Joe Chiodo died Sunday night. Those of you who have read my PA Breweries book know that Joe's bar in Homestead, Chiodo's Tavern, was one of my favorite in all the world. Joe was iconic, the barman who was always there (all 5 feet of him), always ready to talk, always quick with a smile -- actually, that's not quite true; if you were out of line, Joe had no room in his bar for you, and you went out, a firmness I admired more and more as I matured.
A guy named Jay Harper took me to Chiodo's my first time. Jay was another CMU grad student, a buddy I hung around with when I was living in Da Burgh while doing my History master's. He dragged me down to Homestead one night -- said there was this bar we had to go to. I have no idea how Harpo found it, he was like that; he talked me into going to see Jerry Garcia's band, another thing I'd have never done on my own, and another thing that's one of my best memories (so Jay, if you ever read this: thanks, man). We went down there and got caught up in a bachelorette party and some of Joe's good beer and fresh-cut fries, and Chiodo's became a part of my life.
I won't hash over the stuff that's in the obituary. I'll just say that Joe Chiodo had the kind of show-up-every-day responsibility and love of his business that makes a great bar. Chiodo's Tavern was a treasure, a place that was always comfortable, never unfamiliar, a place where I once sat with two Homestead guys and helped design a better mousetrap, a place where Uncle Jack had his first Edmund Fitz Porter, a place I always made time to visit when I was in Pittsburgh, a place I truly miss. I'm gonna miss Joe Chiodo.