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Lincoln Square Steak: A Unique Steakhouse in a Neighborhood That Needs It

Lincoln Square Steak: A Unique Steakhouse in a Neighborhood That Needs It

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Lincoln Square Steak has officially opened on the Upper West Side, a sprawling restaurant that serves some very good steak and looks like it could be out of any decade except for the current one, in a good way.

The restaurant is divided into two rooms: the front is a large bar and lounge where a pianist can usually be found playing a baby grand, and beyond that is an even bigger bi-level dining room. You can call the décor “boudoir-chic;” all deep reds and chandeliers, and Déco touches like a ‘30s-style mural along the entire back wall depicting nattily dressed couples on the town. It’s a place where both high-rollers and couples on a date will feel right at home, and that front room looks like it belongs in a hotel lobby from a Hitchcock movie.

The menu is rather straightforward. Appetizers include sizzling Canadian bacon, onion soup, and crab cakes; salads include tomato and mozzarella, classic Caesar, and beet; and there’s a raw bar that seems obligatory. Twenty-eight-day dry-aged steaks include a 24-ounce ribeye, a 24-ounce bone-in strip steak, and a Porterhouse for two, three, or four people. Other options for carnivores include a hanger steak, 16-ounce filet mignon, braised short ribs, pork or veal chop, lamb chops, a 12-ounce burger, or a roast half chicken.

There’s also a smattering of fish and shellfish (grilled branzino, blackened swordfish) andfamily-style Italian platters (lasagna; Parm of the chicken, eggplant, and veal varieties), but I suggest you stick with the steaks. They’re generously portioned (you don’t see a 16-ounce filet too often), properly seasoned and cooked, and served with a solid variety of sauces.

There were a couple glitches, but none that can’t be easily fixed if they aren’t already: the plates the steaks were served on were about two sizes too small, the “charred Brussels sprouts” didn’t actually show much in the way of char, and sides arrived about 15 minutes after entrées. But where it matters — the décor and ambiance, level of service, and quality of the meat — they hit the nail on the head. Upper West Siders, you’ve finally got a quality steakhouse.

A history of celebrity-owned restaurants in the Chicago area

The week before The Squared Circle opened in mid-March, owner and pro wrestler Lisa Marie Varon — better known as Victoria during her WWE days and Tara currently with TNA wrestling — sat in a corner booth of her Lincoln Park restaurant, conducting one of many interviews that month without having served a single gourmet burger or non-traditional pizza.

The media interest had little to do with the food itself, at least not initially. The story was the owner, who would soon be splitting her time between body-slamming opponents on Spike TV’s “Impact Wrestling” and greeting customers at her North Ashland Avenue restaurant.

Varon knows the game. She was well aware that’s why media outlets were speaking to her in the first place, and why wrestling fans would give the place a chance — and she was OK with that. The restaurant, after all, is named The Squared Circle, a wrestling term used to describe the four-sided ring. Its wooden plank walls, still bare at that point in March, would eventually be decorated with autographed photos of wrestlers and framed wrestling tights.

Besides, Varon, who previously owned a gyro stand in Lombard and a pizzeria in Louisville, Ken., acknowledged how hard it would have been to build this sort of buzz around another pizza joint in Chicago before it opened had it not been for her unusual backstory.

“Very hard,” said Varon as her husband and co-owner, Lee Varon, put together appliances in the kitchen. “Chicago is a restaurant town. There’s so much competition here. … I think the media finds (my story) unique. They think of wrestlers as knuckleheads: no brain and all brawn. They’re shocked a wrestler can open a business.”

