If you have grown up in Western Pennsylvania, you understand the significance of High School and Youth Sports in our area. It teaches a child from a young age the importance of teamwork, discipline, resiliency, and work ethic. It builds bonds between people that can last a lifetime. You may not realize it when you are young but playing an organized sport can prepare you for the real world. Just because you did not win a championship does not mean all the blood, sweat, and tears were all for nothing. These principles can build a foundation for an individual to be successful in whatever life path they choose.
High school and Youth Sports can also bring a community together. Ever hear the saying it is not about the result but about the journey? There is something special at any level about a team that makes a championship run at a title. The fans, the publicity, the journey itself. With that said, nestled in the heart of Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania is the Sports Grille, which brings all these concepts together. Its focus is on local athletes and has become a meeting place for athletes, parents, and coaches from around the area. The Sports Grille encourages coaches and players to bring Local Sports Memorabilia which they display with pride on the walls. You do not have to be a sports fan to enjoy the Sports Grille, anyone is welcome that wants a great meal, excellent service, and an inviting, laid-back atmosphere. It is not your typical bar food either, the Sports Grille features homemade dishes with locally sourced ingredients. Let us explore what makes this establishment such a hit in Cranberry Township and the surrounding area.
The vision – It is not often when speaking to a restaurant owner that the customer experience comes before the food. It is not to say the food is not amazing, which I will break down in detail shortly. It just gives you an idea of the extreme passion Youngstown, Ohio native Sean Pregibon has for giving his customers the ultimate dining experience. Sean’s motto is leading with hospitality, from the time you enter, to the time you leave, your experience is top-notch.
First things first – This is not your typical Sports Bar food. The food at the sports grille is unique, well thought out, and seasoned to perfection. The result is food that is full of flavor. The goal at the Sports Grille is that every item on the menu is unique and is just as flavorful in its own way as the other. Let us look at some unique dishes.
Chicken Wings – the base and key to any delicious Chicken Wing is it needs to be extra crispy, and the chicken needs to be fresh. The Sports Grille accomplishes both. They use a secret dry rub that is so flavorful, you can eat them plain and they are delicious. For traditionalist, they have your standard mild and hot buffalo sauce. Take it up a notch and try one of their feature flavors such as Mango ParmRanch. You may be intimidated by Mango, not to fear, the other flavors balance out the taste with just the right amount of saltiness and kick that leaves a pleasant taste on your palate. Finish it off with a side of their Homemade Garlic Ranch which combines numerous flavors to give you a thick, rich ranch dressing which is sure to impress.
The Burgers – Burgers are simple, but you need to get the base right. Sports Grille uses an 80/20 ratio of fresh ground beef which gives the right amount of fat to keep the burger juicy. They bind it together with an egg and their favorite sauces, which gives you a burger patty that will taste good with any topping. One of their feature burgers is a Bacon Mignon Burger featuring 5 strips of bacon.
The Philly Cheesesteak – The key to the Philly Cheesesteak is that all the toppings should be balanced, one component should not overshadow the other. You want everything to come together to create an unmistakable Cheesesteak flavor. Sports Grille achieves this element. You can get an Authentic Philly Cheesesteak or take it up a notch with the Loaded Pittsburgh Philly which features mushrooms, onions, peppers, swiss, mozzarella, American, and garlic ranch. The locals say that after one bite, you will be blown away by the flavor.
Baby Back Ribs – The sleeper item on the menu. These are not just any ordinary plain ribs with barbecue slathered on them. They use their own unique dry rub, then slow bake them so the ultimate tenderness is achieved. Finish it with your choice of sauce which features barbecue, strawberry, Jack Daniels, dry rub, or hot BBQ. The initial flavor is immense, followed by a slight bit of heat on the back end. They literally fall off the bone.
The Sports Grille also has great appetizers, salads, sandwiches, and pizza. These all go great with a side of their famous waffle fries. They also have around 20 drafts on tap, a lot being Craft Beers.
The atmosphere – The theme is a relaxing and inviting, family atmosphere. Upon entering you will notice the cleanliness of the establishment. There is plenty of space and the Sports Grille features multiples rooms which can serve different functions. The Events Room can host parties, celebrations, Business Lunches, Class Reunions, and Fantasy Drafts. The Outdoor Patio lets you enjoy the Summer and Fall weather while enjoying your favorite band. The Sports Grille also has a Kid’s Play Area which lets kids play and meet other children while mom and dad can enjoy some much-needed alone time. If you pay close attention, you will see such a wide variety of sports memorabilia displayed with pride featuring youth and high school athletes and college and pro athletes as well. It is exceedingly rare to have 3 signed NHL Jerseys by arguably 3 of the best NHL players to ever take the ice, Mario Lemieux, Sydney Crosby, and Evgeni Malkin.
The Sports Grille at Cranberry Final Take:
UNMATCHED HOSPITALITY and DELICIOUS, HOMEMADE FOOD UNITES THE CRANBERRY TOWNSHIP and SURROUNDING AREA
My final take. At the end of the day, it all comes down to treating people right. Much like sports, when you take a genuine interest in giving your customer the ultimate hospitality experience, the rest will fall into place. When you bring a relentless level of enthusiasm and excitement about your mission every day, people take notice. Leaders lead by example, and Sean Pregibon is no exception. His enthusiasm filters throughout his staff, and they will give you excellent customer service. Those that are regulars know this place is a hidden gem, and if you have not tried it yet, make your way to Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania. Whether you are traveling Interstate 79, the Turnpike, or the Red Belt, the road to hospitality and delicious homemade food awaits!