Not Quite Organ Grinder Pizza, But As Close As It Gets

by Jonas
(Seattle, WA)

Organ Grinder in '73

Organ Grinder in '73

Organ Grinder in '73 Organ Grinder in late 70s-early 80s Solo chamber

For anyone wondering, Dennis Hedberg, owner of the Organ Grinder, collected rare sounds and sets of pipes for the Organ Grinder organ, which eventually grew to 51 ranks or sets of pipes.

For theatre organ buffs, these included a 32' Diaphone rank (installed in the front tower and painted in bright colors with pinstripes), a four-rank Vox Humana chorus (4'-8'-8' celeste-16' pitches), Musette and the thirteen-note tuned Tympani, which were the objects high on the wall that looked like old washtubs with drum beaters.

There was also an Organ Grinder in Denver, which lasted for far less time, having a 40-rank organ with a very unique console originally from the Portland/Paramount theatre aka The Schnitz.

A similar chain of three, Organ Stop in Arizona, now reduced to one restaurant in Mesa which is still open in a newer building, bought many of the parts from the Portland Organ Grinder when it closed.

The Vox Chorus, Musette, Diaphones (still painted in colors, installed in a glass tower) and Tympani, as well as just about every percussion and sound effect imaginable and a massive 78 ranks of pipes, making it the 2nd largest Wurlitzer ever put together, just below the Sanfilippo Wurlitzer near Chicago at 80 ranks.

The console is the same "French" style Organ Grinder had in its later years, but in a black finish, on a revolving lift. The decor is brighter than Organ Grinder was, without the cedar-paneled 70s charm, but I think it approximates the effect quite well.

All the effects mounted around the dining room, the horizontal trumpets on the back wall, and a system of ceiling fans driven by belts and pulleys add to the whole effect.

Jonas Nordwall, who recorded a number of LPs at Organ Grinder (a few of which are on Way Out Junk for download) recorded a CD at Organ Grinder as well.

The Organ Grinder will be missed. I only visited once, but here in Seattle we had the Pizza & Pipes chain which are also gone.

Attached are a few photos. One is the Organ Grinder in 1973 soon after opening, with its old three-manual gilded console that eventually went to Uncle Milt's Pizza in Vancouver, WA, also now closed.

Second photo is many years later, with the bigger four-manual French-style console. The walls have filled up with added percussions and effects. The tuned Tympani aren't installed yet, and still later the double disco ball would be replaced by the Denver location's Saturn-shaped disco ball.

Third is the solo chamber. Some of the pipe chambers had little disco balls in them. The flared brass pipes are Brass Saxophone (front) and Brass Trumpet (partway back), String pipes (on wall, far right) and Tibia Clausa (wooden pipes under the disco ball). The chambers were absolutely jammed with pipes!

Comments for Not Quite Organ Grinder Pizza, But As Close As It Gets

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Mar 17, 2013
Mesa Organ Pizza
by: Anonymous

That would be "Organ Stop Pizza" in Mesa.

Their recordings are often heard on ATOS Radio,
http://www.atos.org/radio/atos_radio-player.html

Aug 05, 2011
Location Of Organ Grinder Pizza in AZ
by: Dasnny

Im trying to find the location of Organ Grinder Pizza. I was told that there is one in Mesa, AZ. I need a phone number and address.

Contact me at tio_1970@yahoo.com. Please help!

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