The Squared Circle is just the latest in the long list of Chicago restaurants with celebrity owners and investors. It joins RPM Italian and the upcoming RPM Steak in River North, both co-owned by “The Apprentice” winner Bill Rancic and his wife, and “E! News” host Giuliana Toby Keith's I Love This Bar & Grill in Rosemont, named after the country singer and his 2003 hit song, “I Love This Bar” Belly Q in West Town, which calls Bulls legend Michael Jordan an investor the short-lived Alain's in the South Loop, which quietly counted the Bears' Israel Idonije as an investor Giordano's, the Chicago-based pizza chain founded in 1974, which last year added the Bulls' Derrick Rose as an investor and Big Hurt Brew House, named after White Sox legend Frank Thomas (aka “The Big Hurt”), which is scheduled to open in Berwyn early next year.

These types of restaurants have had a steady presence on the Chicago-area dining scene the past few decades, not counting the celebrity chef trend that has exploded in recent years, and generally rely on their star power to help get customers in the door a first time. Most lasted fewer than five years, as is often the case with restaurants. But the ones that thrive have helped keep the trend alive and inspire others.

Taking the plunge

What makes these celebrities want to get involved in the restaurant industry? The reasons vary. Some are looking for a way to invest part of that multimillion-dollar contract they just signed, some crave the glamour and perks of having a restaurant to call their own — or maybe even a table (Jordan and his family had their own private dining room on the second floor of the now-closed Michael Jordan’s The Restaurant in River North). These sorts of establishments are often a shrine to the celebrity, from the decor to the menu, and help feed their ego. And it has been that way a long time.

“Ego is a biggie,” former Bear Gary Fencik told the Tribune in 1993, five years after selling his share in The Hunt Club, formerly on North Clybourn Avenue. Fencik was one of at least eight members of the Super Bowl champion 1985 Bears who opened or invested in restaurants. “It was a great way to meet people — and all these people are partying at my place. I got off on that. I even met my wife, Sandy, at The Hunt Club. But you can't ride on ego forever.”

Bill Rancic — who worked security in high school at the now-closed Mike T’s in Orland Park, a nightclub for teenagers owned by former Bears backup Mike Tomczak — said he was inspired to open RPM Italian by his mother-in-law’s cooking. Her food was a big hit with friends and seemed like it could translate well into the restaurant business.

“We thought ‘Wouldn’t it be fun to take her recipes and open up a restaurant?’” said Rancic, who originally envisioned a smaller restaurant, possibly on Southport Avenue, than the 8,000-square-foot space he and Giuliana settled on. “Obviously, it was a risk financially and from a reputation standpoint. But we really negated the risk by choosing the right partners.”

The Rancics’ partners are R.J., Jerrod and Molly Melman — the siblings behind Hub 51, Paris Club and Bub City in River North — and chef Doug Psaltis. In addition to the Melmans’ experience, the restaurant benefits from the exposure it receives on the Style Network reality show “Giuliana & Bill.” The cameras were rolling during the months leading up to RPM Italian’s opening and have continued to document the couple’s dealings with the restaurant.

“As we told our chef, we may be able to get people through the door once, but it’s up to Doug to get them to come back three, four or 20 times,” Bill Rancic said.

The majority of the 15 or so current and former athletes who invested in The Fifty/50, on the other hand, do little to no promotion for the Ukrainian Village sports bar and restaurant. That’s because so few of them have been revealed publicly. In fact, they were never originally part of the plan when managing partners Scott Weiner and Greg Mohr were kicking around the idea of opening their own place in 2007. It wasn’t until former Bear John Gilmore — who, like many athletes, befriended Weiner and Mohr while they were working at jock favorite Joe’s Stone Crab — learned of their plans and wanted in that they began considering the idea.

Eventually, they had professional football, basketball, baseball and hockey players on board, not to mention Mohr’s brother-in-law’s good friends, Tom and Todd Ricketts, who went on to purchase the Cubs in 2009. (Mohr said some athletes had to back out due to a clause in their contracts that prevented them from appearing on a liquor license.) The New York Yankees’ Curtis Granderson has served as the face of The Fifty/50’s investors promotion-wise, most of whom also later invested in Mohr’s and Weiner’s other projects: West Town Bakery, the neighboring Roots Handmade Pizza and its upstairs restaurant, Homestead in Ukrainian Village.

