DD’s BBQ’s bright pink food truck, the Dirty Pig, has been a common sight at Oshkosh farm markets and community picnics for several years now. But late summer 2018 they opened in the former Ohio Street Station site at 815 Ohio Street. This spot had been a tavern for decades. There’s no parking on Ninth or Ohio, but there is a small parking of sorts on the corner of Ohio and 8thand also behind the tavern and a couple of stores clustered there. That’s where Gary parked the white van on September 12, our second beer trail stop. But rather than enter via the back door, we walked around to the front door on Ohio. I crossed the street in order to get some pics of that place.
Since we were there for supper as well as beer, we took a table for six in the dining room. It is the front room of the tavern. It has seven tables with red and white-checkered vinyl tablecloths. A big photo, 6 feet by 3 feet of the Dirty Pig food truck hangs on one wall. The truck looks like it was once a yellow school bus.
Also seated in the dining room was a large party of the Red Hat Ladies. One of them is a bobber friend of mine at the 20thStreet Y. I snapped their pic. The next day in the Y pool I asked her if she was familiar with the poem by Jenny Joseph that inspired the Red Hat Society. No, she didn’t, so I looked it up online. It’s called “Warning” and begins “When I am an old woman I shall wear purple with a red hat which doesn’t go and doesn’t suit me…”. You can find the complete poem online at poemhunter.com by typing in the title and Jenny Joseph. It was in the British Lit. Anthology I used when teaching at Lourdes. An assignment I used with it was to ask them to write their own “When I am old…”. Interesting to note that Josephs wrote the poem when she was 29.
Carrie, our waitress was at our table to take our orders. Not that we were surprised, but Judy forsook beer and had a brandy Manhattan. Elaine, Don, Marv and I had Bare Bones Amber Ale. Nice to see a local brewery’s beer in a local restaurant. Gary, our designated driver had water. We started out with baskets of appetizers, the very popular battered deep fried veggies. Of course our supper choices were all bar-be-que dishes from Marvin, Don and Judy’s BBQ ribs and chicken combo, Elaine and Gary had pulled pork sandwiches, as did I. There were three bar-be-que sauces on the table: hot, sweet, and mild. Marvin said he didn’t like strangers pulling his pork so he ordered ribs and chicken.
Since it was September, the new TV season was just beginning so we talked about that. We had watched “Magnum P.I.” which we thought had little in common with the original. Higgins is a woman, former MI6 agent. Don had watched “This Is Us” but no one else had. We own the DVD’s of the early Perry Mason shows and usually watch one of those rather than reruns or shows like Survivor. One of the good things about watching the old Perry Mason shows we don’t have to mute all the political ads. And, yes, we did talk about the upcoming election. All six of us are voting early. I started doing that when I was a poll worker and was never working at my polling place. Now it’s just easier, I guess.
After our meal we stopped at the bar for a chat with the bartender. He knew about our blog, as he had been the bartender at the Maple Pub when we visited that place. He also told us the D and D stand for David and Deb, the owners. We snapped a photo of two employees who raved about the place. The barroom is separate from the dining room. The bar itself is a large rectangle with the liquor arranged in racks in the center. Two TVs hang over this center space. There are ten taps including beers from two local brewers: the 5thWard and Bare Bones. Also Pabst on tap. Gotta tell my nephew about that. There are also four gaming machines, three tables and a smaller than regulation size pool table.
When we were at this bar back in 2010, Larry Spanbauer’s book Oshkosh Neighborhood Taverns and the People Who Ran Them, had not been published. All I knew was there had been a tavern on this corner run by a Nigl for ages. According to Spanbauer, Joseph Nigl opened a grocery store and tavern in this current building in 1884. The grocery store was in the part of the building that is now the dining room. I have learned that such combinations were popular back then. He ran this business until 1921. Mr. Nigl was also an alderman from the 6thward from 1905 to 1918 and president of Peoples Brewing Company. Mary, his wife, and Alois Kinatedor ran the tavern and grocery store from 1921 to 1936. The tavern’s name was Nigl’s Gemuthlichkeit Tavern. In 1936 John Seibold became the owner. He kept the name and moved the entrance to Ohio Street. I’m guessing that the grocery part had ceased to exist by this time. From 1943-1942 the owner was Claude Boushelle and the name was Claude’s Bar. In 1948 it was again a Nigl owned tavern. Francis “Punky” Nigl changed the name to Punky Nigl’s Bar. He also ran the Nigl’s tavern across the street that was called Nigl’s Chieftain. From 1972 to 1975 Alvin Nouse owned it and called it Al and Pat’s Bar. From 1978 to 1981 it was called O’Malley’s Pub and owned by William Rodhe and James McLaren. In 1982 through 2007 the owner was Gary Basler and the name changed to Ohio Street Station. That name stuck until DD’s BBQ took over, but there were two different owners. In 2007 to 2010 the owner was David Toss and in 2011 Janet Schneider.
Spanbauer’s book also includes a full-page picture of the place with a band standing at the entrance.
Now that summer has left us and the last outdoor farm market was October 27, I think we will have to wait until next spring and summer to see the Dirty Pig food truck again, but we can always stop in at DD’s BBQ Company for some pulled pork. Except for Marvin.