Tony Packos Restaurant

Tony Packos

A local eatery is a popular stop for many celebrities passing through town. Do some who have passed on return to drink in the atmosphere and savor the nightlife? Perhaps wayward souls stop to replenish themselves before continuing their journey.

Investigation Date:  January 11, 2014

Location: 1902 Front St. Toledo, Ohio


  • Don
  • Kelly
  • Al L.
  • Ray
  • Chad (Weston Paranormal)
  • Matt (Weston Paranormal)
  • Anthony (Weston Paranormal)
  • Tony (Weston Paranormal)


  • 8 camera DVR system
  • REM pods
  • audio recorders
  • KII meters
  • EMF meters

Camera Placement

  • gift shop
  • basement
  • bar area
  • dining room
Investigation Conditions
Temperature °F  Avg.  38  High  43   Low  33
Humidity  Avg.  92  Max  100  Min  79
Barometric Pressure  29.50 in.
Wind  13 mph SSW
Precipitation  .18 in.
Dew Point ºF  37
Geomagnetic Field  quiet
Solar X-Rays  active
Moon  Waxing gibbous  84% of full  Age 37%

History and Claims

Anyone who watched the classic TV show MASH has probably heard of Tony Packo’s Restaurant. Packo’s, mentioned frequently by the character “Klinger” , portrayed by Toledo’s own Jamie Farr,  has been a mainstay onthe East side since 1932. Two years into the Great Depression Tony Packo and his wife took out a $100 loan and opened a sandwich and ice cream shop. No beer or alcohol could be served in the establishment until 1933 when prohibition was repealed. While new to running a restaurant, Tony had learned a lot about the business by working for his brother John. Coincidentally, John’s restaurant was located on what is now Tony Packo’s parking lot.

Looking southeast on Consaul- John Packo's Cafe with front entrance, John Maroda's Bowling Alley, the office of Dr. Louis Marcus, a residence, and the Kroger Store on the corner
Looking southeast on Consaul St- John Packo’s Cafe with front entrance, John Maroda’s Bowling Alley, the office of Dr. Louis Marcus, a residence, and the Kroger Store on the corner

What put Tony on the map was his creation of the “Hungarian hot dog”. This menu item is basically a sausage with a spiced meaty chili sauce. Those from the old country say there is no such thing as a Hungarian hot dog. Nonetheless it became and continues to be a big hit. The sauce recipe is a closely guarded secret. Tony’s place was very popular with the neighborhood and in 1935 he purchased his own building which is still in operation at Front and Consaul streets. In 1962, Tony became seriously ill and his daughter Nancy Packo Horvath took control. Despite some internal disputes over the years the restaurant is still operated by members of the Packo family.

The cast of MASH visits Packos
The cast of MASH visits Packos

As previously mentioned, Tony Packo’s received world wide media attention after being mentioned in the highly popular television show “MASH”. Toledo’s own Jamie Farr portrayed Corporal Maxwell Klinger, a medical corpsman. The episode that helped put Packo’s on the map had Klinger talking to a news reporter about his hometown; “If you’re ever in Toledo, Ohio, on the Hungarian side of town, Tony Packo’s got the greatest Hungarian hot dogs. Thirty-five cents… “ This was the first of six shout outs to the local eatery. According to information on Wikipedia, “in one episode, the hospital unit ordered a batch of sausage casings from Packo’s to use in a blood-filtering machine (a crude artificial kidney). In another, a wounded soldier from Toledo sends Klinger a shipment of Packo’s hot dogs as a thank-you gift. Packo’s was also mentioned in the two-and-a-half hour final episode. The restaurant displays several M*A*S*H mementos on the premises.”

Anyone walking into the restaurant will see walls of signed hot dog buns adorning the walls. This tradition began in 1972 when actor Burt Reynolds stopped for dinner at the invitation of Tony’s daughter Nancy. Reynolds was the first celebrity to dine at the restaurant. He commemorated his visit by signing a bun. The tradition of celebrity “bun signing” continues to this day.  Hundreds of signed buns adorn the wall of the restaurant.


Claims at this location center around the basement and the gift shop areas. In the basement employees have heard odd sounds and footsteps. In addition to the eerie feeling of the basement some have experienced the feeling of a hand pressing on their back. Workers in the gift shop report arriving in the morning to find certain items in disarray. Shadow figures have been reported in the gift shop and the basement. Another figure has been spotted in the kitchen which is described as being the size of a dog.


This was one of two locations we were investigating on this evening. We focused on the Birmingham library for the first portion of the night. The Fringe team arrived around midnight for this investigation. We located our command center in the main dining room. For the investigation we split into two teams with one in the basement and the other taking the gift shop and dining area. In the basement, the team heard a soft high pitched sound several times. Further investigation determined that it could be explained; most likely a pipe or other machinery feeding into the basement. A REM pod stationed in the room activated for close to a minute, which is almost unheard of. This same pod activated several more times during the evening. On two separate occasions in the basement, agents reported seeing a dark shadow or mass. In the gift shop upstairs an agent reported that he may have seen a shadow as well. The team continued with EVP sessions and at 3:00 am Fringe Paranormal concluded its investigation.


Our investigation produced no EVPS. We can not explain the REM pod activity in the basement. We know that drained batteries were not to blame and we also know that walkie talkies were not in use at the time. The shadows seen in the basement and in the gift shop were not captured on video. While we can not discount these sightings we also can not categorize them as evidence. We must label the shadows as personal experiences as they were not captured on video or seen by more than one person at the same time. As the REM pod hits did not correspond to any of our EVP questions or requests we must also label them as personal experiences.


As mentioned above, our agents noted some interesting activity. Due to a lack of corroborating evidence we must classify these occurrences as personal experiences. This does not, however, diminish the significance of the events in question. We find it interesting that on more than one occasion different agents saw dark shadows. This location may merit more study in the future. Tony Packo’s Restaurant has a long and storied history in Toledo’s east side. We remain curious as to what stories may be discovered in future investigations.

Make a virtual visit to Tony Packo’s

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Check out the Birmingham Library investigation too!

Prepared for Fringe Paranormal by Don C

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