For The Record: Down and dirty

Long before Starbucks took over the , there was Cy’s Penn Luncheonette. In its day, we’re told, students affectionately referred to the diner as the “Dirty Drug.” The Penn Luncheonette was just one of many modest (and greasy) eateries and watering holes around campus during the 1960s, including Smoky Joe’s bar and Pagnano’s pizzeria.

Corner of 34th and Walnut streets

In September 1974, Penn began the Walnut Street demolition, which forced Cy’s, Smoky Joe’s and other neighborhood institutions to vacate the premises. In 1987, a new post-modern building was finished at 34th and Walnut, with retail at street level and academic support and administrative offices on the other floors.

For more on this and other notable moments in Penn history, visit the University Archives website at

Originally published on February 9, 2006