Tag Archives: pizza

Pappy’s Family Pub

It’s been a couple of years since I first posted about Pappy’s Family Pub, and with a few new discoveries since then, I think an update is warranted.

Pappy’s opened in 1976 in what is currently the Wells Fargo Bank on Route 1, directly across from Laurel Shopping Center.

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Shortly after the restaurant opened, the Laurel News Leader ran a feature on it, which included a couple of interior photos—including that memorable glass window where you could watch the pizza magic being made.

(Laurel News Leader, 1/15/76)

(Laurel News Leader, 1/15/76)

(Laurel News Leader, 1/15/76)

(Laurel News Leader, 1/15/76)

The full article appears below (click for full size).

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Local yearbooks included a few ads and photos, as well:

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(1976 Laurel High School Rambler; Laurel Historical Society archives)

(1976 Laurel High School Rambler; Laurel Historical Society archives)

While these pictures provide a rare and nostalgic interior view of the actual Laurel location, they still don’t completely do justice to the full Pappy’s experience—a sensory overload of delicious pizza aromas and colorful, old-timey fun.

What most people tend to recall at the first mention of Pappy’s are those styrofoam hats—which were worn by staff members and available for kids. After years of searching for one, I’ve finally tracked down a pair of the original hats! One of them will soon be at the Laurel Museum, as part of the ever-expanding Lost & Found Laurel exhibit. Hmm… They’re a bit smaller than I remember.

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I’ve also found one I didn’t realize ever existed—a cheaper, flat paper alternative. Apparently, these became the more cost-effective giveaways, while the employees continued to wear the real thing.

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And speaking of employees, Francesfoxvintage, a seller on etsy.com, actually has an original Pappy’s waitress uniform for sale—the likes of which probably hasn’t been seen since the 1970s ended. It provides an even better sense of the vivid red and black color palette that permeated Pappy’s.

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Pappy’s didn’t only serve pizza, of course; and now we’ve got the hot dog containers to prove it.

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A pair of matchbooks from Laurel’s Pappy’s, courtesy of Kevin Leonard:

Pappy's matchbooks from Kevin Leonard

Last, but not least, the crown jewel of plastic toy rings. Behold!

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As convenient as delivery has become with the likes of Domino’s, et al, there will always be something about a genuine old pizza restaurant experience that just can’t be topped. No pun intended.

 

 

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Pizza Friday: Pal Jack’s

One of the last great Laurel pizza joints closed in December 2010, when Pal Jack’s finally ceased operations. Long known by its easy-to-remember telephone number, (301) PAL-JACK, it was founded by Jack Delaney—original owner of that other great Laurel pizza joint, Delaney’s Irish Pub.

While ownership changed hands over the years, the name (and phone number) remained. The most noticeable difference in this 2010 carryout menu is probably the addition of “curry wraps”—a decidedly eastern fare that wasn’t offered during Pal Jack’s heyday.

 

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Pizza Friday: Delaney’s Irish Pub

This week’s Pizza Friday features arguably the greatest of them all—Delaney’s Irish Pub.

Delaney’s, of course, is a true Laurel legend; and while I’ve posted briefly about it in the past, there’s so much more to be said about its time at Montpelier Plaza, including its very untimely (and unfair) fiery demise—which we’ll save for a later date. But for now, just think of that wonderful, thin crust pizza. Suffice it to say, there hasn’t been another like it since.

Photo: Teresa Delaney Porrino (Facebook)

 

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Pizza Friday: Pizza Express

Everybody love Fridays (unless, of course, you have to work weekends).

And one of the best things about Fridays—while growing up as a productive member of the Prince George’s County Public Schools system—was that pizza was almost always served for lunch.

In fact, the pizza at Deerfield Run Elementary was surprisingly good, in my opinion. I don’t know if it was the pizza itself, the ovens, or a combination of both, but it never disappointed. The nearest I’ve come to replicating that Deerfield Run Friday pizza goodness is Ellio’s—the rectangular frozen pizza that, according to their website, remains the top selling frozen pizza in the Northeast. (So for all we know, Deerfield Run may have actually been serving Ellio’s).

