Welcome to Fort Worth, Steeler Nation
Well, no one threw me a party when I first came to Texas from Pittsburgh, but I’m not even a little upset that Fort Worth is going out of its way to welcome the Pittsburgh Steelers and Steeler Nation –– the AFC representatives in Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium on Sun., Feb. 6, will be staying in Fort Worth. We can probably assume that they’ll be followed by a lot of yinzers, um, I mean “Pittsburghers” –– they say “yinz” (as in “you ones”) instead of “y’all” or “you guys” and consequently are commonly, lovingly referred to as “yinzers.” (They also chew on their vowels. Example yinzer sentence: “Yinz goin’ dahntahn or outside o’ Tarrant Cahnty to watch the game ’n’ ’at?”)
Yinzers are a provincial bunch. They’re very, very proud of their city and can rattle off its myriad achievements (steel, first heart transplant, Heinz ketchup) and famous products (Andrew Carnegie, August Wilson, Stephen Foster, Andy Warhol, Arnold Palmer, Willa Cather, Gene Kelly, Fred “Mr.” Rogers, Michael Chabon, Michael Keaton, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban) at a moment’s notice. What a yinzer loves more than anything else is spreading his civic pride all over the damn place, and if you offer him even a little taste of the ’Burgh, you’ll be well on your way to earning his blue-collar appreciation (and money).
One nightspot that will be extremely yinzer-friendly during Super Bowl week is 7th Haven (2700 W. 7th St., 817-744-8550), the official home of the “Fort Worth Steelers,” according to Haven owner Jimmy Moore, a Fort Worth native but longtime Steelers fan. “Even though we’re in an NFC market, the bar’s still taking the AFC’s side,” he said. To entice yinzers and other Steelers fans, Moore intends on stocking some Iron City and/or I.C. Light, beers originally brewed in Pittsburgh’s Lawrenceville neighborhood (not far from my childhood home, prophetically enough). Moore also is known for using his bar’s lofty West 7th-facing marquee to broadcast personal messages, and for Super Bowl XLV, he plans on posting something along the lines of “Steelers fans, meet here –– we’ve got Iron City.” He also may purchase some Terrible Towels and happily distribute them to his Steelers-supporting customers. For all the Haven customers, Moore is installing a 134-inch high-definition TV screen on the back patio, and if the weather is cooperative, he’ll also get a large high-def television for his rooftop patio. The Haven’s three interior high-def projectors will all be tuned to the big game, and Taco Heads, the food cart that regularly sets up shop in the Haven parking lot Wednesdays through Saturdays, will be on hand. Moore’s prediction? “I’m kinda surprised that Vegas has Green Bay favored, but I’m going with the Steelers over the Packers 27-17.”
Offering Iron City or I.C. Light is one sure-fire way to attract yinzers. As a proud yinzer, I can definitely see myself opting for I.C. Light over my preferred Bud Light for just one day. And, according to most projections, Fort Worth can expect to see a lot of yinzers for the big game. They’re so fanatical about the “Stillers” (“Steelers” in Pittsburghese) that they’d probably travel to Hades to see them. I remember when the Cowboys played the Steelers at Texas Stadium a few years ago: There were as many Steelers fans as blue-and-silver-clad folks. No kidding. But my beloved ’Burgh is more than just beer (and overcast skies, scowls, and hills). Pittsburgh is also –– speaking purely from a gourmand’s standpoint –– pierogi (thanks to the Rust-Belt city’s strong Polish heritage) and Primanti Brothers sandwiches. Not sure if any restaurant in the 817 offers pierogi, but there’s a decent replica of a Primanti Brothers sandwich at Magnolia Motor Lounge (3005 Morton St., West 7th corridor, 817-332-3344). Just like one of Primanti’s signature delicacies, MML’s Model A sammy features your choice of meat and cheese plus fries and cole slaw, everything on the sandwich. I’ve had a Model A before, and while it’s not as pleasantly greasy as the real deal, it’s pretty darned delicious and should quell any yinzer’s homesickness. (Side note: Raffle tickets for The Beast, a 1931 Ford Model A coupe that sits inside MML, are still available. They’re $40 a pop and can be purchased either in person or via www.magnoliamotorlounge.com. All proceeds will benefit St. Andrew Catholic School in Fort Worth. The drawing will be at 4 p.m. on Super Bowl Sunday.)
One final taste of the ’Burgh in the F-Dub comes not in the form of food or drink but in the personage of native Pittsburgher Jim Schussler, owner of “The Official Oyster Bar of the Pittsburgh Steelers,” J&J’s Oyster Bar (612 University Dr., Cultural District, 817-335-2756). No word yet on whether or not “JJ’s,” as the place is known, will be carrying any Iron City. — Anthony Mariani
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