a newspaper man adjusts his pen

Monday, July 7, 2008

Jerome Bettis' bar is a gas

Somehow, it’s hard to imagine the mighty Jerome Bettis dining on dainty, scrumptious Pacific Rim tuna rolls with Asian slaw swimming in sweet and sour sauce and sinus burning wasabi paste.

But, the retired Pittsburgh Steelers running back known as “The Bus” considers this dish to be among his favorites at his new restaurant, Jerome Bettis’ Grille 36 in Pittsburgh, Pa. His palate pleasers are listed on the menu beside a footnote, 36, the number on the jersey he wore to help bring his team a Super Bowl victory against the Seattle Seahawks in Detroit in 2006.

Mr. Bettis also likes to sink his teeth into “The 36,” a whopping 36-oz., bone-in New York strip steak that sells for $49.95 a plate. That heart attack inducer is smothered with mushrooms and onions and served with asparagus and garlic mashed potatoes. Now, that’s the kind of grub that should be consumed by a player who was known as “The Battering Ram” when he played as a rookie in 1993 with the Los Angeles Rams.

This is a man of many surprises and known for being fast on his feet. And, he delivers one tricky gimmick in the men’s room at this ultimate sports bar in the Del Monte Building on the North Side, next door to the Steelers’ home at Heinz Field.

When a guy bellies up to a urinal, he faces the see through side of a giant see-through mirror overlooking the front doors, staff counter and entire bar scene. The view came as such a surprise that I had trouble peeing after I stopped by Friday for a beer, consumed a plate of those fantastic tuna rolls and needed to take a leak.

Right then, a fellow left the bathroom, walked quickly around to the front of the mirror and looked into it, appearing to stare me down, while making sure that no one could see him when he was inside that John.

“That is just too weird,” I said to a dude over at a sink washing his hands.

“Yeah, that is pretty weird,” he responded with a laugh.

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