The Night of The Living Dread Lord Zober … and Lukey.

So this is a story all about how my life got flipped, turned upside down, and I’d like to take a minute, you can just sit right there, and I’ll tell you all about the night I met the Dread Lord Zober and Hizzoner Master Lukey.

Or you can bloop-bloop-bloop because this post is going to be a bit long.

When my husband mentioned he wanted to hold a grand opening party the evening before he actually opened the restaurant to the public, he and I sat down one evening and wrote out a list of people we wanted to invite to the free food and drink shindig complete with a mariachi band of real actual Mexicans originally from Mexico.

This happened:

Him: “Should we invite the Mayor?”

Me: “[sigh] [moan] [bitch] [whine] It would probably be the proper thing to do.”

Him: “Okay, how about the Dread Lord?”

Me: “God, NO! He’ll destroy me!”

The next day, a call from my Mother:

Her: “Did you make your invite list?”

Me: “Yeah.”

Her: “Are you inviting the Dread Lord and the Mayor? You really should. It would be the proper thing to do, you know.”

Me: “[bitch] [moan] [whine] Fine.  I’ll invite them! But they won’t come. And if they do come, they’ll come for the sole purpose of destroying me.”

Fast forward to the following week when I get an email from the Mayor’s office informing me that The Dread Lord Zober is pleased to accept my invitation to the grand opening fiesta.


Fast forward to the night of the grand opening.  It’s a beautiful early evening in Pittsburgh and the restaurant is filling with our family and our friends and the mariachi band is warming up.  I decided to park my butt at the main doorway and stand on the sidewalk in Market Square to greet the guests.  After about 20 minutes of this, I was standing out in the fading sunshine in a quite deserted square when I heard soft voices. Approaching footsteps.  Suddenly fearful that the pigeons had been informed I was alone, I glanced to my right to find myself being approached not by a flock of ninja pigeons, but instead by the Seven Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

There, walking toward me was The Dread Lord Zober and to his left was none other than Mayor Luke Ravenstahl.

And they have a posse.

No lie.  Four or five business-suited city employees are following close behind Yarone and Lukey and they’re all walking toward me in SUPER SLOW MOTION and they’re … I can’t even type this … THEY’RE SMILING.

I realized that if Lukey and The Dread Lord are walking toward me with smiles on their faces, it can only mean two things … I’m holding a pile of cash they plan to steal or they’re here to kill me.  I was holding no cash, so murder seemed the more likely scenario. With that realization, I said loud enough for them to hear, “Oh, God, no.”

[I’d like to interject that I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP.  I really said that.  They really heard me say that.  And I really did this next thing I’m about to write.]

When Luke Ravenstahl, still walking toward me in slow motion and still running film in his head of what my dead body would look like, started rubbing his hands together in that mwah-hahah! fashion, I again said, “Oh, HELL, no!” and I turned on my heel to go back into the restaurant. I slammed the door shut, and I peered out the window and I waited.

And then they were there. Smiling at me. And I no longer had a choice.  I had dug my grave and it was time to fling myself into it.

After meeting the posse, I turned on the Dread Lord all, “YOU DIDN’T TELL ME YOU WERE BRINGING THE FRICKIN’ MAYOR!”

Yeah, the Mayor is standing right there listening to me, but whatever.

After chatting for a few minutes, I walked the men up the stairs to the restaurant, where again, friends and family were gathered … and a hush fell over the crowd.

Poor Ginny.  Looks like she’s dying today. RIP, sister. RIP.

But here’s the thing.  The Dread Lord Zober? Extremely, extremely engaging.  I mean, yeah, I’m sure in the back of his head he was cursing me with every name he could think of in every language he knows, but to my face, so easy to talk to and so kind.

The same can be said for Lukey.  Very kind toward me. He thanked me and my husband for investing in downtown Pittsburgh.

After about five minutes, as the men were seated and digging into their salsa and chips and beverages, I thanked Lukey and The Dread Lord for being such good sports with my blog and the criticism I have thrown their way.

Then I said this, “While I appreciate that good humor and I can’t even tell you how thrilled I am that you came here tonight, I won’t stop doing what I’m doing.”

And that’s when the Dread Lord slammed his fist angrily on the table, sending tortilla chips scattering, and screamed “DESTROY HER!” and had one of his minions run me through with a trident.

I kid.

They said, “We know. Keep doing what you’re doing.”


I have no idea what Lukey and The Dread Lord really think of me, but yeah, I’ve heard the rumors. I know they’re politicians and I remain wary of them, but that doesn’t erase the fact that they came, they stayed for almost an hour, and they were gracious.

Regardless of what true feelings or ulterior motives it may have veiled, for the moment, it was human kindness and I appreciated it and wanted to share it with you.  Here are a few photos taken by my former butler Mike Woycheck:

That said, Lukey left the restaurant to head to Off The Record and well, we all know what I had to say about that.

