Porky's cooks up online auction for its stuff

  • Article by: Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 5, 2011 - 12:17 AM

Items holding sentiment from the drive-in's simpler past will be sold in a thoroughly modern manner.

Nostalgia-laden items from a 1950s-era drive-in diner are being auctioned off in the most modern of ways: online.

The 58-year-old Porky's restaurant served its last burger and onion rings before closing Sunday night. Patrons young and old jammed the University Avenue locale in St. Paul for a meal and a memory.

With construction of the Central Corridor light-rail line along University eating away at business, Porky's owner decided to sell to the neighboring senior housing facility.

An auction of its equipment and furnishings began Monday evening. That includes the smiling Porky's neon sign -- the always gleeful pig that has shone for decades as hot rods, low riders and drop-tops made the drive-in a must destination.

The Preservation Alliance of Minnesota, spearheading a nascent effort to save the red-and-white checkered building from being leveled, was poised to pounce once bidding began.

The group has started a fundraising campaign "with the hope of successfully bidding on the signs and other significant exterior elements of this historic drive-in restaurant," alliance field representative Erin Hanafin Berg said in an e-mail notice. "[The alliance] is concerned that the loss of the signs will significantly detract from the historic integrity of the property, which has been determined eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places."

The auction concludes Wednesday night. For details go to www.startribune.com/a290.

PAUL WALSH

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