Ad says The “O” for sale

By MAC BOOKER

The Original Hot Dog Shop at Forbes Avenue and Bouquet Street is for sale, according to a… The Original Hot Dog Shop at Forbes Avenue and Bouquet Street is for sale, according to a classified ad in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

The owners, siblings Bruce Simon and Terry Campasano, declined to comment, but the asking price listed in the ad was $885,000.

The Original, known for enormous heaps of French fries, inexpensive pizzas and, of course, hot dogs, was opened by the parents of the current owners shortly before the 1960 World Series and has been owned by the family ever since.

The Simons do not, however, own the building, which is not for sale.

Marylin Sindler, one of the building’s owners, declined to discuss how the Simons’ lease would transfer to a new owner.

The Original’s name will not be included in the sale, according to the Post-Gazette ad, which was listed in the “Business Opportunities” section.

Rick Sebak, director of WQED’s Pittsburgh History Series, featured “The O” in his documentary “A Hot Dog Program.”

“I think it’s a wonderful local institution and I don’t want to see anything happen to it,” Sebak said. “They’ve made it such a landmark.”

Sebak has been eating “O” dogs since he started at WQED in 1987 and traveled across the United States trying hot dogs for “A Hot Dog Program.”

“It’s one of the finest anywhere,” he says of “The O.” “Great digs, wonderful atmosphere. I hope [new owners] continue to run it in the same fashion.”

Brian Gallagher, of Oakland Real Estate, said that they are not pursuing the property.

“We wouldn’t have any interest in that,” Gallagher said, when asked if they might consider purchasing “The O.” “It’s surprising news.”

John Fedele, a Pitt spokesman, would not comment on “specific properties,” but offered Pitt’s general philosophy regarding property in Oakland.

“The University is always interested in exploring any opportunity to improve campus life in the Forbes Avenue corridor,” he said.

He then reiterated that it is the business that is for sale, and not the building.

Hope for the future of “The O” persists.

“Maybe they’ll change their minds,” Sebak said. “Coca-Cola made New Coke and then went back on it.”

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