Just off of the Ohio Turnpike in Toledo, OH, sits a legendary American eatery. For 90 years, Tony Packo’s has been serving up traditional homemade Hungarian dishes and one of the most famous and delicious hot dogs in the country.
Packo’s was already a favorite of the northwest Ohio rustbelt town in the 1970s when it became a pop-culture phenomenon thanks to it being mentioned in the hit television series, “M*A*S*H.” Corporal Max Klinger, played by Toledo native Jamie Farr, mentioned Packo’s and their hot dogs about a half dozen times throughout the show’s existence and it proved more than enough to get the word out to the rest of the country.
I finally had a chance to stop by Packo’s recently on my way home from a Midwestern road trip and decided that a special #OnTapEats “road trip” edition was in order.
THE Packo’s Hot Dog
I tried their original recipe, Hungarian-style sausage with everything on it: mustard, onions, cheese, and hot dog sauce. The hot dog is larger than your average hot dog, but I wasn’t complaining. It had a very nice mild flavor with a hint of garlic.
It’s milder compared to a Vienna Beef hot dog. However, don’t interpret “mild” for “lack of flavor.” There’s plenty of flavor in this hot dog. It has a natural casing, so you have that “snap” as you bite into it, which I love.
The hot dog sauce is essentially a deliciously thin chili sauce with no beans and a little bit of heat. To top things off, was a nice fresh bun that was just the right size for a larger dog and loads of toppings. The toppings stayed on the bun and not on your plate… for the most part.
Speaking of chili, I tried a cup of Packo’s homemade chili. The chili was made with ground beef and beans. It wasn’t too thin and definitely not too thick. In addition, it had just the right amount of heat to make this a nice side dish.
Packo’s menu doesn’t end with hot dogs. My wife tried and loved their cabbage role and pierogis. There are definitely plenty of dishes on the menu for all different tastes and appetites.
An Added “M*A*S*H” Bonus
While you’re there, you can check out all of the M*A*S*H memorabilia if that’s your thing and have your picture taken next to a life-size cutout of Klinger dressed in one of his immortalized dresses from the series.
So, the next time you’re taking a road trip to see the White Sox in Cleveland, make sure you bring your appetite and add a trip to Toledo to your itinerary and check out Tony Packo’s.
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