Porky’s Closing: Serving Until There’s No More Food

By Reg Chapman, WCCO-TV

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — On Sunday night, Porky’s drive-in, a local icon on University Avenue where you can find a kitchen full of food and a parking lot full of classic cars, served its last burger.

All the things that made Porky’s a tradition since 1953 — the burgers, the fries, the onion rings — will soon be history.

“I guess it really hasn’t sunk in a lot,” said Tryg Truelson.

Truelson is one of five sons from the family that were the original owners of this St. Paul landmark.

He said selling the place was one of the hardest things he had to do but he feels it was the best thing for business.

“We had seen a decline in business in the last few years to a point where it’s not a viable business really financially,” said Truelson.

He said light rail construction added to his woes. He sold Porky’s to his neighbors, the Episcopal Homes.

It was a trip down memory lane for the hundreds who gathered on this last day to say goodbye.

“I got some of my finest memories with my dad coming to Porky’s as a kid, bringing us in his old cars,” said Harlan Borman.

No tears for those waiting 40 minutes to get their last taste of a Porky’s hamburger. Just smiles and thoughts of all the good times had on University Avenue.

Car enthusiasts will miss Porky’s the most.

“This is my ’59 Cadillac Coup de Ville, my dream car. Never thought I’d get it and I finally got it and when I do, Porky’s closes,” said Borman.

He has no idea where he will take his godson to see classic cars.

“I think it would have been cool to bring my kids down here sometimes in the future,” said his godson Adam.

Adam will never know what it like is to drive his uncle’s hot rod through the parking lot.

The push to save Porky’s by the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota may be too late. But it’s never too late to say thanks to a family for giving so much to so many for so long.

More from Reg Chapman
  • Patt colten

    Sad day for St Paul’s historic Porky’s

  • Tim

    This is what happens when Liberals run show..

    • Jeepneasy

      Thanks for the totally asinine and grammatically bush-league comment. The conservatives are running the show here in MN.

      Porky’s was a place for the WORKING man, not the gop corporate suit. It is truly a shame to lose this cultural icon. My Grandpa took my Dad there, my Dad took me, I took my Son. Thanks for all the memories.

      • Lonnie

        I went there and I am not a screaming liberal ass that needs the government to put him to bed at night….and wipe their ass……….

        • Zeke

          by your comment you simply are an ass.

          • Mike

            Go camping or something, I have a family and house to worry about Zeke.

      • Mike

        Should have went more. And thank you for making Tim look inteligent.

        • Chris m

          “Should have went more. And thank you for making Tim look inteligent.”

          You misspelled Intelligent. You must pe a republican!

          • St Paul

            You misspelled BE, you must be a liberal.

            Yes, this is the work of a liberal, its called Jesse Ventura and the light rail. The biggest loser ever voted in.

            • Zeke

              Jesse Ventura a liberal? LOL. If being liberal is anything not holding far right values. Light rail is not even bothering the street right now. Sorry your life is filled with such hate.

              • Mike

                Are you talking about the Somali Trolley? Give me a break.

                • Mike

                  Bycicles bother the streets right now, light rail domination will come though.

        • Lacking a brain he is

          Making Tim, aka you little Mike and all your other pseudo’s, to look and sound intelligent is an impossible task.
          Momma’s calling you to get your diaper changed Mikey…you leaving a mess behind you ;-)

    • Jason

      Ah yes the famous form of reasoning, blaming the political party that you don’t belong to. Maybe people should try taking some responsibility themselves for letting politicians walk all over the citizens.

    • Joey

      And what do the Liberals have anything to do with Porky’s closing? It was the era of G.W. Bush that put us all in this mess; Obama has had to pick up the pieces. Get the facts straight and keep your uneducated political tantrums for stories that concern the government and politics.

    • Quentin

      The conservatives saved their money and stayed home. No business for Porkys from them. The liberals went and ate, got heart disease and can no longer take care of themselves so there needs to be more assisted living. Lol. But really Tim, why be such a jerk hater? It is a story about an icon and you have to be the nickname for Richard and make it political

  • sam

    this is what happens when people abandon the city & move to the suburbs for their Chipotles & Buffets!