“It was less about us asking and more about them inquiring,” Mohr said of the Fifty/50’s investors. “It’s a lot easier for sports guys to be interested in sports bars. It’s a little more attractive to them than investing in a mutual fund.”

Celebrity match game

For every one celebrity who wants to join the industry, there must be hundreds of restaurateurs and wannabe entrepreneurs hoping to work with a star on a restaurant concept. And why wouldn’t they? As with The Squared Circle, the partnership creates instant media attention and curiosity, among other benefits.

“The restaurant industry is very crowded and very competitive,” said Ron Paul, a restaurant industry consultant and president of the research firm Technomic. “It’s all about how you distinguish yourself and what’s different about you. Attaching a celeb is a way to gain publicity and credibility. That’s where being a winner is important. ‘This guy is a winner. Why would he put his name on it if it’s not top-notch?’”

It’s this sort of thinking that interested Giordano’s in working with the Bulls’ Derrick Rose, the 2011 NBA Most Valuable Player and 2009 Rookie of the Year. Giordano’s filed for bankruptcy in 2011 before Victory Park Capital boughts its assets later that year. It was in need of positive media coverage and reached out to Rose through his agent and former Bulls player B.J. Armstrong and convinced Rose to invest in the company.

“One of the biggest benefits is that we have associated ourselves with a person who is so well-known, not only for his talents in the sports profession, but also for his high integrity,” said Yorgo Koutsogiorgas, a Lettuce Entertain You veteran who was named president and CEO of Giordano’s last year.

“We want to be a brand of high integrity. We’re a home-grown brand like Derrick. We started in Chicago. When a consumer is considering ordering pizza for tonight’s dinner, Derrick may bring a degree of reassurance since he brings so much integrity to the game of basketball and his own life: ‘Maybe (Giordano’s is) also a brand with integrity.’”

Rose’s image is featured on Giordano’s menus, pizza boxes, billboards and online videos. Koutsogiorgas said there was an understanding that Rose would get involved in the restaurant’s advertising when the two sides were discussing an agreement, but he is not contractually obligated to do so.

Harry Caray’s Restaurant Group also understands the importance of associating itself with a celeb with credibility. The group’s first restaurant, on West Kinzie Street was originally supposed to be called H.I. Cobb, named after Henry Ives Cobb, the architect who designed the building and also the building that later housed the now-closed Excalibur nightclub. That idea was scrapped in favor of Harry Caray’s, named after the now deceased legendary White Sox-turned-Cubs announcer.

“No one knew who H.I. Cobb was,” said Grant DePorter, CEO of Harry Caray’s Restaurant Group. “But everyone knew who Harry was: ‘Cub fan, Bud man.’ His personality worked well for the restaurants. His entire life, he was either at the ballpark or at a restaurant or bar. A guy like that was perfect. I don’t know anyone better to model a restaurant after than someone who loved being with people.”

DePorter said liquor commission laws prevented Caray from being an investor because he was a Budweiser spokesman. The group compensated Caray and later his family through royalty sharing and allowed his wife, Dutchie, to become an investor in the late 1990s.

“Harry was the biggest promoter of the restaurant,” DePorter said. “He was always talking about the restaurant during Cubs games. If Ryne Sandberg hit a home run, Harry would say, ‘Hey everyone watching at Harry Caray’s — a round of Budweisers are on me.’ Or he would say he was going to the restaurant after the game.”

Harry Caray’s, considered to be the model for celebrity-connected restaurants by many of the people interviewed for this article, has five restaurants in the city and suburbs, including Harry Caray’s Tavern at Navy Pier. DePorter, not surprisingly, had no problem securing investors for the latter location. Actors James Denton, once a waiter at the Kinzie location, and Jeremy Piven and the Blackhawks’ Patrick Kane and NFL Hall of Famer Richard Dent are among the more notable names involved.

