Just like most towns, Pittsburgh has its fair share of sports legends. Roberto Clemente may be the biggest, but unfortunately he did not live long enough to start a Puerto Rican restaurant. Ben Roethlisberger is also pretty huge, but claims of molestation may stop him from opening up his very own burger joint. Then there’s Jerome Bettis. Also known as The Bus, Bettis found his way to Pittsburgh from Detroit and eventually got into the restaurant business with a spot just out of Heinz Field called Jerome Bettis’ Grille 36.
While I disagree with the use of apostrophe in the restaurant name, I was curious about how gimmicky such a restaurant would be. To be real, the place is much more of a sports bar than a restaurant and the Steelers are always on. I wound up ordering their Burger 36, a burger I feared to be overpriced at $14, but that sounded delicious nonetheless. The burger was fairly simple, composed of a house blend of short rib and chuck, infused with bacon. It was an extra buck for cheese and I picked gouda from my choices. It also came with fries and I made sure to order medium-rare.
Per usual in my experience thus far with burgers in Pittsburgh, medium-rare appeared impossible. That is, of course, until I noticed that my cousin who ordered rare got what I would have liked. He’s from Pittsburgh so maybe he learned long ago how to order. I suppose it is a risk either way and ultimately I will have to choose whether I prefer the risk of dryness or the risk of botulism. As for my burger, any utility I could have derived from the special blend or bacon seemed to be cooked out, leaving me with a simple, unoriginal burger that was only somewhat special because of the gouda.
Will I go back to Jerome Bettis’ Grille 36 again? Not if I have anything to say about it, but the odds say I will find my way there once again before some sort of sporting event or concert. When that day comes, though, I will be sure to keep my expectations low.