Sandwiched QB

The Baltimore Sun

PITTSBURGH -- There is at least one Roethlisburger that is supposed to be eaten up.

This city is home to a sandwich named after Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. The Roethlisburger is about a pound of ground beef and sausage mixed with American cheese and scrambled eggs on a large roll.

It's a creation that has been mastered by Peppi's, a restaurant on the north side of town. Owner Jeff Trebac said he got the idea for the ingredients in 2004 from his wife, Kim, who had grilled ground beef and sausage before heaping it on rice with eggs and cheese on top.

The inspiration for the name came that same year, when the Steelers drafted Roethlisberger out of Miami (Ohio) in the first round of the draft.

"Basically, it was a waiting game," Trebac said. "We never knew if Ben was going to jump into the fold with him being a backup to Tommy Maddox. But once he hit his stride, we were able to do it."

As Roethlisberger won 13 games as a rookie in the 2004 season and the Steelers won the Super Bowl the next season, customers began visiting Peppi's in droves. At one point, Trebac estimated the restaurant was selling 200 Roethlisburgers a day.

"It was chaos," Trebac said, adding he filled orders from as far away as California and Germany. "You'd walk in the door at 8 or 9 in the morning, and the phone was already ringing. People were ordering 20 to 30 at a time."

The sandwich's ingredients are not random. The cheese represents Roethlisberger's all-American image, the meat pays homage to his childhood growing up on a farm and the egg symbolizes his ability to scramble out of the pocket.

And because the quarterback's jersey is No. 7, the burger sells for $7.

Although Roethlisberger has not sat in Peppi's, Trebac said the quarterback has phoned in orders and his mother has visited the restaurant.

"I've tried it before," Roethlisberger said during a conference call with Baltimore media Wednesday. "It's pretty good."

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