CLEVELAND — Browns fans are notorious for supporting their team. A brief walk through the popular tailgating spot affectionately known as the “Muni Lot” will show you how dedicated they are.
At the entrance of the lot sits two orange and brown clad buses with a banner stretched between the two vehicles.
“Welcome to the Muni Lot,” it reads. Signaling the portal to Cleveland’s tailgating holy grail.
The buses are owned by Scott Nunnari and Larry Laurello. Each a rolling Browns themed bar that’s part museum, part watering hole.
“It’s a friend-making machine,” Nunnari said. “Life in general to me is about friendships and that’s what you do.”
The friend-making machine is a magnet for Browns fans, complete with a ten-seat bar, television with a satellite dish, a propane fireplace, and of course, a pair of seats from old Municipal Stadium.
“They’re from section 35, row D. The yellow ones were under the overhang,” Nunnari said. “If you want them in original condition, you’ve got to get those.”
Nunnari never sat in the seats to see a game at the old stadium. He was more of a Dawg Pound guy. Like many fans who sat in the old east end zone, he cut out his seat at the Browns' last home game before the infamous move to Baltimore.
“I cut our piece out and unbolted it and just handed the tools to others,” Nunnari said. “I wore a big coat like I had to sneak it out and there were people carrying rows of them on their shoulders.”
Nunnari purchased the bus in Connecticut and had it converted to an RV. The typical price tag is about $5,000 for a used bus but it takes much more capital and elbow grease to perfect the “Dumn Dog” look that Nunnari’s bus sports.
“If they want to come and hang on the bus, I want to hang with them. We’ve had some delightful folks,” Nunnari said.
Even a few players. In total, there are about 50 signatures on various surfaces of the bus. Each one has its own story.
“Greg Pruitt sat on that counter and talked to us for like an hour and a half about the tear-away jerseys and how they really hated them,” Nunnari said. "Those are real stories that you wouldn’t ever hear from them if it weren’t here on the bus.”
Nunnari is one of several Browns fans with an orange and brown ride. His fellow banner-mate Larry has been coming to the Muni Lot since the 1970s. In nearly 50 years, not much has changed.
“This is a throwback to the 70s. I mean I literally tailgated in there in the 1970s and it hasn’t changed,” Laurello said. “People from all over the world come to the Muni Lot.”
They’re immediately friends, welcome with a handshake and a beverage. Each one that sits on either bus immediately becomes an extended family member. If they’re a Browns fan, they don’t even have to say it. The bond is felt immediately.
“All the years it was tough, it was all about us. Without feeling selfish about it, it was all about us,” Laurello said. “We were holding on to each other for power to be able to make it through. And it’s just turned into a beautiful thing now.”
They’ve endured their fair share of lowlights. But to go so far as to say they’ve suffered would be to mischaracterize everything that tailgating in the Muni Lot is about.
“If you were upset because you weren’t winning, then you suffered,” Laurello said. “ But if you showed up to the Muni Lot and enjoyed that camaraderie with everyone else. We never suffered. We just changed our focus.”
That focus is now on winning with the current group that’s assembled.
“I’m excited, stoked about the Browns this year. First time in a long time,” Nunnari said.