Tough as Steel, Bar Owner Bounces Back From Fire

EXETER — After one local tavern keeper lost his Steelers bar to a fire, he needed some teamwork to get back in business.

“They smashed the window, and it was like a big bomb, it was gone it was just gone,” said bar owner, Francesco “Cuz” Stuppino.

When Cuz’s Bar and Grill in Luzerne County went up in flames fire last April, owner Francesco “Cuz” Stuppino felt like all was lost.

Just a few of his beloved Pittsburgh Steelers collectibles could be saved, and his insurance only covered the basics.

The 67 year old who still makes pasta sauce from scratch every Sunday thought it might be time to retire, until a member of the Steel City Mafia Fan Club got the word out.

“Regular people began sending letters from all over. I got them from Arizona, I got them from Alaska, with a $25 donation because we started a Cuz’s fire fund,” said Stuppino.

What really turned things around for Francesco was a letter from Steelers great Jack Lambert. It said, “Heard you had some bad luck. Pick yourself up, and get back in the fight.”

Almost every item in the bar has a story behind it about someone who reached out to help. There is a jersey, a one of a kind Steelers jukebox, a letter from owner Art Rooney and not to mention his staff and girlfriend Maureen.

“My daughter Francesca, my ex-wife Maria, and my mother who 93 years old, they are all behind me.”

For Cuz the bar built of golden wood can’t be clean enough.

Occasionally he takes a moment to sit in a seat from Three Rivers Stadium, and realize the place he thought went up in smoke turned out better than he could imagine.

“It came together, my Steeler dream, what more can I say.” said Stuppino.

More visits by players are scheduled for next weekend, and no matter what football team you like, it’s hard not to root for a guy who as you can see really put his heart into this comeback.

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