“They trust us,” DePorter said of the group’s famous investors. “Celebs want their reputation preserved. You see a lot of these restaurants close, and (even though) the celebrity could be a silent or limited partner they’re the ones making the headlines — not the restaurateur who owes half the town money.”

When things turn sour

Customers at celebrity restaurants aren’t the only ones who get excited about the star involved with the establishment. Sometimes the people the celebs partner with on the project are just as excited. As much as The Fifty/50 owners try not to flaunt their famous investors, Mohr, a huge sports fan, admits there is a thrill in working with pro athletes and seeing them bring in their famous friends (Granderson has brought Yankees teammate Derek Jeter to Roots twice), but he never lets his inner fanboy get in the way of business.

The same, however, couldn’t be said for the co-owner of possibly the most unique celeb restaurant in Chicago history: Steven Seagal’s.

James Pomerantz, who in the late 1980s teamed up with racecar driver Mario Andretti on the short-lived, auto racing-themed Formula One Cafe in Glenview, had been involved in martial arts for years when he decided he wanted to make his passion the theme of a new restaurant. He initially reached out to Chuck Norris with his proposal, but after Norris did not respond, Pomerantz tried fellow martial arts star Steven Seagal. Three to four months later, Seagal’s people responded and said the “Above the Law” and “Hard to Kill” actor was intrigued.

They later met in his trailer on the set of “Out for Justice” and hashed out a deal — against Seagal’s adviser’s wishes — that would allow Pomerantz and his fellow investors to use Seagal’s name. As part of the agreement, Seagal was supposed to get paid when the restaurant made a profit. Steven Seagal’s opened in 1991 (in the River North neighborhood building that is now home to Baume & Brix and The Grid) and was decorated with photos and movie posters featuring Seagal and martial arts weapons.

“It was cheesy-cool — like ‘Roadhouse,’” said Pomerantz, who now co-owns the six-year-old Bat 17 deli and pub in Evanston. “It was, like, a classic, cheesy, good, crappy movie. It was fun. And the food was great, kind of California-American cuisine.”

Seagal attended the grand opening, as did Oprah Winfrey and Walter Payton, according to Pomerantz, but the action star would not be seen at the restaurant again it closed two months later. Because Seagal never signed a contract, and was supposed to get paid from profits the restaurant never made, Pomerantz said Seagal never received a cent for the use of his name.

“I got wrapped up in the star part of it,” said Pomerantz. “I was 32 and going out to his ranch to meet him and not spending as much time putting the Xs and Os together. It was cool flying out to L.A. and having dinner with Seagal and my wife at restaurants and having everyone look at us. It was fun, but it took me away from what I should have been doing. It was underfinanced. The general rule is to have enough operating capital to last a year. Not everyone is Hub 51 and opens with a line out the door. This one is on my head.

“I also learned that if you’re going to have a restaurant with someone’s name on it and they’re not there on a consistent basis, that’s probably going to hurt you. You should get a local celebrity — not one who lives in California. That wasn’t the smartest plan in the world.”

Fire coach and ex-Fire player Frank Klopas can relate. The Mather High School alum admitted he should have visited The Pitch, the soccer-themed bar and restaurant he opened with friends in Lincoln Park in 2010, more often. The Pitch featured a Frank Klopas pizza, soccer memorabilia on the walls and “the beautiful game” playing on more than 30 flatscreen TVs. All that was missing was the soccer fans. The Pitch closed less than a year later.

“Nobody is going to care more than you,” said Klopas, who was the Fire’s technical director at the time and was often out of town for Fire games and out of the country for scouting. “You learn fast that you have to put a lot of time into it. I didn’t do that. You have to be there 24/7.”

(There are exceptions to the rule. You likely won’t find singer Jimmy Buffett at Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville in Navy Pier or legendary NFL coach Don Shula at Shula’s Steak House in the Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers or the Westin Chicago Northwest Hotel in Itasca, but they’re both also national restaurant chains that benefit from brand recognition and their tourist-heavy locations. Paul said tourists frequent celebrity restaurants often because they’re drawn to a name they recognize in an unfamiliar city.)

