor Nancy Packo asked for his signature and Reynolds chose to sign a hot dog bun ... and a tradition was born. Today, over 1000 plastic-encased buns adorn Tony Packo's walls -- with signatures from politicians, entertainers, sports stars, and more.
The food at Tony Packo's is simple, delicious, and true to the restaurant's Hungarian roots. The best-selling item is still the Hungarian hot dog, served with or without chili. There's also chicken paprikas, stuffed cabbage, a spicy sausage platter, and, of course, a big bowl of Packo's Hungarian chili. The family chili recipe is still a closely-guarded secret.
Other favorites include Packo's pickles and peppers, which can be ordered in a bowl or in a jar to take home, the melt-in-your mouth spaetzles (tiny dumplings), and the housemade apple or cherry strudel.
Other Tony Packo's Locations:
In addition to the Front Street location, Tony Packo's has branch restaurants in downtown Toledo, on Monroe Street in the Toledo suburb of Sylvania, and in the Andersen's stores in Maumee and Sylvania Ohio. There's also a branch in Findlay Ohio, about an hour south of Toledo. For branch hours and addresses, refer to the Packo's website
Tony Packo's Cafe
1902 Front St.
M-Th: 11am - 10pm, F-Sat: 11am to 11pm,
Sun: Noon - 9pm
(last updated 5-24-08)