When the original Damon’s was founded in 1979, it was the same year the Steelers outplayed the Dallas Cowboys in the last heart-stopping moments of Super Bowl XIII. Not to gloat, but it was also the first time a team scored 30 points and lost a championship. We won 35-31. But let us follow the lead of that year’s head coach, Chuck Noll, the legendary, low-key winner of four rings and talk just about the facts.
Damon’s sits happily in many Pittsburgh zip codes, but in Peters, the Dunlap family-owned restaurant must add something to the sauce. It’s just so darn made for a Super Bowl party. How can a place with menu titles like the “Starting Lineup” for appetizers and “Tag Team Combos,” that feature a dish called, "The Bus," miss the goal of making your whole house happy?
Burgers are giant and juicy, ribs are sweet, spicy or both and the damn Honey Bourbon Buckeye Grinder is worth trading your boyfriend.
Order one of everything on the 11-item Defending Champs side of the yards-long menu for good luck. Throw down the Fried Shrimp, Touchdown Tenders and Full Count Fish and Chips to kick off your party. Our Damon’s is among the best I’ve visited in the area and I think it's because they know they have the responsibility of spreading the sauce on the township.
Full disclosure here on the intimate relationship between my brain -- Damon’s and the Steelers. Years and years ago, my cousins and I were disembarking from a green Neon in the parking lot of the Damon’s in Fox Chapel. Feeling giddy, and acting 21, we tumbled out of the bright beast and headed toward the door. Out came a Steeler, to which I reacted, “HI TERRY BRADSHAW!!”
My mortified cousins stepped away from me and Franco Harris politely waved back, his companions glaring at my red face. Oh dear. See, the sight of a real-live Steelers player, current, retired, in context, out of context, just tongue-ties even the most eloquent of us. I must first absolve Damon’s from any responsibility for guest idiocy and also commend them for their pretty-much perfect football food menu. But, one more little foul ball.
Last year, I had the occasion to hang with Franco (as I call him and he calls me “who?”) at an event, now a grown person (me) and I tried desperately to act normal this time. I couldn’t resist relaying the old Damon’s story to him and he completely cracked up. Phew. Even Steven, right? Nope, no dice. See, at the end of the event, I cashed in the raffle tickets I sold. I boasted to my fellow volunteers that I persuaded Franco to buy ten tickets for $100.
“Gee, that’s funny,” slurped one of my more acerbic cohorts over her beer, “The tickets were 10 for $10. Congratulations dummy, you just ripped of a Hall of Famer.”
Fixating on the sauce-laced, joyful food-drunkenness that is Damon’s is not at all a writer’s comeuppance, but a first-hand forward pass to the Peters food lover. Order it, eat it and by God, remember the name of all you order and every Steelers player you cheer into victory on Sunday. You wont forget how full of happiness it makes your soul.
Call to order now for catering or place your takeout order by Saturday.