Silver Star Meats in the News
Thursday, October 13, 2005
In every city there are always at least a
couple of places that are quintessentially of that region.
For Pittsburgh, Primanti Brothers, Jo
Jo’s and DeLuca’s come to mind, but nothing comes close to
Essie’s Original Hot Dog Shop.
It opened down the street from Forbes
Field just before the 1960 World Series that Bill Mazeroski
won with that famous home run.
You know the place is successful when bus
drivers announce the stop at the corner of Forbes Avenue and
Bouquet Street as “The Dirty 0,” a moniker used by both
students and cops. Mostly, though, it is just called “The 0.”
It’s the type of place that has the
distinction of needing what it calls a 10 percent “security
surcharge” on all its products after midnight Sundays through
Thursdays and after 10 on Friday and Saturday nights. Many a
police call has originated from The O and the four corners of
the intersection at which it sits.
When of the University of Pittsburgh or
Carnegie Mellon graduates who have long since moved away find
out that Munch is a resident of Pittsburgh, they ask, “Is the
O still there?” It’s as if they can’t imagine a place such as
Essie’s Original Hot Dog Shop could survive their graduation.
There are reasons for that. The 0 is
truly an original.
Entering The 0, you are met by video
games on the left and a counter from which hot dogs are served
on the right: head straight back for hoagies; back and to the
right for burgers. Fries are available at every counter.
Munch and Dear One of Munch (DOOM) met
last Saturday at The 0. It was sort of a sad day in Oakland;
in addition to the drizzle, Pitt was playing football that
afternoon and now that the games have moved to Heinz Field,
the excitement that used to accompany a Pitt game in Oakland
There were no crowds, lots of parking,
and we got a table for ourselves and the Munchkins right
downstairs without any problem.
The Munchkins, 2 and 4 years old, had
never been to The 0. (Imagine living in Pittsburgh for coming
on five years without hitting The 0.) Munch figures they are
among the very few first-time visitors to hit the place sober.
Munch ordered three dogs: plain f the
2-year-old; one with ketchup and mustard for the 4-year-old;
and a third with ketchup, mustard and onions for Munch ($2.99
each). DOOM, who is not much for red meat, or even the other
white meat, ordered half a turkey hoagie, with everything, on
a toasted roll ($6). It was great, but hoagies take a
supporting role to the star of The 0, the hot dog.
Oh my. That hot dog was wonderful. The
0’s Web site says the dogs are made by
Silver Star Meats and
from a secret recipe. They were grilled to a perfection that
included some blackened spots on the casing, which has a
terrific snap when it’s bitten.
DOOM also picked up a medium order of
fries ($3.99), which is billed as enough to feed two to three
people. Munch is either afraid to meet those two or three
people who eat that much or wants to get a cut of their future
cardiologist’s bills. The four of us barely made a dent, even
though the fries, which are deep-fried twice in peanut oil,
were crispy and just really good.
So sure, it may not be the cleanest place
in the world (the bathroom was apparently last cleaned during
the 1960 World Series). But unlike Mazeroski, those dogs at
The 0 continue to hit home runs every day of the week.
Essie’s Original. Hot Dog
Forbes Ave., Oakland, PA
By Linda Wilson Fuoco
Thursday, August 18, 2005
They were off and running, their short legs
pumping furiously as they raced to the finish line. Well, most
of them raced toward the finish line. Two of the contestants
turned around midrace and ran back to the starting line. One
never budged from the starting line. One didn't want to leave
its owner to line up for the race.
One little guy showed early signs of being a
contender. He ran really, really fast, but he ran in circles.
Unfortunately for him, this race, start to finish, was run in
a straight line.
It was the first-ever Wiener 100 at the
Kennywood Park. The race featured wiener dogs, properly called
dachshunds, racing 100 feet.
"It was hysterical," Kennywood spokeswoman
Mary Lou Rosemeyer said. "We're definitely going to do it
The Wiener 100 was held in conjunction with
the third annual Silver Star Meats/Kennywood Entertainment Hot
Dog Eating Competition on Aug. 5. The eating contest was held
at all three Kennywood parks -- Kennywood, Sandcastle and
Idlewild & Soak Zone. The dachshunds were only at Kennywood in
The winning wiener was a 5-year-old red
smooth-coated dog named Pork Chop Baron of Frankfurter. Owners
Jerry and Judi Erno, of Sewickley, call him Porky. Weighing in
at 16 pounds, Porky was the biggest dachshund in the field.
The others were miniatures, weighing six to 10 pounds.
The Ernos say Porky is a "tweenie," weighing
in between the minis and the standards.
Miniature dachshunds weigh less than 12 pounds
and standard dachshunds weigh 16 to 32 pounds, according to
the breed standards set by the American Kennel Club.
When Porky was led away from Erno in the
prerace parade, he wasn't too happy about it. But when the
race started, Erno said the magic word, cheese, and Porky came
running for his reward. His second-favorite food, she said, is
The eight contestants ran on a special track
designed by John Rodger, Kennywood entertainment promotion
director. Rosemary Overly, an artist at Idlewild, made little
jackets with racing numbers.
"The jackets were just adorable," Rosemeyer
said, but were too big, and would have dragged on the ground
beneath the bellies of the very low-slung mini dachshunds.
They would have probably fit standard dachshunds.
The Wiener 100 contestants actually know each
other because they have monthly play dates with their owners,
who have formed a group called the Pittsburgh Dachshund Meet
Up Group. They met on the Internet site
dachshund.meetup.com/37. There are 49
members, and most months, about 20 dachshunds and people show
up for the play dates, which have generally been held in Frick
Park in Pittsburgh. Future play dates might be held in other
Porky has huge birthday bashes that are served
by a professional caterer, who happens to be Judi Erno.
Porky's fifth birthday party June 25 was
attended by "a couple hundred people," Erno said, and at least
50 dogs. Porky and some of his best four-legged friends
arrived at War Memorial Park in Sewickley in a stretch
The Ernos asked guests not to bring presents
for Porky. Instead, they suggested that donations be made to
Animal Friends. Porky's birthday guests donated $2,400
earmarked for construction of the new Animal Friends shelter
and resource center in Ohio Township.
A low-cost rabies
vaccination clinic will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday
at the Forest Hills Fire Department, Ardmore Boulevard. The
cost is $8 for each dog and cat older than 3 months. All dogs
must be on leashes and all cats in carriers.
For further information, go to
www.animal-friends.org or call the
shelter at 412-566-2103.
(Linda Wilson Fuoco can
be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-3064.)
Read about Silver Star Meats in this article which appeared in
Food Engineering magazine in October, 2004.