By Karen Hendricks | Photography by Casey Martin
A combination of history, America’s favorite pastime, a hometown hero, an all-star menu and community good adds up to a home run of a restaurant.
That’s the belief of Steve Rasmussen, the new owner of Gettysburg Eddie’s, who purchased the longtime Steinwehr Avenue eatery from original owner Bill Wills in February 2022.
“I always wanted to own my own business,” says Steve, 51. “I joked with Bill for years to let me buy in, and every so often we would chat about it. Funny enough, I sent him a message on April Fool’s Day 2021, and once we started talking, we worked it through.”
Gettysburg Eddie’s lineup—its personnel as well as the menu—continues the restaurant’s legacy.
First, it pays homage to Major League Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Eddie Plank of Gettysburg with plenty of historic sports memorabilia inside. Second, the eatery’s classic menu of all-American favorites continues, albeit with a few tweaks. And third, one of Steve’s priorities is to incorporate more community ties.
Steve has a career streak of 24 years at Adams Electric, including the past 17 as CEO. Although he never worked in the restaurant industry, he says his accounting background and leadership skills serve him well.
“Because of the staff and team, I’m working with people who care about the business,” he says. “The lessons you learn for leadership, you can apply anywhere. And that includes surrounding yourself with people smarter than you, because you can’t do everything yourself—you have to rely on others on the team.”
That team includes Cassie Probst, 33, Gettysburg Eddie’s general manager, who started as a host when she was 16. The restaurant was known as The Gingerbread Man since the mid-80s, one of about 20 locations throughout Pennsylvania and Maryland. Then-owner Bill Wills had the vision to revamp the restaurant into Gettysburg Eddie’s in 2009.
“He had this great concept of history and baseball history,” Cassie says. “Either people already know about Eddie Plank or they get to learn about him. And the menu has all the fan favorites.”
Covering the Bases
Homemade soups—Crab and Shrimp Bisque, Ham and Bean, French Onion and Chili—are among those favorite dishes. And it’s the homemade touches that add sizzle to the lineup.
The most popular salad is Southwest Salad, a full plate of local greens, blackened chicken, tomatoes, red onions, corn and black beans, with tortilla strips on top. But the star of the plate is on the side: homemade lime-cilantro vinaigrette dressing.
Hand-cut steaks are a Gettysburg Eddie’s tradition, and the no-filler Crab Cake is a longtime hit. The Hometown Hero, filled with Italian meats and cheeses, comes together thanks to the homemade olive and roasted red pepper spread. Steve’s favorite dish? Firecracker Shrimp Tacos that include sriracha slaw.
“We’ve always been known for our wings because ours are crispier, with sauce on the side,” says Cassie. “And our drink menu has something for everyone, from Pennsylvania beers to non-alcoholic seltzers and seasonal cocktails.”
Gettysburg Haze, a year-round signature cocktail, is a purple concoction of vodka, triple sec, raspberry Schnapps, cranberry and orange juices.
For dessert, there’s Homemade Peanut Butter Pie, which pairs deliciously with a Chocolate Martini.
A Gem of an Idea
The second floor of Gettysburg Eddie’s is now the Jewel Box Lounge, one of Steve’s newly implemented visions.
“I thought of the name while I was doing research. At the time Eddie Plank pitched, the second floors of ballparks were known as jewel boxes,” Rasmussen explains. “Having the Jewel Box Lounge will allow us to hold more events, to rent it out privately, have live music and trivia up here, plus football Sundays.”
One day a month, Gettysburg Eddie’s holds a community partner day and donates a percentage of that day’s sales to a nonprofit organization. Past partners include the Adams County Library System and South Central Community Action Programs (SCCAP). January’s partner is the Arc of York and Adams County; February and March partners are the Adams County Children’s Advocacy Center and Gettysburg High School boys’ lacrosse team, respectively.
“Community involvement is really important,” Steve says. “And we’re going to continue what Bill always strived for, and that’s good quality service and quality of food.”
217 Steinwehr Ave., Gettysburg
Who was Gettysburg Eddie?
Adams County native Eddie Plank was born in 1875 on his family’s farm north of Gettysburg. At age 17, he began playing baseball for local Adams County teams. He attended Gettysburg Academy, affiliated with Gettysburg College, where he caught the attention of college pitching coach Frank Foreman. From 1900-01, Plank pitched for Gettysburg College, and after that short stint, he was signed—by Connie Mack—to pitch for Major League Baseball’s Philadelphia Athletics. He would go on to become a Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher nicknamed “Gettysburg Eddie.”
Eddie Plank’s stats are notched into the record books:
The first left-handed pitcher to win 300 games;
Currently ranks third in all-time wins among left-handed pitchers (13th on the all-time wins list) with 326 career victories; and
Remains first in all-time career shutouts by a left-handed pitcher with 66.
He is buried in Evergreen Cemetery, fittingly within sight of Gettysburg Eddie’s.