    • Thomas said adios long ago

      yep-but at least it was edible. Last few times we been there I swear they using same oil for years. Nasty smell and flavor. Burgers slipped too. Quit going on regular basis at least 3 years ago and others we know been saying the same thing. Shame as I enjoyed the feel of the place mostly…that to was changing except for the here-there crowds.
      It was time to go unfortunately

  • G

    Tim’s correct

    • Derrick

      I did not know the owner of Porky’s was a liberal. He sold the property for probably far more money than he could make as a drive in selling cheap food. Business owners stereotyped as Republican. Unless of course it is a green business. Green is what the customers were who couldn’t stand the grease. Tried it once.

  • Harlan Dorman

    that was me they interviewed in the 59 Cadillac :-) for the record, my name is Harlan DORMAN, not BULLMAN! and that kid was NOT my nephew/godson lol! I don’t even know him. my nephew/godson was the kid HOLDING MY HAND sitting IN THE CAR WITH MY lol! it’s cool though. that being said, it’s truly sad to see Porky’s go. it was a great summer tradition in STP, and my memories there will forever live on

    • Lonnie

      The news always LIES…….and distorts the truth…ALWAYS…dont believe them…

    • Renee

      Downtown North St. Paul has a car show every Friday night in the summer. It is always a good time.

    • greg

      reporters can’t seem to get very much right these days

  • ozzy


    • dphilips

      what a hillbilly

      • Ow

        @ dphilips, what a jerk

  • Tom Olson

    Why did all these people go to Porkys at the last few days, why did they not patronize the place earlier in the year. I’m sure there will be other business’s that close, due to the light rail construction.

  • Mike

    Too many liberals and cheapskates around. If you liked it so much, you would have bought enough merchandise to support it’s business.

  • Mike

    I would go there, on lunch break from my warehouse job a couple times a week, and spend 5- 10 dollars each visit for myself, not including friends I went for. What about you liberals who always seem to cry from afar?

    • Quentin

      It is not a liberal versus conservative thing. It was a place that sold food. Not enough people bought the food. Hateful people have to blame a class of people.It is no one groups fault the land was more valuable to the assisted living people than the owner could make as a profit.

    • Cosmic

      How does being a liberal or conservative make a difference in how someone spends money eating out? One would logically assume that being “conservative” would lend to saving money and therefore not eating out. But we both know that this isn’t always the case. So I ask why do you assume it is the case for liberals simply because they are liberal?

      • Mike

        You penny pinch, go to ALDI and watch the lefties some day. IF YOU LIKE IT SO MUCH, GO THERE AND BUY FOOD, BASIC ECONOMICS.

    • dphilips

      I bet being Republican has really helped you advance in your warehouse job

      • st paul

        Yeah, it helps me to drive a new Infiniti…. how’s that for ya liberal?

        Not to leave out that I have 2 houses… what have you?

        Status isn’t everything, seems lots of liberals like to gloat.
        Kind of like my buddy who is a lib, and bought a house he is stressing out paying more than 1 paycheck for. Called living beyond expectations.. Sucks he lost about 40K in the value too….

        Thats what happens when you are a liberal.

        • Funtime in STP

          st paul does have 2 houses, both in foreclosure of course but hey…..nothing like grabbing the money pot and being a hypocrite eh!,
          I know his Infiniti is leased and he’s 2 months behind and the repo man is a lookin’ but …. he’s st paul man. He’s big and bad at 5’5″ and 313# so be careful around him. We call him ‘el stencho at home. ;-)

      • Mike

        Yes it has, I am a Geoligist graduate from UMD, thank you for asking.

    • Chris m

      “What about you liberals who always seem to cry from afar?”

      It’s mike , the man who can’t spell intelligent correctly while bemoaning the intelligence of others!

  • Mike

    I can see it now, you are going to want the government to step and recue it so that you can all look at it and point as you ride your Volkswagons and bicycles by.

    • Chris m

      Look, mike is a moron!

      • Mike

        What does the M. stand for?

    • st paul

      Mike it’s ok – just remember the liberals like all the chipotle’s and hiring of all the illegal mexican immigrants working at them… oops- they already started their deportations..

      Well, so much for change.

