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Boy we used to go to the Ritz all through the early 80's!

Between The Ritz, Top Charlies, and Dynasty we were busy every night. Funny, kids these days will never know what that was like. Mostly they will never know that the worst you faced in a night out was a beat down by some rival kids... which we often had coming anyway.

Good times. Good times.


Wow, this was an amazing article to find!

Al Monzo gave me my first real job in the early nineties... And it wasn't a little one either. I was only 15 years old when I started working on demolishing what was the club Ritz and started building what would become Club Dallas and Than Club Vegas. I was wondering how I could get a job like this so young, but after my parents stopped by to inquire- I learned that Al had started working in construction as a teenager and respected how hard I was working at a young age.
At this point I was crazy for sound systems, and I made sure to install the biggest baddest audio system I could dream up at the time in the place. Even now almost 20 years later - The job I did is resume worthy! I wish they had digital camera's back then. The few disposable camera shots I took of it didn't develop correctly... My mind holds the clear images.
Really, I do have to say Al was good to me while I was busting my chops installing all that stuff. He gave me the master keys to the place, and with those master keys I was able to see many places in all of the buildings that normal people did not. Let me tell you, those private pent houses and suites... were as grand as all the stories you have heard. I never really saw a bad side to him like some of the stories I've heard over the years. Just a tough guy that made it happen no matter what the adversity he faced. Maybe it was just that I caught him later in his years, but I will attribute some of my no-nonsense business approach to him.
Maybe it was because a lot of times people would ask him if I was his grand son, he liked that... or whatever. But I was able to sit along side him in his office while he dealt with many contractors and suppliers for the hotel. I learned enough about business to know I wanted to run my own someday.
For me, there were a ton of firsts at the Palace Inn as well, and much of it was very fun at the time. After all, how many times does the boss let you drive his Cadillac when he knows you don't have drivers license because your only 15? Now almost 20 years since then, I'm living with my own family on the west coast- here I'm thinking about it. I really miss the place- or more importantly the guy who made it. It was truly a unique opportunity for many people over many years, and had a profound effect on me.


I only recently discovered this post. I enjoyed it tremendously. I wanted to share some of my rememberences of Monzos. I also started as a bus boy but it was early 80's. My main job on a busy Sat night was running booze from the service bar to the chef and food from the chefs to the service bartender, who would then share with the other bartenders. We use to take a cut each way so we ended up stuffed and hammered at the same time.
Speaking of the service bar: It leaked badly and we would have a pool of nasty bacteria filled water but the end of the night. And the little window we would throw dishes thru to get to the dish tank. Or for a quick escape when there was something nasty that needed cleaned up.
The UNIFORMS; Guys white pressed shirt girls short skirts and open shirts. How wonderful for us just thru puberty boys!!
The Ritz was a total another animal. I started as a bar back when it reopened after the fire. This was a big promotion. Besides getting ice and washing glasses for a couple thousand people a night our big responsibilities were getting Perrier for the DJ and putting dry ice in the fog machine. Every time Pseu Pseu pseudo came on it meant quit washing glasses and sprint to the freezer and grab the dry ice fight thru the crowd and shove in the machine before the song was over. I have never forgiven Phil Collins!! One particular night I am putting the ice in and there is a bag on the floor by the dry ice machine. I pick it up It is full of cash. More than I could guess. The bouncer comes over and explains the system. The money is dropped off. The coke is put in its place deal done!!
I rose to the position of head service bartender. No pay raise but it meant I got to make the waitresses drinks plus what I sold. I can remember ringing up $4000 on a Sat. at a time when a Long Island Ice tea cost $5. Unbelievable how much money Al was making.
Oh the memories of Monzo's I can remember the laundry cart at the end of the night. We would grab an unsuspecting waitress and put her in the cart and run as fast as we could around the Casa di monzo!! We always wanted to put Daisy in there but was afraid.
After dinner we had to sweep the dance floor and spread the dance powder. Kardazz was one of the bands. They tortured me and the other busser by playing silly music while we swept. We got revenge but taking the leader singer off stage on New Years eve and putting him in the laundry cart and running him up to the front desk. We got out of the restaurant and here comes Al to check on things. He never said a word and kept on walking.
There was a seedy side to the place. I got the Sunday morning shift one year. I though the only perk was that I could stay in the hotel over night if it wasn't filled. My first Sunday I was told you open at 9:30. This is stupid. Who is coming to the bar that early?? Suddenly by 10:15 it looked like they were filming Godfater 12. All the bookies from Pgh showed up to set the lines. I made more money on Sunday mornings then I did in the Ritz on a Sat. Night. Hey how about something for the kid for the holidays." I am embarrassed to say what I walked with that day.
Lastly, am I the only one who noticed George, Al's maintenance man, worked odd hours?? We would be throwing garbage away at 3 or 4 a.m. and there would be George moving dirt in the back parking lot. All the time. I guess he had trouble getting it level but I always expected them to find Jimmy Hoffas' body when the tore down the hotel. I miss that place. It was a great place to work and helped become who I am.


I also just discovered this and I gotta tell you that your stories bring back a lot of memories. I am Al's great nephew and spent some time there growing up. I just have to thank you for this article, it brings back some good memories. 1 memory was when I was a kid was playing hide and seek through out the entire hotel with my cousins, which if you could imagine was unbelievable as a child. Another memory was when I was a little older going up to the penthouse seeing the 16 foot radio control helicoptors hanging from the ceiling or however big it was. He was actually pretty cool to hang out with as I got older. I also started in construction like my uncle, and I would stop in to get a beer and hang out with him for a little while after working in pittsburgh. He used to get so mad when I would pay for my own drinks and food and I would always tell him that I wasn't there for any handouts just to hang out with him. He would always just turn his head and try not to laugh but it was hard for him not to, especially when I told him he charged to much. Anyway thank you for bringing back some good memories.

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