Klopas is in good company when it comes to closed celebrity restaurants. Chicago’s biggest stars have seen their restaurants come and go for various reasons, including talk show queen Oprah Winfrey (The Eccentric), rapper Kanye West (Fatburger in Orland Park and the Beverly neighborhood) and Chicago sports greats Jordan (Michael Jordan’s The Restaurant, One Sixtyblue), Walter Payton (America’s Brewpub in Aurora), Jim McMahon (Jim McMahon’s Restaurant in Lincoln Park, McMahon’s Steakhouse in Glenview) and Mike Ditka (Ditka’s on Ontario Street, Ditka Dogs in Naperville).

(Jordan bounced back locally with Belly Q and Michael Jordan’s Steak House in the Intercontinental Chicago hotel, and Ditka bounced back locally with Ditka’s in the Tremont Hotel and in Oakbrook Terrace.)

So what are the keys to succeeding as a celebrity restaurant?

The most common answer among expert restaurateurs was to put the emphasis on the food and service and not rely so much on the celeb’s star power. On the other hand, Pomerantz gave the Tribune a similar response in 1991 before Seagal’s opened, which tells you it’s much more complicated than that. It’s also important for both the celeb and their partners to understand the dedication and expertise required. And as Bill Rancic said of his partnership with the Melmans, celebs should probably leave the restaurant decisions to restaurant people.

According to DePorter, Caray had a harder time grasping this lesson.

“(Caray) let his views be known at every turn,” DePorter said. “A good example is, I think we were charging $20 for a steak and he wanted to charge $10. He wanted to be very fan-friendly on prime steaks. ‘But Harry, our cost is $15 on this steak.’ He says ‘Don’t worry about that, Grant. You’ll make it up in volume.’ He didn’t understand the economics. That’s why it would be dangerous if he were calling the shots. We would have closed in less than a week under Harry.”

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Ask anyone who's involved in the Dallas food scene what our signature dish is, and they'll pretty unanimously come up with one answer: steak. Even though Dallas restaurants have been throttling toward lighter, more produce-focused offerings, beef is still king. Or maybe, in the case of Dee Lincoln's Steak Bar, queen.

Dee Lincoln has been the long established "queen of steaks" in Dallas for decades. After co-founding Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steakhouse, Lincoln is now building a new breed of steakhouse in Dee Lincoln's Steak Bar. In the process, she's brought along Chef Andrew Powers for the ride. Powers' background in some of the country's best fine dining establishment may seem like an odd fit, but he's been beautifully executing her prime steaks and burgers since the Plano location opened in April. I sat down with Powers to talk working with Dee Lincoln, adapting to the clientele in the suburbs, and transitioning from haute fine dining to casual.

Can you tell us a little about your background and how you ended up working in Dallas?

I grew up in Seguin, Texas, right outside of San Antonio. I moved to Austin and worked with Jim McNeal at Austin Country Club and did a little stint there for a while. Then, I ended up in Dallas and worked with Dean Fearing at The Mansion before Rosewood sent me to the Caribbean for a few years. I was a banquet chef at a resort in St. John's Caneel Bay, but I came back when I met my wife and we had a child. We decided it would be better to raise our daughter in Dallas. I came back and worked as a chef de cuisine for a while, and then I got the opportunity to work with Robert Colombo at Trece and I ran that for a few years.

Then I decided to just kind of move around for a while. I moved to Utah and worked at the Waldorf-Astoria in Park Cities, then to Moab, where I ran a kind of upscale dude ranch. And then, of course, I moved back to Texas. I worked at the Magnolia Hotel for a while, and then I got the divine chance to work with Dee Lincoln's, where I've been here for about a year.

How did you and Dee Lincoln cross paths?

