Gullifty's, the appropriately self-billed "unique eatery" in Squirrel Hill that for 31 years sated Pittsburgh's appetite, particularly its sweet tooth, closed its doors for the last time Thursday night.
From lunch time through the last supper, patrons bemoaned the closing of the Squirrel Hill landmark for which everyone seemed to have a special memory -- a date, a Steelers game, a family get-together -- and a favorite dessert -- a "Killer Kookie," "Chocolate Intemperance," or "Peanut Butter Truffle Pie," among others.
Joe Kiewra of Wexford got emotional remembering the good times his family shared in Gullifty's.
"This is the place we came when we moved to Pittsburgh in 1990," he said, choking up. "Every Easter, every birthday party, this was the place."
Shelley Katz Rudkin of Squirrel Hill said she's been coming to the eclectic eatery for 31 years.
"Another tradition bites the dust," she said. "Another part of Squirrel Hill is leaving."
She stopped in at lunch time to get a slice of banana creme pie and a lunch to go. But like other like-minded dessert aficionados she was disappointed -- the restaurant had been so packed Wednesday night, it had sold out of all of its signature desserts. She planned on returning about 4 p.m., the time owner Mark Hastie said he hoped the bakers would have desserts available.
Also expected to return later to buy dessert was Neal Zundel of Mt. Lebanon. He had made a special lunchtime trip from his workplace on the North Side to surprise his wife with one last chocolate "Bombe" for her and one "Ten Pound Apple Pie" for him.
The building is scheduled to be sold today to The Friendship Circle, a Jewish organization that pairs teen volunteers with special-needs children.
Mr. Hastie, who from its inception has run the landmark with his brother, Matt, said he expected to close the doors for good "about 10ish."
"We purchased as much food as we thought we could use. When the food's gone, that will be the closing party."
The closing saddened Lee and John Kikel of Hampton, who once or twice a month would eat at Gullifty's.
"We've been coming for over 25 years," said Mrs. Kikel, a Squirrel Hill native. "We had our rehearsal dinner here in May 1991. It's a staple. It's a wonderful restaurant with wonderful memories."
Mr. Hastie said kind comments from his customers "really validated what we tried to do. We really were embedded in the community and gave back as much as we could."
He had one last thing to give his customers -- hope that the unforgettable desserts won't be forgotten. They will continue on "in some way," he said, being cagey.
"You haven't seen the last of the desserts," he promised but was otherwise tight-lipped.
Michael A. Fuoco: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1968. First Published August 29, 2013 5:45 PM