Hey, I’m just doing what they told me to do, which is keep doing what I was doing.

Or something.

There are so many more stories to share from that evening, stories about Franco Harris teaching children to sing Guantanamera …

… and stories about my sisters freaking the hell out when Sally Wiggin walked in.

For now, know that I have come face to face with Lukey and The Dread Lord Zober and as far as I can tell, I have escaped unscathed.

But if I disappear at any point in the near future … avenge me.


  1. tw
    October 22, 2009 9:32 am

    Franco Harris….never met him, but from everything I’ve ever heard….I just love him!

  2. bucdaddy
    October 22, 2009 9:34 am

    The health inspectors will be showing up any minute now. Did you know it’s illegal to serve salsa within 1,000 feet of a pigeon?

  3. bucdaddy
    October 22, 2009 9:35 am

    Oh, and even with red eye you’re one hot tamale.

  4. Stacey
    October 22, 2009 9:45 am

    Just got back from the restaurant and it’s so yummy! And also, on a side note – loads of hot men in business atire. It was quite the location for eye-candy. Loved it.

  5. Monty
    October 22, 2009 9:53 am

    Bucdaddy — That’s not the red eye one normally associates with a hot tamale, so kudos to you for using both in a sentence without making it disgusting.

  6. Toad
    October 22, 2009 9:59 am

    Thank you for putting the Frest Prince of Bel Air theme song in my head … I’m sure I will now be humming the rest of the day…..

    …..Check that, I will be exploding my employer’s server by searching for youtube videos of the opening credits…


  7. dave
    October 22, 2009 10:05 am

    MMM is that cholula hot sauce…man I love that stuff….I’m might have to check out this fine restaurant!


  8. red pen mama
    October 22, 2009 10:11 am

    I hope the commenters who come here to complain about what you blog about read this. I mean, you got the go-ahead from the powers that be (such as they may be in the ‘burgh) to keep doing what you are doing.

    I love it.

    Anyhoo, my husband loves the food on fire at Las Velas, and the guac has some nice zing. And I’m usually a beer chick, but those margaritas were tasty. We’ll be back!


  9. L-A
    October 22, 2009 10:20 am

    Did you put those two under the food warmer or something to make their faces that red? Or is that just the evil creeping out?

  10. houndogg
    October 22, 2009 10:21 am

    so ginny, do you wear the exact same shirt for all your out-and-about pics? or do you have a number of them in your closet? hahaha. TOTALLY kidding! thanks for sharing the story

  11. Vivian formerly NYLuvsPitts
    October 22, 2009 10:34 am

    Very nice. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Summer
    October 22, 2009 10:36 am

    Awesome to know that they can take critism and be good sports about it — much more than some of the whiners who visit this blog, anyway.

  13. Katie
    October 22, 2009 10:38 am

    Hysterical post. I actually got to meet Franco Harris a few months ago when “My Tale of Two Cities” was screening down here in the DC area (he was going around to all the screenings with Carl Kurlander). He’s an extremely nice man, and he seemed excited to meet us wayward ‘burghers. I can’t wait to come home to try Las Velas!

  14. unsatisfied
    October 22, 2009 11:13 am

    so, lukey went to the “off the record” thing after seeing you?

    no wonder he was dropping those f-bombs…..


  15. Bram R
    October 22, 2009 11:20 am

    Thanks for sharing.

  16. Pa-pop
    October 22, 2009 11:22 am

    This is an absolutely wonderful, well-told story. And it speaks volumes of the respect many, many important people have for you. Don’t anyone tell me that browsing to That’s Church isn’t the last thing done before morning briefing on Grant Street.

  17. bluzdude
    October 22, 2009 2:34 pm

    Postings like this are the reason I love love love this blog. I just don’t know how you were able to keep this under your hat all this time. You must have been bursting…

    I think the Dread Lord should have thanked you for providing him a persona, one of which he is obviously proud.

    I wonder if they discussed how much they were going to screw with you that night. They must have at least talked about doing something Dread Lordish, just for fun. Like having said minions grab you by the shoulders and ordering them to take you away.

    “Take her to The Pit! I’ll destroy her after a bit of dinner…”

  18. spoon
    October 22, 2009 2:54 pm

    Reading how they approached you I couldn’t get the group walking scene from Reservoir Dogs out of my head.

  19. Scott L
    October 22, 2009 3:16 pm

    Tomorrow we shall read here that indeed, Pigeons are People too.

    The End is near, stay inside for three days! Or so said the sparrow.. that is yet another story.

  20. Chris Casey
    October 22, 2009 4:31 pm

    Is pigeon on the menu? perhaps as an appetizer?