The chef at Dee's restaurant in Dallas, Julliard Ishizuka, is a longtime friend of mine. We worked together at The Mansion and remained friends afterward. When she was concepting the Howell Street location in Dallas, he called and asked what it would take to get me on his team. I met Dee and Julliard at the Bubble Bar, and we talked for hours about food. We had a really great interview, I came up with a few dishes for her to sample, and the rest is history.

How did you influence the menu here? What did you bring to Dee Lincoln's that is from your background?

Julliard did a really great job putting this menu together, so I just had to tweak a few things. I added some new appetizers to the menu, and worked a lot on the desserts. She had some recipes that just needed a little tweaking. Due to working with Dean Fearing, my style is very southwestern. I love working with Texas flavors. I love chiles, I love smoke, so I tried to introduce as much of that as I could on the menu. I'm also kind of getting in a Cajun/Louisiana influence here and there. It was great that they let me be really creative and put my own spin on the menu here in Plano.

I kind of think of Dee Lincoln as sort of the female Dean Fearing here in Dallas. Were you familiar with her history in the city when you took on this job?

Not really. I grew up on a wildlife ranch, and I kind of became a chef later in my life. I always knew I wanted to be a chef, but I really didn't know much about Dee. I knew Del Frisco's, but that was really about it. But as soon as I met her and told people I was working with Dee Lincoln, that's when the information started to pour in. That's when I learned that she was the queen of steaks. It wasn't like I didn't hear of her because no one told me, I just never asked. I was so focused on guys like Thomas Keller and Wolfgang Puck, but once I started to work with her, I realized how important she was to this scene. If Dean is the patriarch of the restaurant scene here, Dee is the matriarch.

Do you think that Dee kind of gets underrated in Dallas? Everyone seems to be focusing on Dean Fearing, Kent Rathbun, and Stephan Pyles as sort of the founding members of Dallas' growing culinary scene.

Actually, I think that's kind of okay. She doesn't really worry about that stuff, she just does what she does. She wants to be known for having a product that is always best-of-quality. She doesn't seem to care about having that spotlight, but she's always been known throughout her entire career for having great restaurants with great feel. I hold her in really high esteem because she knows everything, and I've learned a lot from her. I consider her that, so I guess it's fine if everybody else doesn't.

Was it difficult to transition between working in a lot of very fine dining-style establishments to a relatively casual steakhouse?

No. At the end of the day, I'm here to make sure that the customer has a great experience. Whether or not they had foie gras or a burger, it needs to be the best they've ever had. When you're young as a chef, you think you're only going to work with these ingredients like foie gras and caviar and lobster, but you have to really understand that chefs work for the consumer. That's the beauty of this place. We're just here to make sure that everybody who comes in here has a great experience, and hopefully they talk about us and say that the food is unbelievable.

In terms of pleasing the consumer, do you think there's a difference in what Dallas diners and Plano diners want?

There's a different demographic wherever you go. If you're in Uptown or Downtown or Plano or whatever, the demographics are all different. This concept is good for everyone, really. We do more steaks here, and an expanded seafood program, and they seem to do more burgers in Dallas. There are some differences, but there are some similarities that are very easy to translate.

What about palates? Does food have to be less spicy or adventurous out in the suburbs?

No way. The spices are the same are across the board. We're very far apart in terms of geography, but there are so many similarities. Uptown people aren't different than Plano people.

What did you have to adjust for this location based on Julliard's model?

There are a lot of families who come here, more so than the Uptown location. This is more of a neighborhood, but food-wise it's pretty much the same. We don't do a kids menu, but when kids come in, we can do chicken fingers or mac and cheese with no lobster. Surprisingly, though, most of those kids want steaks. I have a lot of kids who order eight ounce fliets, which is kind of unbelievable. We've had to be conscious to make sure that kids have plenty of options to choose from when they get here.

A lot of restaurants have been making the move to Plano. Why do you think there's such a migration here?

