The Tic-Toc Restaurant (1955-2015)
Tic Toc Corner, or the Tic Toc Snack Bar, opened in 1955 as part of Kaufmann's grand $10,000,000 store expansion. Originally located on the 13th Floor, the eatery moved to the first floor the next year and was renamed the Tic Toc Restaurant. The name paid homage to the famous Kaufmann's Clock, the image of which decorated the tables, menus and window.
Tucked away in the corner of the main floor behind the men's clothing department, with a variety of decorative clocks adorning the walls, the restaurant was only open for breakfast and lunch, Monday through Saturday from eleven until three o'clock in the afternoon. Despite these short hours, the restaurant became one of the most popular restaurants in Pittsburgh.
Midmorning, visitors came for homemade muffins, butterscotch rolls, German apple bread, blueberry pancakes or steamy pecan waffles, all prepared at Kaufmann's Arcadia Bakery. By lunchtime, a blackboard was set up outside the dining room listing all the day's specialties, mostly fancy desserts, the most well-known of which was the Mile High Ice Cream Pie.
Also known for it's mouth-watering burgers, "Taste of America" reader Patty Rowe of Riverside, California, said, "I have tried, sampled and enjoyed hamburgers all over the country ... the best I ever tasted was the Tic Toc in Kaufmann's, in America's No. 1 city, Pittsburgh."
The Orlando Sentinel, on February 25, 1988, had this to say about the restaurant - "this Tic Tic burger is a dandy, charbroiled to a glistening crusty crunch on the outside, yet thick enough to still be moist and rose-pink in its center, served inside a big homemade bun. Excellent hamburgers are not the only thing the Tic Toc has to offer. In fact, the oozingly drippy, two-fisted burgers are a bit of an oddity on the otherwise ladylike menu of soups and salads, dainty cream-sauced dishes of chicken and turkey, and fluffy cakes and chiffon pies."
In 2012, Norm Domek, executive chef, had this to say, "Itís is a place for shoppers to stop as well as people Downtown to come in and have a meal. There are people who come to town just to dine here. There is a group whose members did not know each other, but met at the Tic Toc and now come back on a regular basis. Itís an extremely popular spot during the holidays, too."
The Tic Toc Restaurant became a part of Macy's in 2006 when Kaufmann's closed. It remained open for another nine years, until on July 31, 2015 when Macy's closed it's doors. The city of Pittsburgh negotiated for the rights to the name "Tic Toc Restaurant."
For many of us, there was definitely something very charming and comforting about having lunch with a friend in a the Big Store. "Meet Me Under The Kaufmann's Clock" is a phrase that has become part of Pittsburgh history. For sixty years, from 1955 to 2015, generations of Pittsburghers surely met under that iconic clock for a trip to the famous Tic Toc Restaurant.
The last vestiges of the Tic Toc Restaurant can be found at the Heinz History Center. Over 100 historically important items from Kaufmann's can be found on display, including such familiar Tic Toc relics as two table and chairs, some of the clocks from the walls, and one of the final menus. Another historical item is a rare recipe book that features many of the Tic Toc favorites, including the desserts.
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