  21. Hutch Jr.
    October 22, 2009 5:00 pm

    Great story, early on in his lengthy tenure, he used to attend football games at North Catholic High School where my son was a captain. He didn’t look very mayoral at the time and his posse looked amateurishly thuggish. I think he has grown a little in the last couple years, but I miss Bob.

  22. jcubed2003
    October 22, 2009 5:14 pm

    Laughed out loud! Loved it. Especially because I could imagine myself as Ginny saying the same things as the Mayor and Dread Lord approached. And I can’t wait until my husband and I make to Las Velas because I am sure we will love it.

  23. butcher's dog
    October 22, 2009 5:21 pm

    OK, so whenever we doubt that the mayor speaks for the entire city (and area…I’m an outsider), we just have to remember “keep doing what you’re doing.”

    Of course, when two twenty-somethings are being nice to Our Ginny, we need to refresh our “Into the Woods” lesson: Nice is different from good.

  24. KGC
    October 22, 2009 5:54 pm

    So, you invited The Boy Who Is Mayor and his Sidekick and they brought some extras? Typical. Political-types always feeding at the trough…

    Will be back to Las Velas soon.. loved it. And, for those who haven’t had an opportunity to meet Ginny in person like I did @ Las Velas – Neener Neener. :)

  25. Clementine
    October 22, 2009 7:35 pm

    Zober’s eyes glow with pigeonesque evil. Can “Dread Lords” shapeshift? I’m pretty sure they can.

  26. Erin M
    October 22, 2009 7:48 pm
    Love it

  27. Sarah
    October 22, 2009 8:01 pm

    Spot on. Your writing is brilliant. More about Sally —- Please.

  28. Adam Wyborski
    October 22, 2009 8:11 pm

    Whats the name of the restrunt I love Mexican food

  29. PittCheMBA
    October 22, 2009 8:38 pm

    Wow, great to see that Lukey and the Dread Lord accept and respect you as a critic. You will have to let us know if either one of them comes back to dine or entertain guests.

  30. La Reina
    October 22, 2009 8:41 pm

    What, no Sally Wiggins photos?!

  31. Dana
    October 22, 2009 8:41 pm

    I LOVE that Lukey and Zober have a posse.

  32. Shannon
    October 22, 2009 9:56 pm

    I went to Las Velas last night for my birthday dinner and the food was amazing! I will definitely be going back. We didn’t get the pleasure of meeting Ginny, but we did meet her husband and he was just the nicest guy :)

  33. gunnlino
    October 22, 2009 11:03 pm

    I’m for Las Velas paloma as an appetizer. Maybe a miel glazed pecho (sp?) in mole chipotle salsa.

  34. Sooska
    October 22, 2009 11:09 pm

    My favorite part of this is knowing that you WILL keep doing what you’re doing.

  35. Sono Innamorato
    October 23, 2009 4:30 am

    Left the ‘burgh for So Cal long ago, and even though this is Mexican food heaven, I can’t wait to try Las Velas next time I’m back!

  36. jedword
    October 23, 2009 8:13 am

    I live in Providence, the East Coast version of Pittsburgh. I really enjoy your blog; it helps me fume vicariously. Hope to visit “the restaurant” over Thanksgiving when we are in Pittsburgh to visit Allie and Tom. Keep this coming…it’s great stuff.

  37. L-A
    October 23, 2009 8:33 am

    @gunnlino – pretty sure you just said you wanted honey glazed chest.

  38. bucdaddy
    October 23, 2009 10:28 am

    Ginny, The more I look at your photos, the more I think, with the right perm, you could trick-or-treat as Wendy Bell.

    I certainly mean that as a compliment.

  39. Allison
    October 23, 2009 10:44 am

    This is why I read your blog. I absolutely loved this post. And am happy you escaped unharmed.

    But you will be avenged should you disappear. :)

  40. Scott
    October 23, 2009 11:59 am

    Ginny, you are classy.

    And, I always love posts with pictures, because you are hot.

    And….I love the little Cholula bottle peeking in the lower corner of the Zober pic.

    Cholula rocks.

  41. SteelyMcTaco
    October 23, 2009 12:05 pm

    I found the website for your restaurant. The menu and pictures look fabulous. What a wonderful commitment to the people and City of Pittsburgh.

    Wishing you and your family the best!

  42. Cathy
    October 23, 2009 12:40 pm

    Lukey is in reelection mode… Watch yourself…

  43. gunnlino
    October 23, 2009 6:42 pm

    @ L-A says:
    maybe I got it wrong: palomas pechos is what I was thinking. Espanol is not my first language. To make it more clear ” pigeon breast in a salsa al la chipotle sauce”.
    Relax man!

  44. Still A Fan
    October 24, 2009 7:14 am

    did they both just come from a tanning bed?

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