      • Hey there numbskull

        Hmmmmmmm – I’m a HTG conservative and couldn’t stand the food at Porky’s to be frank.
        Dug the building and vibe when the rides would show up but gads alive – you need quality food to make it. It wasn’t there. Sorry

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  • pat

    why couldnt the owners sell the restaurant to someone else who would have kept it porkys and let the tradition continue

  • Blake

    kinda sad when state construction causes business to close happens so any times with family places like this

    • Gomer'sPile in St. Paul

      Sadly it was alot more than simply light rail – business has been so spotty for years there it’s a surprise they hung in there this long. Take a peek at the building – but does it give you the feeling of success….nope.
      I loved the atmosphere on some nights – fun and 50-60’s feel.
      He had an opportunity to make some easy and quick cash and he elected to vs running a struggling business. I’d have done the same thing.
      If this was a viable and salvagable business _intact as it was_many would have bought it. Tough economy, spotty business, and a lot of money tossed at them — SELL. Smart move.
      Nothing to do with rail other than use as justification and avoid bad feelings. Wake up and get smart people

      • Mike

        I care not about light rail, at all. I moved to a nicer place. I just hate how liberals take businesses and property and treat them like it is their heritage, or birth right. Lefties cause the economic declines in this state. And they spend NOTHING on our economy! Smarten youselves on that.

  • Ryan

    Why is it that those who blame the light-rail skim over the part where business was slipping anyway?

    • st paul

      The problem is, the light rail is going to cause bad traffic.

      It should have been elevated from the start – much similar to Seattle.

      • Peter

        People stayed away years in advance because of light rail?. If your bad idea was a rubber bad it is stretched so far it could put Porkys into orbit with the space station when you let it go

      • kim

        And you don’t think that construction of an elevated line would disrupt anything?!?

  • Tom

    Good by porky’s hellp malt shop.

  • mark from mntaxwaste.com

    Ray, Nora, and Tryg, were part of my life for years. I understand how hard this must have been for him. Nothing but the best for you goose!

  • Earthman2020

    Porky’s probably got more business its last day than it did the entire previous month. It’s completely up to the new owner what will become of this place. The government doesn’t need to get involved with saving Porky’s. If a private institution, with no help from the taxpayer’s money, wants to save Porkey’s and do something with it, then that’s their business. Really though, the drive-ins are a dying breed, especially here in MN with the long winters. Summer nights and hot cars have always been a great tradition, unfortunately we just don’t get enough summer here.

    • Gramps is sad

      ain’t that the truth !
      Another institution and dang near a lifestyle says goodbye – pretty sad that things and people have changed so much. Minnetonka had the old Snuffy’s, the old Wagners had a following and never foget the true old fashioned (not the tendy ones here yet) A&W’s even. Heck – Hopkins had a rod run called Jay’s thatsome may remeber too.
      I raced and ran street rods from the 1950’s thru the 70’s. Lots of fun spots to grab a burger and cruise to. Of course gas was around a dime too. ;-)
      Imagine todays folks, carrying their i-phones and netbooks might not find much enjoyment in actually having to talk face to face with someone. Can they converse that way I sometimes wonder ???? lol

  • Kool aid for all today kiddies?

    Man o Man – what a bunch of babbling idiots a forum can have. Sadder than the place closing – maybe this mentality is why these places don’t make it. People get to goofy in their heads typing bullchit and venom and don’t go out of their play areas.
    Politics has nothing to do with a damn thing here and we all know it. You kids can take your nonsense out to the playground at recess.
    Bad business model that didn’t evolve, for better or worse, with the “new era”. BTW – the “new era” is mostly immature so-called adults, young and old, who have nothing better to do than play the name and political bashing game on a forum. Your intelligence is apparent, your views flawed, and you likely are very socially challenged to say the least. Little kids at heart – mean spirited and nasty little kids. You make me sick

    • Mike

      What is your name then? Why do you hide coward?

  • Jon C

    Herlan Dorman not borman.
    That’s my Homie right there pimpin his catty!

  • Jon C

    Harlan Dorman not borman.
    That’s my Homie right there pimpin his catty!

  • Arthur

    For God’s sake, is there nothing more newsworthy than this??? It has been the lead on the web site for over a day now–move on you hacks! Isnt there a lost dog or something you could feature???

    • Thomas D

      Where is el’ skanko, our very own Michelle Bachmann, aka the Skankette ???
      She could wipe this story off the map with her bullchit and mis-quotes. Oh Skanetto — come on home to the TC area. We need your quotes ….. “I think I am a true American. My family as always been American” huh? You Native American skanky? Huh?

      • Mike

        You need an ass whoopin’

  • ozzie wagner

    Will miss just driving through even if I didn’t stop 100% of the time. I’m glad Nora sent me a “T” so I can look at it and so can everyone else.
    THEOZMAN–Austin TX

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