What’s the key to beating the Steelers? Maybe having a beer from the oldest brewery in the world.
That’s what Carson Wentz did the night before he wowed the city — and NFL fans around the nation — with his third stellar outing as Eagles QB, racking up his first career 300-yard passing game on the way to Philly’s 34-3 rout of Pittsburgh on Sunday.
No telling if it’s destined to become a ritual, but Wentz had his Saturday night pre-game meal at the Belgian Cafe in Fairmount.
When Wentz came in around 8:30 with a date — likely longtime sweetheart Melissa Uhrich — and another couple and sat down at the end of the long mahogany bar, he had trouble deciding what kind of beer to order. He knew he wanted a traditional German hefeweizen, which left him to choose between Franziskaner Hefeweizen or a Weihenstephaner Hefeweizen. And bartender Chris Carrara knew exactly where to lead him.
“Weihenstephaner is the oldest continuously-run brewery in the world,” Carrara told the rookie, immediately selling him on the deal. His date went with seltzer, and the couple they were sitting with went for a Chimay and a cocktail.
When it came time to order food, Wentz made one of many right moves of the weekend: He ordered mussels. Specifically, the “Django” mussels, tossed with garlic, pear, bacon and blue cheese and served with Belgian frites and bourbon mayo dipping sauce — the same ones that have gained acclaim at the bar’s sister restaurant, world-renowned beer emporium Monk’s Cafe.
Also on the pre-game menu: Veggie wings. Yes, the North Dakota prairie boy who loves hunting game (he was out on a hunt when he got the call that Bradford had been traded and he was moved up to starting QB) relied on seitan to get fueled up for the big day.
The Belgian Cafe doesn’t serve regular chicken wings at all, in fact, so maybe Wentz was just craving finger food. More important to him than whether the “wings” had bones in them was that they weren’t spicy, per Carrara, who recommended the ones tossed in ginger-soy “Mongolian” sauce.
“I can see why he wouldn’t want to eat spicy food before a game,” Carrara says, noting that Wentz cleaned his plate.
During their meal, which lasted around an hour and a half, a few people nudged and whispered about the budding sports star sitting in the corner, but no one actually approached him for an autograph or selfie.
After Sunday’s performance, that very well may change.
So, a note to the the Chiefs: Maybe you want to make a detour and snag a beer in Philly on your way to playing in Pittsburgh next week. Or at least seek out a bar that has Weihenstephaner on its beer list.
And to the Belgian Cafe: We aren’t sure if this is going to become a pre-game superstition, but if it’ll help him play anything like he did on Sunday, please make sure you keep Weihenstephaner in stock.