The popular steakhouse is owned by Don Shula, the NFL coach with the most wins ever. For sports fans, it's a tough choice: do you watch the big baseball playoff game or Monday Night Football? If you had 84 television sets, like the new Shula's Steak 2 restaurant, it wouldn't be a problem -- you could see both and chomp on a steak at the same time. More than 400 people, including Philadelphia Mayor Ed Rendell and numerous University officials, joined legendary pro football coach Don Shula last night at the Penn-owned Sheraton University City hotel for the restaurant's official opening. The event also raised money for Eagles Fly for Leukemia and the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Shula said he decided to enter the restaurant business about a decade ago because it reminded him of coaching football. He retired from the game in 1995 with 347 wins, the most in National Football League history. "As a coach, you want to win every game," Shula said in an interview last week. "In a restaurant, you want to win every meal." "Management, motivation and attention to detail are important to coaching and important to restaurants," the 68-year-old added. Guests, who paid $100 each to attend the benefit, entered the spacious restaurant -- located in the former Smart Alex space at 36th and Chestnut streets -- through a ballroom arch in the shape of a goalpost. Once they got inside, they could not miss seeing one of the TVs -- many of them big-screen -- that lined the walls of the eatery and hung from the ceiling. Some screens glowed with images of football's Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Detroit Lions, while the rest showed the Chicago Cubs battling the San Francisco Giants for a spot in the baseball playoffs. When not watching the games, party attendees examined the extensive collection of sports memorabilia displayed on the restaurant's walls. A pair of Willie Mays' cleats, a basketball signed by former Philadelphia 76ers legend Julius Erving, a jersey autographed by Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Curt Schilling and signed pictures of everyone from Rosie O'Donnell to Tommy Lasorda were among the items that adorned the walls. Waiters circulated throughout the room with trays of stuffed potato skins, onion rings and chicken fingers. Party guests also enjoyed roast beef, shrimp, pasta, mini-cheesesteaks, fruit and cheese at stations located throughout the restaurant. To wash all the food down, patrons took advantage of a large bar located along the restaurant's north wall. Shula, the winningest coach in NFL history and a Football Hall of Fame inductee, opened his first restaurant in his hometown of Miami Lakes, Fla., almost 10 years ago. Since then, he has opened eleven other restaurants in cities across the country, including Miami Beach; Tampa, Fla.; Indianapolis; Baltimore; and Cleveland. But Shula said his newest restaurant had a special place in his heart since it was in the city where his Miami Dolphins defeated the Philadelphia Eagles to give Shula his record-breaking 325th victory. The ball from that game, as well as the ball from Shula's final game in 1995 as the coach of the Dolphins, are on display in the restaurant. But Shula has not rested on his laurels since retiring from football. In addition to opening his chain of restaurants, he was part of one of the ownership groups that unsuccessfully bid for the new Cleveland Browns franchise. Even though he is not directly involved, Shula still keeps up with the NFL. He said that professional football "is more popular than it has ever been," but that "free agency has hurt the game some."Comments powered by Disqus
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