By Chris Fish
MELBOURNE -- As a child, Mike Patrick's grandfather told him the story of how two football franchises saved the NFL.
"I remember my grandpa mentioning the Steagles to me as a child, and it just always stuck in my mind," he said. "I just thought, 'What a great concept.' You have two of the best football franchises, with a following. Anywhere you go with this concept, there will be a following."
During World War II, there was a shortage of NFL players due to the war. The Stealers were down to six players, and the Eagles had only 16.
The teams were merged for one season in 1943 to allow both teams to play and to possibly keep the NFL from canceling the whole season, Mr. Patrick said.
The Steagles went 5-4-1 and gave the Eagles its first winning season, and the Steelers its second.
Mr. Patrick has taken this memory and turned it into a unique concept for a family-friendly, nonsmoking, traditional Pennsylvania eatery, with a modern twist, featuring healthier options.
"I am from Philly," Mr. Patrick said. "I have a culinary degree, and I get my meat from the Philly area. The quality of meat makes all of the difference. Not to mention our Philly-style hoagies."
Since opening three-and-a-half years ago, Steagles Pub has doubled in size, and has been awarded the honor of "Best Cheese Steak in Brevard County" by Florida Today, an honor Mr. Patrick said is due to his meat quality and the way he prepares his delicious, non-greasy sandwich.
"Customers also have the option of adding sweet peppers to their cheesesteaks," he said. "Most people just throw a green pepper on there, and it's too strong, but, by pickling it, you sweeten it up. It just makes it better."
The restaurant also prides itself on its fresh, soft amoroso bread and fresh meats, shipped straight from Philadelphia.
"It's the quality of the meat and bread that make the difference," Mr. Patrick said.
Along with its famous Philly Cheesesteak, Steagles offers some of the best wings in town, as well as the delicious Polish Perogie, which is polish ravioli, grilled perfectly to crisp the outer shells, and stuffed with mashed potatoes and cheddar cheese. Once its ready, the dish is dipped in sour cream and onion to add the perfect flavor.
Besides delicious and authentic Philly food, Steagles offers something for fans of the Pittsburgh area, as well, including a Primanti-style sandwich, which many of his customers prefer to the original. The venue also provides top-notch entertainment, including a Pennsylvania party the third Friday of every month.
"We have had guys in from Boston, Whitesnake and Christina Aguilera's band," he said. "We try and have top-notch entertainment here, and I bring in a new band every month to try it out."
Steagles also provides a perfect dining experience for children of all ages.
"If you look at the McDonald's theory of 'if you get a Happy Meal as a child, you are a customer for life,' I want to do the same thing," Mr. Patrick said. "I want (children) to say, 'Mommy and Daddy, I want a cheesesteak from Steagles,' and that is slowly happening."
Mr. Patrick said that there is also a place located outside the restaurant for children, which includes a basketball net, ring toss and cornhole.
"If a parent wants a cold beer and some time to enjoy themselves, their kids have something to do," he said. "They won't be bothering them to leave, while they eat."
In the future, Mr. Patrick said he hopes to expand his unique concept to other areas.
"The idea is to franchise out, and we are currently looking for investors to help with this," he said. "That is the goal. The idea is to duplicate this concept."
Steagles Pub is located at 1395-C Cypress Ave. in Melbourne.
Steagles Pub is open Mondays from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Thursdays and Fridays from 11 a.m. to midnight, Saturdays from noon to midnight and Sundays from noon to 8 p.m.
Steagles offers an Open Mic night Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 7-10 p.m., karaoke on Thursdays from 7 p.m. to midnight and live music on Friday and Saturday nights.
For more information, call (321) 757-8550 or visit www.Steaglespub.com or find the pub on Facebook.