Tony Packos and The Mud Hens

Tony PackosTuesday night, I took in a couple of the local Toledo highlights: dinner at Tony Packos and a Toledo Mud Hen’s game.

Tony Packos, if you will recall, was the favorite eatery of M*A*S*H’s Corporal Max Klinger, who hailed from Toledo, just as actor Jamie Farr. Located across the river from downtown Toledo, it’s essentially a bar and hot dog dive that’s expanded into a nice family friendly restaurant (still with a small bar). The clientele there ranged in ages from the very young to the very old; there were bikers and people in suits. The staff was friendly; the service quick.

For an appetizer, we started with spicy, deep fried pickles—surprisingly tasty. I never thought of deep frying a pickle before. For the main course, I had what they called “Tony’s Feast”—a “Hungarian” dog with chili, onions and cheese, a bowl of chili and a cabbage roll. The hot dogs were spicier than the usual fare (not “hot”, just spicier), and the stuffed cabbage wonderful.

Tony Packos

The walls of Tony Packos are famous for their unusual decorations: autographed hot dog buns from celebrities of every stripe. The first bun apparently was signed by Burt Reynolds, and posted on the wall. It molded (naturally), and the restaurant switched to foam buns for future signers.

Tony Packos

Barack Obama, Joe Biden and the Clintons are near the door. Behind me were buns signed by Clint Black, Sindbad, Howie Mandel, Jeff Foxworthy, Dudley Moore and most of the members of REO Speedwagon.

Fifth Third Ballpark

Later, I took in a ball game in downtown Toledo at Fifth Third Park (after the oddly named “Fifth Third Bank). It’s a very nice minor league park—home to the Detroit Tiger’s AAA affiliate, the Toledo Mud Hens (also mentioned occasionally on M*A*S*H). The Hens won, on the strength of a 3-for-4 night by Tiger Brandon Inge, who had been sent to the minors to fix his swing.

Minor league ball has a lot of charm missing from its bigger brother. The seats are cheaper and closer, and the atmosphere much more friendly. There’s also a lot of fan-friendly craziness going on, with first baseline races on big bubble horses, t shirts being lauched into the decks with compressor guns and tons of giveaways.

It was a nice way to top off a day at the US Senior Open. Thanks to Destination Toledo for making the arrangements.

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