Pe Wee’s Lunch

We have learned that Ellwood City has been home to hundreds of different businesses through the years but few have left an impression like Pe’Wee’s Lunch on Lawrence Avenue. The menu is hanging at the Ellwood City Historical Society above one of the unique spinning metal stools that lined the counter.
No matter what time of day or night you were hungry, Pe Wee’s was open. You walk in and can not help but notice the assorted variety of clientele sitting on the stools at the counter and you just look for an empty seat. If there were no empty seats, you just stood behind someone and the cook would take your order. Everyone had their favorites they would order; my personal order was usually three “yappers” with everything (mustard, onion, & chili) and a chili cheese hash brown. Wow, just saying that took me back in time. Not a lot needs to be said about Pe Wee’s Lunch as it seems that it is still one of the most memorable places Ellwood City has ever seen.
I am sure that you have a personal memory of Pe Wee’s that you would like to share. Please leave your story below, or email me at

8 thoughts on “Pe Wee’s Lunch”

  1. Memories of Pe Wee’s are to numerous to write about, but my favorite was with my friend Tashe, again. We loved going to the movies. Sometimes we would go to the early show 5:30 or so, at either the Manos or Majestic. Then after that we would head to the other one for a later show.With a stop, in the middle, at Pe Wee’s for dogs and a bowl of chili, all washed down with, as so many remember, a cold glass of chocolate milk.
    I dream and wish Pe Wee’s along with other store fronts, in the wonderful past of Ellwood, were once again open for business. Yes, as the song by John Lennon says though, ” I know I’m a dreamer” but , as they say, you can take Pe Wee’s away from me, but you can’t take my dreams and wishes.
    I believe the first dogs I ate there were 15 cents and I saw them go to 90 or a buck the last time I sat at one of those stools.
    You know folks, if the people of Coney Island, and surrounding areas were told that Nathan’s was closing, it would have the same affect on them, as we experienced with the closing of Pe Wee’s. At least for this old guy.
    What a great place to spend part of my Friday afternoon thinking about and remembering eating at Pe Wee’s..!! Thanks Ben…!!!

  2. I agree with you Ernie. Still have not found any “dogs” out here that are better than
    Pe Wee’s dogs!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. I agree with you both I have been all over the USA and have never found anyplace to compare with Pe Wee’s I would love to go back in time to sit in the shop and have the best hot dogs around… but can always have the memories and almost taste them


    In 1953 I graduated from Lincoln High School, Mt. Mercy, now Carlow University, was my next stop. I received my degree in 1957, began working in Pittsburgh, and never left. Ellwood remained and still remains, the Garden Spot of Western PA., the Holy Grail, and Mecca. Pe’Wee’s, the hot dog shoppe run by two Greek sisters, Mena and Dewey Gelles, for over 50 years contributed to the mystique that is Ellwood City, Home of the Seamless Tube, by the way. Everyone worked at the mill, except my father who was the projectionist at the local Majestic Theatre, one of two movie houses in town, both now gone.
    The hot dogs were on the grill in front of a screened window, and the smell as one passed by was intoxicating. Mena, the ever present proprietor, was regal looking and well-coiffed while Dewey was very round, raucous, and salty tongued with hot dogs running from her waist to her elbow, waiting for their toppings. Guys called “Skunky”, “Tillie”, “Eyes and Ears” were seated on those red revolving stools at the long thin counter smoking, drinking coffee, and chatting. There was no room for tables. Pe’Wee’s stayed open very late. My father would return home from work after midnight with hot dogs. We (my mom, sister and I) would sit in bed, eat them, roll over and go to sleep!
    Any trip to Ellwood always involved stopping at Pe’Wee’s for a chili dog. Pe’Wees closed in 2003 the year of my fiftieth high school reunion. Mena and Dewey were deceased, but a friend and I took a trip to Pe’Wees’s for one last taste bud busting hot dog.

    1. lucretia, are you related to celeste? I knew her growing up. She hung aroung with cheryl spencer who lived next door to me. I would like to know where she is and how she is doing. Don Anderson

      1. Ah those Memories , I as I read these remarks can smell them hot dogs a cookin . I was in my youth when I ate my first one when Mom took me there while we went to the Majestic Theater. As I grew up this was the place to retrieve to. Friends and I used to go to the Ellport Skatting Rink on Friday night and afterword at 10 pm the rink would close.. Nest stop Pewees… Across the street just a little ways was a pool hall spent my Saturdays there and for lunch Pewees.. Ya just couldn’t get me out of there. All I can say it Thanks for the Best Memories of my childhood and teenage years … No one can replace you.. THANK YOU .

  5. I have been looking for the recipe to Pe Wee’s sauce. Sometime ago, perhaps in the ’60s, Mena gave a copy of the recipe to my mother (Mary Lynn Newell) but she misplaced it years ago. She thinks perhaps it was once published in the Ellwood City Ledger. If anyone has the recipe, please share it.

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