Burt Reynolds starts "bun signing" tradition at Tony Packo's

Published: Sep. 7, 2018 at 5:44 PM EDT
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People who stop into Tony Packo's see one thing when they walk through the door: hundreds of hot dog buns, and not the ones you eat.

"I think it's unique. I think it's different. I think it's wonderful," Derrick Gavins from Westlake, Michigan said.

Politicians, athletes and actors have left their mark on the iconic restaurant. Most people have a favorite.

"The Burt Reynolds one," Gavins said. "I watched all his movies. I love him. I love muscle cars like him, he's an idol."

What most people may not know is that thanks to Reynolds, people like Gavins and his wife can enjoy the scenery.

"What's cool about it was the tradition started with that first one," Tony Packo Jr. said.

He says he remembers the day Reynolds stopped into the restaurant after a performance at the Stranahan Theatre. His career was full steam ahead, and his visit to the Glass City was right after he posed for Cosmopolitan Magazine.

"He was excited and I think the crowd came on strong after that," Packo said. "Especially the ladies."

Packo says he never though a simple autograph would turn into something that would become such a staple decades later.

"Somebody in the crowd, fortunately, said have him sign something," Packo told 13abc. "They said "why don't you have him sign a bun?" Great idea."

Now a piece of the legendary actor will always be in Toledo as a reminder of what he started and another piece of history on Packo's storied walls.

"We enjoyed it that night. He started a great tradition here and we've got over 4,000 buns now," Packo said.