Anyway, in honor of Pizza Fridays, I thought we’d start a recurring theme by taking a look back at Laurel’s lost pizza places. It’ll almost be like having a slice for lunch every Friday, albeit a slice of the past.

Today’s special comes to us from 1985, and includes free delivery!

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Laurel’s Pizzas Past: Pappy’s

I have to say, really good pizza was abundant in Laurel throughout the 1970s and 80s. Delaney’s/Irish Pub, Pal Jack’s, Village Inn… even Pizza Movers wasn’t bad. (And hey, they delivered!) We’ll explore each of them in time, but let’s start with one of the earliest departures—a place that countless kids who grew up in Laurel retained countless memories of birthday parties, balloons, styrofoam party hats, and yes… really good pizza. This was Pappy’s—alternately known as Pappy’s Family Pub.

Pappy’s was located directly across from the Laurel Shopping Center, in the building currently occupied as of this writing by a Wells Fargo bank. (Yawn).

As many have fondly recollected, an additional treat at Pappy’s was the fact that one actually had a very good view of whatever happened to be playing on the big screen at Wineland’s Drive-In theatre, which was situated literally just behind the restaurant. For a kid, particularly, getting a free peek at an outdoor movie playing on a massive screen from the cozy confines of a pizza parlor only added to the mystique.

And there were some unique features within those cozy confines, as you might recall. Some of our Facebook friends have pointed out their favorite memories—including the player piano, the unique kitchen window that allowed customers to watch the pizza-making magic, the balloons with “feet”, allowing them to stand on the tabletops, funhouse-style “fat and skinny” mirrors, and those styrofoam Pappy’s hats.

Believe it or not, there is a Pappy’s still in business in Johnstown, PA. And from what I can tell, it’s got quite a bit of that familiar charm that Laurel’s Pappy’s once had. Minus the drive-in movie screen, of course. But they do have the player piano, the pizza-viewing window, the funhouse mirrors, and some of that familiar signage:

Photo: Josh L. (Yelp.com) 

Photo: Josh L. (Yelp.com)

Photo: Josh L. (Yelp.com)

I’ve come across a few other Pappy’s artifacts from the Laurel location, including coupons and newspaper ads:

And while perusing another popular Laurel nostalgia Facebook group, I came across the following unique Pappy’s photos:

Photo: Bradley Frederick Holmes, via facebook.com/groups/147258845411/photos/

Pappy’s staffmembers (Photo: Bradley Frederick Holmes, via facebook.com/groups/147258845411/photos/)

Another great shot of Pappy’s staffmembers (Photo: Bradley Frederick Holmes, via facebook.com/groups/147258845411/photos/)

An original birthday mask from the Laurel Pappy’s! (Photo: Bruce Brandon, via facebook.com/groups/147258845411/photos/)

Pappy’s was indeed a fun and happy experience for nearly everyone who had the chance to enjoy it. It also benefited from a strategic location, being directly across from the Laurel Shopping Center exit. That’s my perception, at least—as I know from experience that I’d vehemently crave pizza as soon as my parents would reach that traffic signal. It’s probably safe to assume that the current Wells Fargo doesn’t possess that same enticing Pappy’s charm and mystique. But then again, could anything?

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Delaney’s Irish Pub

Anyone who had the pleasure of experiencing the legendary thin crust pizza at Delaney’s Irish Pub will surely never forget it. If I live to be 100, I already know it will always rank within the top 3 pizzas I’ve ever had.

Sadly, the Irish Pub (after just a few years under new management) burned to the ground in an apparent insurance scam arson in June 2003. It never reopened. So it’s with some irony that my one piece of Delaney’s memorabilia is an old book of matches.

There are at least a couple of Facebook fan pages worth checking out, where many former employees (and several hundred loyal customers) have reconnected. Hopefully someone saved the pizza recipe, and they’ll join forces soon to resurrect this landmark.

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