At Parkit Market, Sitting Front Row for the Greenville St. Patrick's Day Parade

Categories: Events

ParkitMarket.jpg
When Frank and Ann Todora opened the Parkit Market 50 years ago at the corner of Greenville Avenue and University, it was mostly surrounded by pastures. Greenville was a small, two-lane road and what is now Central Expressway was even smaller. There was one lone power line running down Greenville, no stop lights to be seen and there weren't even parking lots.

Back in the day, this small mom-and-pop grocery store carried staples, and Todora ran a meat market in the back. When Tony Todora, son of the owners, enrolled at SMU just down the road, his fellow classmates often asked if his family store had kegs.

Since that time, Parkit Market has become one of the prime places in Dallas to get a keg, offering over 700 varieties, including local and special/limited releases from breweries around the world. This spreadsheet will make your head spin. And for St. Patrick's Day, they have a system to inject green dye into the keg so that all the beer pours green.

"In terms of business, St. Patrick's Day is times twenty of any other day of the year," Tony said. "Customers will be lined up outside the store at 8:00 a.m. when we open the store. Then we'll be rolling kegs out all day with a line of trucks outside re-supplying."

With the Greenville Parade running right in front of the store, along with plenty of pomp and circumstance, they'll have a DJ out front, coveted port-o-potties and a hotdog stand.

And there's an extra reason to celebrate this year: March 17 is original owner Ann Todora's 90th birthday. She's spending her big day parade-side, in the middle of it all. She's already got a hair appointment lined up, and you'll most likely find her serving hot dogs outside as she has in years past.

Parkit Market
A picture of a picture. Greenville and University circa 1947. Central Expwy is in blue halo at top right.
All of this almost didn't happen, though. If the St. Patrick's Day parade had been canceled, it obviously would have had a big impact on their little business. But then Mark Cuban pulled out a big badass slam-dunk and saved the day. Grateful and relieved, Tony sent Cuban an email.

"Basically, I wanted to drop him a note to thank him for saving the parade," Tony said. "As an entrepreneur, I'm sure he understands how important the parade is to a small business. I told him we have a keg of green beer for him with his name on it. What's funny is, he sent me back an email in 10 minutes. I was shocked. And he wrote, 'Tony, I know who you are. I used to buy my kegs from you back in the day.'"

The six children of the original owners all help run things now, and there's a certain essence to the store. The small deli in the back serves fresh home-style sandwiches, and for the size of the store, they have a very decent beer and wine collection. They have a liquor store next door if you're looking for something stronger.

It's a good place to hang out and watch the St. Patrick's Day parade, but be sure to track down Mrs. Todora and wish her a happy birthday. Then, take in the entire scene and try to imagine the area surrounded by pastures and wonder how we ever made do without parking lots, stoplights, Jack-in-the Box and Rusty Tacos.


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19 comments
ts
ts

It's too bad the owners didn't have a crystal ball to name it Kegerator back in the day.

twinwillow
twinwillow

Speaking of that part of Greenville Avenue from years ago, does anyone remember Vehon's Half Shell located where Baker's Ribs is today?Great Texas gulf oysters pre-red tides and oil spills.

GusMitchem
GusMitchem

What no one is going to mention the fantastic mix on that Coke fountain !

Kergo1 Spaceship
Kergo1 Spaceship

Bought many a keg at Owe PM.  Great place to view the GAP.

Guest
Guest

Great Story. I've been going there for years and never knew the history.

Clancey
Clancey

Friend who grew up in the Sicilian community of East Dallas (many of what you think of as Italians have family roots in Sicily)  used to laugh,  the Todoros,  the Generos (remember Al's?), etc.,   couldn't afford close-in property,  they had little truck farms way out on Greenville,  near the Lover's Lane.  

Clancey
Clancey

Down where the cycle shop is near PIM on Greenville a musical duo had a namesake club,  BOWLEY & WILSON.

The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission and the DPD Vice Squad raided them late night in the late 70's,  arrested them,  some customers.

Found names of a couple songs in an Observer article from 2007:

"Hits like “Oh Shit, Look At Them Tits!,” “Wouldn’t You Like To Be A Pecker, Too?” and “Oh, You’re Never Gonna Get Your Wish With An SMU Sorority Bitch.” (You can even download a new song from their site: "Put It Back In.") Of course their calling card diyty -- let’s just go with “Lucy” -- is too hot to handle even for Unfair Park."

Charge was they were talking dirty and singing songs with dirty lyrics to their customers.

I vaguely recall, Tony was the Landlord, TABC got onto him for leasing to people with feelthy mouths.

twinwillow
twinwillow

Kergs, you're probably not old enough to remember Al's. Jimmy's only became "hot" when Al died and the family sold their store property at the N/E corner of Greenville Avenue and Park Lane.As good as Jimmy's sausage is, it couldn't hold a candle to Al's sausage. I remember that little old man (not, Al) hauling about 50 pounds of meat out of the walk-in and making the sausage at the back counter.

To this day, I still miss Al's and, their fantastic sausage!

Clancey
Clancey

Sicilians ARE Italians;   Sicily was once its own country and  became part of Italy in 1860. It's not part of the mainland, but an island off the coast of Italy. Sicilians are a proud people who have a strong sense of identity.   And,  from my experiences as an Anglo,   some of the most honorable,  generous and kindest people I've ever known.  And no,  there never was a "Dallas Mob",  and Joe Campisi wasn't a Godfather. "Nobody would let Joe in their club,  he talked too damn much!"  as one Sicilian leader put it.

Most of those with roots in Texas came in through New Orleans,  as did Italians, in the late 1800's.

Lousy website,   the community Festival is this weekend:

http://www.dallassicilianfesti...

cp
cp

You're a troll.

twinwillow
twinwillow

Ok, as it seems you're deciding what we shouldn't say here, please do tell us what else we shouldn't discuss and, what the fuck we can discuss?

Kergo1 Spaceship
Kergo1 Spaceship

I've heard of Al's from the oldtimers...but sadly, never experienced the greatness. Kiddin' me, when we moved down here, we had limited options for real Italian...it nearly killed us!  Then everyone moved back east.  Cept The Kerg's.  Reasons why the NE sucks:

-The woman look like lumberjacks.-Too cold...sitting around in January with 5 feet of snow would make the Kerg's even crazier.-No BBQ or Mescin' food. -Too far away from Colorado.

pleasedon'tshockmymonkey
pleasedon'tshockmymonkey

I don't think this is the proper venue to be discussing which guy's sausage you like best.

Clancey
Clancey

  Observer did a story a decade or two ago on Sicilians who owned Greenville Avenue.  Back then a pair of  Dallas Sicilians could drive north from the Dr. Pepper plant past Lover's,  singing loudly THIS LAND IS MY LAND ... THIS LAND IS YOUR LAND ...

Almost every inch of the GAP Northern route was owned by hard working 'documented immigrants' who were too poor to afford land closer to Dallas.   You know what you call people like that?  Millionaires!

Kergo1 Spaceship
Kergo1 Spaceship

Kerg's family is Sicilian-thank you kind sir for the history lesson. I know all about Campisis's having been an associate of Davids. Anything to tell us about the island of Corsica (French), or maybe the mobs interest in 20 century Galveston (Balinese Room)?

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