By Charles Maher
One could pass Big Charlie’s 100 times without ever going in. The term “dive bar” fits, except when the Chiefs are on.
The surrounding blocks of rowhouses here by 11th and McKean have adopted a team that plays more than 1,100 miles away.
Cheeseburgers and hot dogs sizzle on a charcoal grill right on the corner, next to a tailgating tent with a TV under it. By game time, it’s a necessary accommodation for overflow. The burgers and dogs cost $0, same as the 10 pies of pizza that arrive during the game. It’s all on Staico, because family eats for free, and everyone is family during Chiefs games.
“We’re surrounded by people that we love and love us. This is home,” owner Paul Staico said. “I think what made it work was this is where we grew up. This wasn’t, we moved here and put a claim here. Our roots are right here.”
Bartender Michael Puggi earned a reputation as a bad luck charm, so the regulars began calling him “mush.” That hasn’t stopped him from painting his face yellow and blasting an air horn inside the bar about 90 minutes before kickoff.