By Rachel Slavik, WCCO-TV

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.

Comments (23)
  1. RachelClaire says:

    This makes me SO sad! Porky’s has always had the best onion rings in town! And your strawberry shakes too! This lightrail project is bringing down lots of University Avenue! Next my favorite Asian restaurants will be closing. RIP, Porky’s. I’m 48 and have gone to Porky’s (at first, the one in Mpls) since I was a kid. So sad.

    1. nicole says:

      Why are you blaming lightrail? They would have made money hand over fist bringing all the people in. The people that bought it is the old home next door. The owner sold it because he got a great deal from them and wants to spend all of his time at his other restaurant in MPLS.

      1. Chris Van Meter says:

        The Minneapolis restaurant closed last year. No need to diss the guy; it will be upheaval in the area until the LRT is finished. And if you don’t believe that, try driving through downtown StP right now. As for me, I’m off to the Dairyette!

        1. nicole says:

          The other important thing that people forget is that all of the business’ on University do get compensated during the construction!! The Dariette is not the same any more either.

          The light rail will bring a lot more business – he just saw a great way to get rid of the property and make a profit!! I wasn’t dissing – just don’t want people to blame it on the light rail when that is a lie!!

          By the way do your homework – his restaurant is open!!
          3118 W. Lake St., Mpls., 612-920-7777

          1. Melpa says:

            right on! I just went there last month. Stop blaming the lightrail. Sorry, but some of us are FOR infrastructure and less pollution.

  2. Top my burger with an onion ring says:


  3. Linda Arroyo says:

    Awwwww, it was a good long run Porky’s, mmmmm Onion Rings, be seeing you tomorrow…..

  4. menmymc says:

    My friends and I used to walk down to Porky’s for a bite and to check out the cars cruising University Avenue and in Porky’s parking lot during Car Craft Nationals in July. We always stayed at the Days Inn just down the road. Bummer, a decade old tradition for us going away. I’m gonna go assume the fetal position and sob myself to sleep. 😦

  5. Carol says:

    OH NO!!!!!! I was one of the things I was looking forward to moving back to MN. I still carry one of the beer openers on my key chain from there! Best wishes to you!

  6. Say it anin't so Joe says:

    This is terrible news 😦

    Porky’s was one of the few exceptionally happy iconic items of nostalgia left in the Twin Cities. I shall miss is dearly.

    What’s next? The last Drive-In Theater closing too?

  7. John says:

    Was the food really that good? I didn’t think so.
    By the way, there was a Porky’s on Central Avenue that opened and closed very quickly. Why did that happen?

  8. Victim Du Jour says:

    If they hung in there they will be right next to a rail system to the Twins Stadium.

    In away, they are giving their property to elderly. Which seems nice. I am sure it will be a good location for seniors.

    Perhaps the new property owners can find a way to preserve the sign. It does make you think about what University Ave was like during the 50’s, and makes you stop and notice the other buildings on that street.

  9. Kelly Flannigan says:

    Porky’s is a Saint Paul landmark & a part of childhood for many individuals & families. Being the daughter of a MSRA member for most of my life Porkys helped me bond with my father & appreciate not only classic cars but an original diner that was timeless. The Saint Paul neighborhood is constantly changing & were loosing so much of what we grew up with. It will be a sad bittersweet farewell to the great drive in diner on the Avenue. ; )

  10. MOPARGIRL says:


  11. pam rowland says:

    worked at the west lake drive in many years ago….Nora was an amazing woman who taught me a ton….still in the food service industry….

  12. markw says:

    Porky’s and nearly 500 other local twin cities establishments closed in the last couple years……hmmm I wonder if it’s just a coincidence or something more? Perhaps a new over-regulatory law that negatively affects the hospitality industry?

  13. Robert Bump says:

    I am really sad that Porky’s is being torn down. It is a historic landmarm and if the dingdongs in 54 would not have replaced the trolley cars with the stupid buses, we would not be gooing through this now. We had the greatest trolley system in the country. You could go all the way from Minnetonka to Stillwater and to the State Fair Grounds. So Sad,

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