Ben Roethlisberger to open North Shore Seven restaurant near Heinz Field
Ben Roethlisberger is opening a new restaurant in Pittsburgh, steps away from Heinz Field and PNC Park on the North Shore.
The Steelers quarterback and longtime business partner and friend Scott Kier will open North Shore Seven, scheduled for an April 2019 debut — just in time for the Pirates home opener.
"The guys on the team always refer to him as 'Seven,' not Ben, so we wanted to call it Seven," said Kier, explaining the eatery name choice.
The menu will offer made-from-scratch entrees, salads, appetizers, sandwiches and pour more than 50 taps, including craft beers. Designed for about 250 patrons, diners will choose from indoor/outdoor dining — including two bars and two patios. Kier said they are still in the design phase with an emphasis on maximizing the large space.
Pittsburgh architect Kevin Turkall of Designstream was hired to design the 7,500-square-foot space that will occupy the lower level in the currently under construction seven-story building near North Shore and Tony Dorsett drives.
"We are designing multiple 'environments' to accommodate guests as couples, families and large groups," Turkall said. "There will be a VIP area, plenty of Hollywood-type booth seating, multiple large bars and a large display for Ben's gear and other sports paraphernalia, and the patios will host a fire pit, umbrella tables and soft seating options."
Kier, a Greensburg native now living in Charleston, S.C., described the space as "industrial chic." Patrons will have choices at North Shore Seven said Kier.
"It's safe to say there won't be a bad seat in the house to view sports," Kier said. "It's on the first floor, and we have city views, and actually the best river views of the city from the North Shore — clear and unobstructed. It was a long hard climb to get here. They just don't hand out spaces like this to just anyone, even if your name is Ben Roethlisberger."
North Shore Seven is the fourth establishment for the business partners, and the first to open in Pittsburgh. The pair operate three additional restaurants together in the south — King Street Grille locations in Myrtle Beach and Kiawah Island in South Carolina and the Savannah Taphouse in Savannah, Ga.
Two additional King Street Grille restaurants, both in Charleston, S.C., are owned by Kier.
"Food is very important to both Ben and I," Kier said. "From the beginning, we knew that great food was the key to being unique and having longevity. Everything we do is made from scratch. We wanted to do different food than typical sports bar (food)."
Signature dishes such as Sweet Tea Fried Chicken marinated 36 hours in sweet tea, Create-Your-Own-Chopped Salads (think homemade salad dressings on custom salads), custom Angus burgers and Asiago Crusted Chicken separate their restaurants from the run-of-the-mill sports bar offerings.
Past King Street Grille culinary awards include "Best Sports Bar" for ten years running by Charleston City Paper and "Best Salads" by WMBF in Myrtle Beach.
Steeler fans visiting and residing in tourism heavy South Carolina don't have to travel far to cheer on the black and gold.
Four King Street Grille locations in South Carolina — Mt. Pleasant, Kiawah Island, Myrtle Beach and North Charleston — have welcomed Steeler's fans since 2003 when Kier opened the flagship King Street Grille on iconic and historic King Street in downtown Charleston. The King St. location shut its doors in 2016, due to skyrocketing rent attributed to an exploding historic Charleston real estate market, said Kier.
"I met Ben in 2006 right after the Steelers won the Super Bowl. We went golfing together in Charleston and hung out all week and became good friends," Kier said. "Kiawah was my next King Street Grille project, and Ben asked if he could be in on that. He has always had a thing for the restaurant business."
Charleston resident and mega-Steelers fan Brian Grant frequents King Street Grille for his black and gold fix.
"To be a Steelers fan here in Charleston, since we don't have the games here — it's an honor. It's pride, and we can always talk smack. I have been to Steelers games in Arizona, Texas, Georgia and Colorado, but coming to Pittsburgh for a game is on my bucket list," Grant said.
Kier noted Steelers fans are a loyal customer base.
"The one thing I learned about living in Charleston is that black and gold bleeds everywhere. Locals as well as tourists come and check us out year round. A really cool part of my job is meeting people from all over the country, and the one thing we have in common is black and gold," Kier said.
He said Steelers fans outnumber fans of other teams on Sundays in South Carolina and Georgia.
Stephen Hardy, 61, a Charleston resident and a native of Pittsburgh's Bloomfield neighborhood, moved from Pittsburgh in 1990. He calls himself a "forever fan" and frequently visits the Mt. Pleasant King Street Grille and loves the wings there.
"It's an oasis here and the atmosphere on game days is like being back in the Burgh," Hardy said. "King Street Grille is my Steelers substitute place."