A Special Trip to Jerome Bettis’ Restaurant in Pittsburgh
My partner has always been a massive fan of Bettis and this was a special moment for him
The photo was taken by the author of his partner with his Jerome Bettis t-shirt in front of Bettis’ restaurant Grille 36
My partner and I have only been to Pittsburgh once together in our lifetime. Our trip was back in March 2019. We got to take in a lot of famous Pittsburgh sites that day. Another place that Mike and I both agreed that we wanted to go to was Jerome Bettis’ restaurant. We found it in the neighborhood they called North Shore in the city of Pittsburgh at Grille 36.
Lifelong role model, Jerome Bettis
Mike has always looked up to Jerome Bettis as a role model and a fellow asthmatic. It’s always amazed him at how he was able to play running back for so long and make it to the Hall of Fame while dealing with his own severe asthma. When my partner was growing up, he had to have a nebulizer breathing machine just to get around. To see someone with asthma doing something so great was inspiring to him.
This is another front shot that was taken by the author.
Going to the restaurant to eat, drink, and well…be merry
We were hungry on our very busy trip so not only did we take pictures in front of the restaurant, we decided that we would want to eat at the restaurant too. The restaurant inside had a bunch of televisions with some tables but also a wraparound bar that we could sit at to watch the games.
We opted to sit at the bar. I’m not much of a drinker and I was driving that day. Mike, on the other hand, well you can see he’s Irish-American so you don’t have to make any wrong assumptions there to figure out whether or not he drinks.
It had been a long day so I actually did decide to drink this day. They had so many taps to choose from. There was one though that caught my eye that I had never seen and tried before. I found out later that the beer is a Pittsburgh local legend. We both got the Iron City.
I’m originally from California and I’d never heard of this beer before. I had to try it. It was amazing. It’s now my favorite go-to beer when I decide to drink. Luckily, the beer distributors up in Erie have cases of them for sale.
The photo was taken by the author of the Iron City Beer we had at the bar that day.
The food, the sports, and a special surprise
We were in the restaurant for a couple of hours. We were just enjoying ourselves drinking several alcoholic beverages and eating the food that we had ordered. I ate a mushroom swiss hamburger and my partner had the black and gold shrimp pasta. The food was exceptional.
We were watching the games that day. It was the second week in March so it was the final games of the regular season or the first week of tournament championships, I can’t quite remember which. I just know that the games at the time carried extra importance for the seeding of the tournament.
We got so caught up in being at my partner’s favorite football player’s restaurant and enjoying the food, alcohol, and sports. We were just enjoying ourselves.
At one point, one of the waitresses was talking to us about our day. We mentioned that we were traveling from a long distance and that we came here because we found out that Mike’s favorite football player owned the place and that this was a really special day for us.
As the crowd started to die down, I remember as we were getting full and intoxicated, she asked us if we wanted to see Jerome Bettis’ special viewing room in the restaurant.
Mike and I at first thought it too good to be true. That was until we walked into the place. The place was decked out with multiple TVs, some football cleats from his real game action signed by him, and some comfortable chairs. The room was a decent size and could fit many people in there.
The photo was taken by the author of my partner sitting in Jerome Bettis’ private room in his chair with a cleat he wore during his Super Bowl win. Can you think of a more special moment for Mike?
The special room, the photos, and the memories we get to have for the rest of our lives
I just had to capture this moment for Mike. Even though we didn’t actually get to meet the man himself that day, which would’ve made his year, we got to see a little bit deeper into his personal space and we just got to eat at his restaurant.
I couldn’t truly tell you how special of a moment this was for my partner but I know I could feel the vibes in the room as he got to sit there in the chair with his Jerome Bettis shirt in Jerome Bettis’ chair in front of the TV in his restaurant with one of the cleats he wore in the Super Bowl.
The waitress probably wasn’t even allowed to let anybody back there but I think that along with the $60 check we had just paid with a sizable tip to boot along with Mike’s enthusiasm and energy, that’s what got us back there and allow for him to enjoy this special dinner much longer.
I wasn’t even jealous that I didn’t get to sit in the chair and do the same thing. I just got joy when I saw my partner get as close to meeting his lifetime hero as he could with this trip and at this restaurant.
It will always be a moment we both get to share together and one that we will both always remember. There were a lot of firsts that day at Grille 36. I was grateful for the experiences we got, and all of the photos that we got that day. Grille 36 is definitely a restaurant in Pittsburgh that we would like to experience again someday, hopefully soon.