The Truth About Peyton, Jeter & St. Elmo

Correcting <em>Sports Illustrated</em>’s anecdote about the sports legends and one legendary steakhouse.
A decade ago, Peyton Manning suited up for Monday Night Football against the San Diego Chargers with a chance to break the all-time record for touchdown passes in a season. So a few close friends were in attendance at the RCA Dome, and after Manning made history (on the way to his second NFL MVP), the group celebrated at No. 18’s favorite haunt, St. Elmo Steak House.
Manning’s buddy Derek Jeter was there, as Archie Manning recalled to Sports Illustrated’s Peter King this week. The column quotes Archie as saying, “That night may have been the only night ever that [Indianapolis restaurant] St. Elmo opened for two people to have dinner: Peyton and Derek.” Well, not quite. “It almost sounds like Jeter and Peyton were sitting down at a candlelit dinner, and that really wasn’t the case,” says St. Elmo spokesman Bryn Jones.
Papa Manning can be forgiven for chucking a few details after all these years, but the St. Elmo staff still remember how that night unfolded. Yes, the restaurant did open specially for Manning after the game—because back then, Jones says, the restaurant usually closed by 11. An entourage (including Jill Huse, the wife of St. Elmo owner Craig Huse, pictured here with Jeter, and Manning with his back turned) showed up to toast the quarterback’s major achievement, and they huddled in the bar while the grill cook who stayed late sent out heavy apps and sliders.
It wasn’t the only time the restaurant has catered to a celeb’s late-night schedule. During the Super Bowl, Jimmy Fallon showed up at 1 a.m. and kept the joint open for a couple of hours. Manning could usually just let himself in, though. “He had his own elevator code,” Jones says. “Sometimes we didn’t know he was here. He’d have to text to say, ‘Hey, can you send a server downstairs?’”