PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Pittsburgh has lost one of its most colorful restaurant owners.
Lou Grippo, owner of the Original Oyster House in Market Square, has died.
The Original Oyster House is Pittsburgh’s oldest bar and restaurant. It was already 100 years old when Lou Grippo bought it, 47 years ago.
Jennifer Grippos’s father passed away May 25. But the Duquesne grad and general manager promises to keep his tradition alive.
“I grew up in this business, and I shared a lot of beautiful memories here, and I’m very lucky to have my dad as a mentor, and I learned a lot from him,” she said.
Recipes date back to the late 1800s, when the restaurant was founded. Jennifer’s father expanded the menu to suit a variety of seafood tastes and lure a loyal base of customers. Patrons never knew when they might rub shoulders with the rich and famous.
“There’s hundreds and hundreds of photos here,” his daughter says, gesturing to walls filled with photos. “He met a lot of people. He touched a lot of people. My dad was one of these people who made this environment one that everybody wants to come to. He loved everybody. He treated everyone like family.”
But things got off to a rocky start, in his younger days. As a precocious teenager, Lou Grippo got thrown out of the Original many times, for a variety of reasons. One time he told the owner, Lou Americus, “Someday I’m going to come back and buy this place and fire you!”
Years later, he had a fish sandwich with the widow of the man he pledged to fire, after buying that very restaurant. As for the future, Jennifer Grippo says, “Serving Pittsburgh maybe another 147 years. We’ll see.”