Holy Toledo! It’s Tony Packo’s!

Posted: May 9, 2017 in Food, Travel
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

In 1976, M*A*S*H’s Corporal Klinger says, “If you are ever in Toledo, Ohio, on the Hungarian side of town, Tony Packo’s got the greatest Hungarian hot dogs”, putting Tony Packo’s on the world map.   But the Toledo, Ohio icon actually had its beginnings back in 1932, when Tony and his wife Rose opened their sandwich and ice cream shop at the beginning of the Great Depression with a $100 family loan.

© janet m. webb 2017

The Hungarian-American Tony took a Hungarian sausage, Kolbasz, cut it in half so it was about the size of a hot dog, and the Hungarian hot dog was born.  Today the restaurant also serves, among other things: chili, chicken chili, chicken paprikas, American hot dogs, and my husband’s favorite, stuffed cabbage with a side of paprikas dumplings with gravy.

© janet m. webb 2017

Jamie Farr AKA Corporal Klinger

On our way back from Philadelphia, we took a short side trip off the interstate for a nostalgic meal, because Tony Packo’s is one of my husband’s favorite restaurants in Toledo. As I mentioned, he had the stuffed cabbage.  I had a sausage with sides of mac-and-cheese and cole slaw.  Everyone gets the homemade dill pickles.  SO good!  It doesn’t take much longer than a fast food restaurant but there’s no comparison in the quality of the food.

© janet m. webb 2017

Although being mentioned on M*A*S*H may have made Tony Packo’s famous, Burt Reynolds was the man who made TP’s famous for signed buns.  In 1972, Burt was appearing in a play in Toledo.  Tony’s daughter suggested he stop by for a meal.  After the meal, when asked for his autograph, Burt signed on a hot dog bun.  Today the restaurants are filled with plaques holding (foam) hot dog buns autographed by politicians, musicians, sports stars, actors and actresses, and more.  I didn’t see Burt’s buns, although I believe a number of people have or claim to have seen them.  🙂

© janet m. webb 2017

© janet m. webb 2017

These days, there are four locations (we ate at the original, naturally!) and you can shop the gift store or have ingredients shipped to you so you can enjoy TP’s even when you’re not near Toledo.  But if you’re ever nearby, take a detour and enjoy a meal.  After all, it’s not every day you can see autographed buns!  🙂



  1. I don’t believe I’ve ever been to Toledo, but this would definitely draw me in. Food looks delicious, and you’re right about it not being every day when you see autographed buns. 🙂

  2. joey says:

    Autographed buns, heh. Fun stuff!
    I ate there a long, long time ago. I was a vegetarian then, but I do remember it smelling wonderful and being a must-dine 🙂

  3. Dan Antion says:

    Until today, I thought Toledo was a city I could avoid without consequence. Everything’s different now. Thanks.

  4. HonieBriggs says:

    What a line up of famous buns! M.A.S.H. was one of my favorite TV shows growing up, I love that you shared this experience.

    • Thanks, Honie. It’s one of those places that you should stop and see just for the fun of it. Of course, you can tell people you saw lots of famous people’s buns. And they were autographed!!! 🙂


  5. Allan G. Smorra says:

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane, Janet. I haven’t been to Toledo, but I do enjoy Cleveland Ballpark mustard when I can get it.

  6. Joanne Sisco says:

    Even though I would eat sausage only under great duress and I haven’t had a hot dog since I was pregnant with #1 32 years ago, this post makes me want to go to Toledo to check out this place. I mean, if it’s been endorsed by Klinger, how could it possibly be wrong? 😉

  7. Su Leslie says:

    Gotta ask: what is the cabbage stuffed with?

  8. What a fun slice of history! I can’t imagine there would be much on the menu for me, but I’d still love to check this place out. 🙂

    • You’d enjoy seeing it, Hannah. The menu online isn’t as large as the one in the restaurant, but I imagine you’re right. The coleslaw was good, though. 🙂


  9. Miam! I think I want a sampler plate! 🙂

    • For some reason, this and three of your other comments, and one of Joanne’s, ended up in my spam folder. That explains my late response. And yes, they do have something similar to a sampler plate. 🙂


  10. marianallen says:

    Thanks for this post — I love iconic eateries. Tony Packo’s sounds like a place I’d enjoy.

    • It typifies the word “iconic”, Marian, and for anyone who ever watched a/o loved M*A*S*H, it’s a must if you’re eve close. Glad you enjoyed the post. 🙂


  11. […] our visit it Tony Packo’s in Toledo, Ohio, I took a quick shot of this bit of street art from the car while we were stopped […]

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