Rusch’s Bar and Grill Opens

As the Pittsburgh Steelers eked out a win over the first-timer Arizona Cardinals on Super Bowl Sunday, a new restaurant opened its doors in downtown Hamilton. Rusch’s Bar & Grill is situated where Numero Uno, the Italian restaurant, once stood and also encompasses a formerly vacant structure next door.

New owners Doug and Linda Rusch have attempted to erase these past establishments with many extensive renovations. The house on the corner is now a two-story, open-air dining room piled high with dark wainscoting. The walls are lined with no fewer than twelve flat-screen televisions, broadcasting every type of sporting event available, and oversized, tinted windows. The whole restaurant is decorated with sports memorabilia, including a Jerry Rice San Francisco 49ers jersey and Dominik “The Dominator” Hasek’s Buffalo Sabres jersey, while neon signs line the bar area.

“The bar is nice and long with plenty of room for eating, [but] it’s a bit secluded from the rest of the place,” sophomore Devin Casey said.

Senior Justin Druke agreed with Casey’s assessment.

“The bar area is completely separate from the dining area. It seems like on a Saturday night a big crowd would overflow into the dining room, and I don’t know how I’m going to get my [Pabst Blue Ribbon if I am] a hundred yards and two ball lengths away from the bartender,” Druke said. Despite these minor drawbacks, the dining room does house foosball and shuffle board tables that guests can use as they dine or socialize at the bar.

The Rusches have made sure their menu is entirely different from what patrons would have found at Numero Uno. Instead of Italian food, Rusch’s serves up the kind of fare that goes best with sporting events — a variety of chicken wings, generous burgers and a rotation of pizzas with a new special topping combination daily. Entrées come with a choice of side dishes, cleverly titled “Off Sides” on the menu. The dining room serves more sophisticated fare, including a range of salads and a standout pecan-encrusted salmon filet with a pumpkin fennel glaze.

The restaurant opened to a packed house on Sunday, February 1, as Super Bowl XLIII kicked off in Tampa, FL. Although Oliveri’s and New York Pizzeria were swamped with orders, Rusch’s still generated enough of a turnout to assure a festive atmosphere in the bar, as guests sampled potato skins, mozzarella sticks and a variety of draft and bottled beers. A visit on Tuesday revealed interest was still high in the new establishment, which appeared to be running at about 70 percent capacity with most of the booths and tables filled with diners.

While Rusch’s is a step up from the scale and price range from most of the other bars in town, it could stand to profit if they can draw the same clientele as the other new addition, La Iguana, has in recent months.

“The pricing is just okay, but okay is pretty good for Hamilton!” Casey said.