If you ask anyone who grew up in the 1980s to name a wrestler, Hulk Hogan and Macho Man Randy Savage come to mind. However, one wrestler made a HUGE impact on many fans, young and old, male and female.
Andre the Giant was a wrestler born in France who not just only wrestled, but was also known for acting roles including a Sasquatch in the TV series “The Six Million Dollar Man” and Fezzik in “The Princess Bride.”
The last time Andre the Giant was in Dayton was on May 4, 1989, in a WWF match at Hara Arena. Fast forward 30 years, and May 19, 2019 would have been the wrestler’s 73rd birthday had he not died of congestive heart failure in 1993.
“His name is one of the first you think of when you think of old school wrestling,” said Jimmie’s Ladder 11 Manager Brad Hull.
“Entrée the Giant. I don’t know. It just popped in my head and I posted it on Facebook and it got 100 likes in an hour,” said Manager Nick Brandell.
And that’s how the first Andre the Giant’s birthday party event at Jimmie’s Ladder 11 was born.
“It’s like right there, so we kicked it [the idea] around for a little bit and decided it would be a great way to kick off our patio music. And do something weird that we can have fun with and people can show up and laugh,” Brandell said.
The birthday party will be held on Sunday, May 19, starting at 11 a.m. and lasting until 10 p.m. Special menus will be available along with drink specials, wrestling trivia and patio music.
The bar has patio music every Sunday in May, June, July and August from 5-8 p.m. This event will start off the summer long music sessions, and the three musicians who will perform May 19 are all wrestling fans.
“It was encouraged when booking that they be wrestling fans,” said Brandell. Those performing are Richard Reuter, Matt Hosay and Gee Gee Bradley.
The special menus include The Underbaker’s Desserts with such items as Tombstone Tiramisu and Paul Bearer’s Peanut Butter Pie. The main menu features Rowdy Roddy Poppers and The Hulk Hoagie.
And then there’s the Entrée the Giant. This dinner includes a 20-ounce porterhouse steak with a baked potato, a side and a draft beer for $46.
“It’s $46 because Andre was 46 when he died,” Hull said.
Jimmie’s Ladder 11 is also partnering with other local companies including Warped Wing and Toxic Brew Company. Bonbright Distributors is responsible for getting a life-size poster of Andre the Giant printed.
The poster will be up during the event, so that patrons can take photos with it. There is also a championship belt that says Jimmie’s Ladder 11 that can be used as a prop. People are also encouraged to dress up as their favorite wrestler.
“We want people to come in and get a laugh. Take a picture with the cut out and eat some good food. This is a cool laid-back event,” Brandell said.
The bar has hosted themed events like this one in the past with success. Legends Day, which was Aug. 16, is the day that Babe Ruth, Aretha Franklin, Robert Johnson and Elvis Presley all died. They have also celebrated Bob Marley and Johnny Cash’s birthdays.
“We always try to have a themed menu. We are punny,” Hull said.
The Andre the Giant menu is no exception. Reservations are encouraged, but are not required. To make reservations all 937-424-1784, and come celebrate Andre and the old school era of wrestling, no matter who you are.
“It’s nostalgic. It’s funny. It’s serious men dressed in costumes wearing ridiculous outfits beating each other to these crazy story lines. It’s simplicity and absurdity create this amazing duality that works. And it works for all different types of people,” Brandell said.
WANT TO GO?
What: Andre the Giant’s birthday party
When: Sunday, May 19, starting at 11 a.m. and lasting until 10 p.m
Where: Jimmie’s Ladder 11, 936 Brown St.
Cost: Free admission
More info: Facebook