Grille 565 offers good food, good times in Bellevue

Grille 565 owners Gary and Jennifer Cirlingione and Mike Welsh. Photo by Tom Steiner for The Citizen

The owners of Grille 565 have strong ties to the area, and they hope to make them even stronger by attracting diners to the restaurant that is named for its address: 565 Lincoln Avenue.

Jennifer Cirlingione, husband Gary Cirlingione, and Mike Welsh also have strong ties to the restaurant business, with over 60 years of combined experience among them, much of it at the former Ohio River Boulevard eatery, Burgers Wagon Wheel, as well as at Sunny Jim's and the Primadonna, formerly in McKees Rocks.

Recalling the Wagon Wheel years, Jennifer said, "We loved that place! I served and bartended, Gary was the chef, and Mike cooked, served and tended bar, too. Yes, that is where the love story began!"

The chance to regroup as a restaurant trio came when one of Gary's friends who owns the building contacted him. "I was doing some catering for him when the last restaurant closed. At that time, a chef was trying to rent it, but he backed out. The opportunity was there and we took it," Gary said.

While there have been three restaurants in this location over the past few years, the new proprietors don't worry about any problems they may have had.

"Bellevue is moving in the right direction, and we want to be moving right along," Gary said. "I just wish more people knew about us. We've been open since July and lots of people still don't even know we're here."

Grille 565 seats just over 40 diners in a space that Jennifer describes as being "cool," and through her efforts, as well as Gary's and Mike's, a growing clientele indicates that people are starting to know that they are there.

"The restaurant holds senior night specials on Tuesdays, with a menu that offers liver and onions, senior-portioned fish sandwiches and chicken breast. We've hosted an Animal Friends fund-raiser and we're planning a wine-tasting event and a dinner-mystery theater evening," Jennifer said. "We're always thinking of new things to do."

In addition to appealing to senior citizens, there is another type of senior night, as well, when the Northgate football boosters treat senior players and coaches to dinner every Thursday throughout the season. "It's a nice incentive for the kids," Gary said. "We don't make much money on it, but they love it," he added.

Jennifer describes the food they love as being "American contemporary casual, if I had to classify. We want to serve good food that people actually like and at reasonable prices. Steak, fish sandwiches, homemade soups, stuffed meatballs -- as a special --pasta Italiano with fresh vegetables."

Another specialty of the house is the grilled romaine salad comprised of romaine hearts seasoned with olive oil and sea salt and then chargrilled with the choice of ahi tuna, steak or chicken, along with feta cheese and topped with a balsamic glaze.

Other menu offerings include ahi tuna, crab mac and cheese, rib eye steaks and "Steak Wednesdays.”

The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day but Monday, and a brunch buffet served on Sundays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

In addition to the restaurant, there is 565 Live, a downstairs party room that exudes an "in-spot" atmosphere. The décor features contemporary art prints, a small stage area where one almost expects a young Miles Davis to set up and belt out an early version of "So What," posters of Rolling Stones and Beatles concerts.

"People are surprised when they see this room, Jennifer said. "And they love it. It's a great place to have a good time, rentable for parties or small wedding receptions."

Among the other good times at 565 will be a “Prohibition” party following the Bellevue House Tour on May 9, starting after 6 p.m. "Dress up like a gangster and get free drinks!" Gary said.

"And there are 'Free Beer Fridays,'" Mike added. "You can just walk in and ask for a beer and we'll give you one. No need to buy anything."

The trio believes that they are making steady progress. "The winter was tough, but we're going in the right direction," Gary said.

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