ST. PAUL (WCCO) — An iconic St. Paul restaurant will close this weekend.
On Thursday, it wasn’t just the craving for a good meal that caused an impressive line at Porky’s, it was the news that the drive-in on University Avenue will close on Sunday.
“I wanted to make it here before they closed,” said customer Jia-yi Syed, who was a former employee of Porky’s.
Porky’s first opened its doors in 1953 and quickly became an icon. So, 58 years later, the decision to close was not an easy one.
A slowdown in business the last couple of years, combined with the new light rail project along University, ultimately made owner Tryg Truelson decide to sell the family business.
“As tough as the decision was, it was the right decision,” said Truelson. “You learn to move on, but it’s difficult because it’s obviously a big part of my life.”
Over the years, Porky’s has had an impact on the community. It’s employed many people who still live in the area.
“I worked the register. I did everything back there. It’s pretty much the same, too,” said Syed.
In the summer, it has been the weekend spot for classic car collectors.
“It’s a hangout everyone’s been doing it since forever. I’ve been doing it since I was 15. I’m 33 now,” said Lars Carlson, a Porky’s customer.
Most who live in the area have some type of tie to Porky’s.
“This was the first fast food restaurant on University Ave. This was it and we’ve been coming here ever since,” said Teri Jenson, a longtime Porky’s customer.
Episcopal homes, a senior housing provider, bought the property.
Truelson said he’s planning to hold an auction next week to sell some of the Porky’s memorabilia at the drive-in.