Take A Trip Dahn Memory Lane With A Hills Snack Bar-Themed Food Truck

An Aliquippa man will launch the vehicle this spring — and Eat’n Park and Giant Eagle are getting into nostalgia, too!


‘Tis the season of nostalgia! For Pittsburghers of a certain age, the mere mention of Hills Department Store’s snack bar is tantamount to jumping in a time machine, n’at. 

I took an unexpected trip dahn memory lane when I tuned to the news and saw that a local man is launching a Hills snack bar-themed food truck this spring.

According to the report on KDKA-TV, Jason Powell of Aliquippa will idle his ride outside of former Hills locations throughout the region, doling out treats like a yinzer Willy Wonka. 

Consuming Slush Puppies, soft pretzels, popcorn and hot dogs in a parking lot will take me back in time faster than a DeLorean! (On that note, if you’re looking for a sentimental dining experience sooner, Back to the Foodture’s new Uptown spot opens Jan. 2.)

While shopping at Community Thrift Center in Ross Township, I spied an original Hills Department Store buggy! I should’ve just bought the dang thing along with all the Christmas toys and used clothes purchased that day. 

I received more Pittsburgh food memories at work when I received a package from Eat’n Park. Inside was “The Story Behind the Smile,’ a book that traces the company’s evolution from a single carhop spot to a hospitality group that also includes Parkhurst Dining, Hello Bistro, The Porch and SmileyCookie.com.

The tome, written by Lynn McMahon, is available for $27.95 at all Eat’n Park restaurants and online.  


It’s filled with photographs and behind-the-scenes stories from current and former team members. Learn the secrets behind the business’s famous strawberry pie and how company Chairman Jim Broadhurt’s favorite, feel-good dessert turned into the Smiley Cookie, an edible Pittsburgh icon. 

In the spirit of giving, Eat’n Park will donate a portion of book sale proceeds to the Free Care Fund at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. I’ll eat to that! (devours Smiley Cookie)

Even grocery shopping at Giant Eagle during the holidays is a blast from the past. 

The West Mifflin store near Kennywood Park has a pop display featuring Santa Claus in an old Log Jammer car.

The beloved log flume water ride closed after the 2017 season after more than 40 years of soggy service. Thankfully, someone had the presence of mind to preserve this piece of Pittsburgh history and surround it with Mountain Dew. 

Now, if only Giant Eagle would install retro snack bars in all of their supermarkets.

Categories: PGHeats