People of Pittsburg: Bobby “Bobby G” Gardullo
The bartending firefighter
Val Vita | Managing Editor
Bobby Gardullo is known as “Bobby G, the bartender” or “Firefighter Bob.” Gardullo is the owner of JST Bobby G’s, a bar at 108 Sixth St., which opened in May. He runs the place at night, after he finishes his shift as captain of the Pittsburg Fire Department.
“I have been a bartender for 31 years,” Gardullo said. “It was my dream to open my own bar. I wanted to do it before I turned 50, and I’m 49.”He says his brother-in-law, John Kutz, owns the building, which used to be a hookah lounge, and offered him the opportunity to build the bar there. Gardullo decided that 2012 was the right time to make his dream come true. He says the bar will give him the chance to have his own place after he retires from the fire station, which will be in about six years.
Gardullo says his wife, Susan, Kutz and Kutz’ fiancée, Terri Steele, are partners in the bar. Their initials are used for the name JST Bobby G’s. In addition, two of Bobby and Susan’s daughters are waitresses at the bar, and PSU students.
The decorations at JST Bobby G’s include items from the historic Hotel Stilwell and the Pittsburg Masonic Temple. There are also around 20 $1 bills on the ceiling. Gardullo says the idea for that came from a bar in Florida where people sign a $1 bill that goes on the ceiling. He says that bar already has $1 million in dollar bills.
“We are going to try to get our million dollars,” he said, jokingly.
Gardullo says several Pitt State students are regulars at his bar. The younger crowd, he says, prefer Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday nights, when there is live music. On Wednesdays, the band Deadeye always performs. Deadeye is an all-girl band whose members go to Pitt State.
His older customers usually show up earlier, like the ones who were there on a recent Monday, when Gardullo was giving this interview. He served all the clients and talked to them about the football game on TV. Gardullo, a New York Jets fan, says he enjoys watching football.
Gardullo was born in New Jersey, and met his wife in New York when she graduated from nursing school. At the time, Susan says, her husband was working as a bartender at a resort.
“He started as a dishwasher, working his way up to bartending,” Susan said. “He was a volunteer firefighter during these years of bartending in New York. At our wedding, his fellow firefighters had the trucks outside the church and put on the sirens when we left the church.”
For Gardullo, being a firefighter is more than a job.
“I like helping people, it’s a respectful job,” he said.
The couple settled here because Susan’s family lives in Kansas, and being close to family is important to him.
“Bobby came from a broken home,” Susan said. “His father left his mom and him when he was 2. You would think that it would make him a dad with no good role model, but it’s just the opposite.
“His three girls are his world, and he is a wonderful dad.”
Gardullo divides his time between his family, the bar and the fire station, where he normally works from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
“It’s good, it keeps me busy,” Gardullo said.
He also loves music, Susan says. She says that’s a good quality, because he married into a musical family: her parents are the owners of Kutz Music.
“Bobby is a true people person,” Susan said. “He really cares and loves to be around people. I never send him out to do errands because what usually should take maybe half an hour turns out being three hours because he stops and talks to everybody he knows.”