Squirrel Hill restaurant in Eat’n Park closes for good

PHOTO: GOOGLE

It the lights go out for another staple of the Squirrel Hill restaurant scene.

Eat’n Park has announced that it will permanently close its Murray Avenue location on January 24, making it the second restaurant in the neighborhood to close in recent weeks. Pamela’s dinner closed its original location on Murray Avenue in late December, citing pandemic-era shortages and the loss of several longtime employees – two of whom have died (no COVID), while others have retired.

The two diners, just a two-minute walk from each other, have been around for more than four decades.

“We are grateful to our team members for creating smiles for our friends and neighbors in the Squirrel Hill community over the past 45 years,” said Eat’n Park spokesperson Courtney Caprara, in a press release.

She added that restaurant staff will be offered continuous employment with the company and thanked the neighborhood for their years of patronage.

“To our guests from the Squirrel Hill community – whether you started your day with us, ended your evening with us, or visited anytime in between, we are grateful to you for choosing Eat’n Park,” said she declared.

No immediate reason has been given for the shutdown, but the announcement comes amid another wave of losses in the era of the pandemic. Since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, the city has lost The Original Hot Dog Shop, affectionately known as The O, in Oakland; Alexander’s Italian Bistro in Bloomfield; The Carlton restaurant in the city center; NOLA on the square in the city center; and many others, some of which had been around for decades and had managed to stay afloat despite other challenges.

After what the Homestead-based Eat’n Park group called the “tough decision” to close the Murray Avenue restaurant, there will remain 10 Eat’n Park locations dotted around the city and its suburbs. There are 50 throughout the Commonwealth, with some outposts in Ohio and West Virginia, too much.

The first Eat’n Park open on Saw Mill Run Boulevard in the summer of 1949. True to its name, carhops came to serve guests directly in their parked cars – a concept that was new to the region at the time. It wasn’t until a few years later that Eat’n Park opened its first dining hall in 1955, although it would still offer carhop service for another 16 years.

The Murray Avenue location opened in the mid-1970s, but the doors will close permanently at 5 p.m. on January 24.


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