SPORTS
PRiMANTI BROS.
staying true to their roots

3 restaurants near Miami won't be cheering for the Dolphins on Sunday

Make no mistake: Primanti Bros.' three locations in Florida bleed black and gold.

"We're 100 percent diehard Pittsburgh people," said Eric Kozlowski, who owns the three eateries in the Fort Lauderdale area.

The restaurants' TVs will be showing the highly anticipated AFC Wild Card game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Miami Dolphins at 1 p.m. Sunday.

Anyone who thought the iconic chain, founded in Pittsburgh in 1933 and known for putting french fries and cole slaw on meat-packed sandwiches, would be rooting against the Steelers in Florida is mistaken, Kozlowski said.

"If the Steelers are playing, the Steelers are on ... We've been been showing the games for 22 years," he said.

Of the 37 Primanti Bros. locations in Pennsylvania, Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio and West Virginia, 17 are in the Pittsburgh region.

The largest location in Florida, a 4,500-square-foot, 210-seat sports bar in Sunrise, is an homage to the 'Burgh, but it welcomes everyone. It features photos of famous Pittsburgh athletes, such as Dan Marino, Sidney Crosby and Roberto Clemente; a Kennywood amusement park sign; a Terrible Towel; and photos showing Mt. Washington's iconic views.

The first Primanti Bros. in Florida opened on the beach in Fort Lauderdale in 1995. An Oakland Park location followed in 2003, as did the Sunrise spot in 2008, said Kozlowski, who became the sole owner of the three Florida eateries — all about 20 miles from Hard Rock Stadium, home of the Dolphins — in 2013.

Iron City Beer and IC Light, both from Pittsburgh Brewing Co., will be flowing, Kozlowski said.

Kozlowski expects about 200 people, mostly Steelers fans, to watch the game at Primanti's.

"But a lot of people who are Dolphins fans will probably come in because they know it's a Pittsburgh bar," he said.

Steelers fan Andrew Marocco, 42, lives in Port St. Lucie, about an hour and a half drive from the Primanti Bros. in Sunrise.

He was at Primanti's for an event hosted by Steelers Nation Unite, a fan club run by the Steelers, on Oct. 15, the day before the Dolphins bested the Steelers, 30-15, at Hard Rock.

He won't be at Primanti Bros. this weekend, but he'll be rooting for the Steelers from his home.

He's a diehard Steelers supporter because the team represents the power of hard work, he said.

"The players the Steelers get are not necessarily big-name superstars coming into the game, but you get people like Heinz Ward, Antonio Brown and James Harrison that start from the bottom and work their way up to superstars," he said.

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