‘Dr. Bob,’ Pittsburgh's iconic soul food chef, dies at age 78


Iconic chef served celebrities, but heart was with ‘regular folk’

Robert “Dr. Bob” McCall, one of Pittsburgh’s well-known soul food chefs, took his seat at the Lord’s table, Aug. 1. He was 78.
The popular Black chef ingrained himself into the area’s culture by offering his “down home” cooking to the famous as well as the not-so-famous. He served well-known Pittsburgh Pirates, Steelers and top music celebrities, including Willie Stargell, Roberto Clemente, L.C. Greenwood, John Stallworth, Sister Sledge, Stevie Wonder and Coretta Scott King. However, his heart was always with just “regular folk.”
Born April 10, 1939 in Birmingham, Alabama and after a brief stint as a young adult in Chicago, Dr. Bob ended up working as a chef in one of Pittsburgh’s major hotels, the Hilton. Perhaps it was his inner drive and basic goodness that brought him success in his field.
At the request of his friends, he began catering small parties that would develop into a successful catering business by the early 1970s. Soon after, he opened Bob McCall’s Restaurant on Centre Avenue. McCall’s generous heart led him to cater buffet dinners that benefited area seniors. It has been estimated that he served thousands of seniors free of charge.
According to McCall’s obituary from House of Law in Penn Hills, he was co-founder and president of the Caters’ Inc. – a group of Black caterers devoted to raising money for charitable causes.

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