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Organ Grinder Restaurant - 4/51 Wurlitzer
Portland, Oregon
5015 S.E. 82nd
Organ installation timeframe: 1973 - 1996
 
Back to the Northwest Theatre Organ History: Pizza & Pipes Restaurants page

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Organ Grinder 4 manual console controlling 51 ranks
 
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The Organ Grinder opened on August 26, 1973 and was considered by many to be the "grand-daddy" of all theatre organ equipped pizza parlors. The Portland-based Forchuk brothers were the primary owners/ financiers of the endeavor with Dennis Hedberg supplying the organ and its installation. Dennis tried to collect at least one of every pipe rank and percussion ever produced by the Wurlitzer firm. In later years, he assumed 100% ownership of the restaurant.
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Owner Dennis Hedberg. Photo, courtesy Don Feely
Main chamber, rare Wurlitzer IV rank Vox chorus and Cor Anglais
 
The Organ Grinder organ was built around a Style 235 "Special" opus #1710 from Portland's Oriental Theatre. The instrument eventually grew to 51 ranks and a four-manual console from the Metropolitan Theatre in Boston was added. The original Oriental Theatre three-manual console went to Uncle Milt's Pizza in Vancouver, WA.
 
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Organ Grinder entrance, shaped like a giant Diaphone resonator! Photo, courtesy Don Feely
 
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Photo, courtesy Don Feely
 
Stoplist and chamber analysis from a 1977 souvenir brochure sold at the restaurant:
 
Stoplist and console controls (147K)
 
Chamber analysis and pipework sources (169K)

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All photos above from a souvenir brochure sold at the restaurant, c.1977
 

Organ Grinder staff organists in 1985 with visiting organist Lyn Larson. From left: Russ Chilson, Paul Quarino, Dan Bellomy, Don Feely
 
Other staff organists included Jonas Nordwall and Curtis Knight. Others? Please e-mail the webmaster: tom@pstos.org.
 
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Dan Bellomy. Photo, courtesy Don Feely
 
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Photo, courtesy Don Feely
 
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Photo, courtesy Don Feely
 
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Closeup of the rare Tuned Tympani from the Brooklyn Fox 4/37 Wurlitzer. Photo, courtesy Don Feely
 

Exterior view showing 32' Diaphone chamber and
blower room viewing port. These Diaphones are now
rumbling away at the new Organ Stop Pizza in Mesa,
Arizona.
 

Another exterior view showing Bombarde
and other large offset ranks

 
The Organ Grinder closed in February, 1996. The organ was sold to an investor who split it up for parts. The console went to Garrett Shanklin of Groton, MA (30 miles west of Boston) for use in his 4/34 Conference Center installation. The 32 foot Diaphones went to Organ Stop Pizza in Mesa, AZ.
 
A similar Organ Grinder restaurant opened in Denver, Colorado on February 7, 1979. The organ was based on the 4/20 Wurlitzer Publix #1 from Portland's Paramount Theatre. This restaurant also closed after just a few years.


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