Uptown has so many choices now, so that's part of us. But the real reason is that this is Dee's backyard. She lives here, she has a great following here, so it just made sense. Everybody wants to open their restaurant in Downtown or Uptown because it's cool, but this was what was best for a second location of this restaurant. I think a lot of the other restaurants here are maybe just kind of jumping on the bandwagon because it's the place to go now, but it was just a natural fit for us. And we're doing really well here, getting great feedback from the neighborhood.

Are there people who are surprised at how casual this steakhouse is compared to the upscale places they're used to?

I don't think so. Actually, I think that's what we've got good here. It appeals to all the masses. You don't have to wear a three piece suit in here, you can be casual, but you can also have a dinner that the guy in the suit is going to have. I've never heard anyone say that they've expected more. If anything, people come in and get more than they're expecting. We have this gorgeous chef's table and an unbelievable specials board that is basically like my playground, and they love it. They probably didn't expect it, though.

Do you think that is the direction that steakhouses are going in general? Something more casual.

I think it's restaurants across the board in this day and age. Everyone wants to have a good dinner, but no one wants it to be stuffy. Back in the '80s, that's how it was. You got dressed up, you spent three hours at dinner, and ate really amazing food. Now, people want the really good food, but they don't want it to be stuffy and tight. That's what we have, upscale steaks in a casual environment. And I think that's a refreshing take on a steakhouse. You've mentioned the specials board a few times, and how it gives you so much creativity. It's interesting because most places use their specials board to just do different takes on steak, but you're doing more. Can you tell me a little about how you mixed up the menu using the board?

We'll always have our core items, but the board is a definite outlet for me to show my style. We're offering unique things like day-boat seafood catches, and that helps keep the kitchen creative and keep us from going outside of the box. It's exciting to be able to do a lot of different things every day. We're doing a different soup every day, have two or three fish options, and a lot of cool stuff with vegetables. It's great.

Do you feel like you have a lot of creative freedom here compared to your executive chef roles in the past?

I have a ton of creative freedom, and I love it. I can do anything so long as I maintain the steakhouse mentality. We don't want to have French bistro stuff on the board. You can do specials everywhere, but we can do a few. If we feel like using this new protein that we've come across, we can do that. When people come in the door, the first thing they see is that board, and that's made people interested in that food.

After being open a few months, do you have any plans to change the menu?

We're tweaking it, for sure. At a steakhouse, you're always going to have some really core items on the menu that just don't move as much as you'd like. We're going to focus more on the steak because that's what our customers want and it's what Dee Lincoln is really great at.

So how do you refine the steak? Beyond having really great product.

We're going to focus on making it consistent and ensuring that it's the best quality product we could have. We're going to add a few new cuts, and focus on having a product that makes your customer keep coming back over and over again.

In your mind, what's the perfect steak?

Being a Texas boy, I love a good rare-to-medium rare steak that is seasoned and cooked really well. Oh, and a great crust. I don't like a bunch of flavors and sauces masking the meat. I want the flavor of that steak to really shine.

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Yelp Phoenix

I only moved th Phoenix in early 1995. But their are certain places and and restaurants that I remember. Sadly they are no longer around.
Does anybody remember a Chinese buffet called Yum's on 15th ave and Thomas their was a second location on 19th ave and Peoria. We loved this place! They didn't have a lot of choices on the buffet but, what they had was good.and I remember they had whole fresh jalepenos that were always hot and a dried chilli peppers in oil that was so hot. Man I miss this place.

*pours out a little bit of a 40oz. Rip yums, you might be gone but you damn sure ain't forgotten

Two Pesos - Southern and McClintock

^Yes. Late night steak nachos at Two Pesos with a frozen Margarita. Their was one at 32nd st and Bell back in the 90's. (Now a Dennys) We would get ripped and munch out. Lol!

Wish I had a chance to visit the Heart Attack Grill when it was still around. *sad face*

Hogi Yogi on baseline and rural.

Perhaps somebody can remember the name of this restaurant. Was on 7th ave. Just south of Van Buren at the bottom just before going over the bridge. Mexican food. Really good, not expensive home cooked food. I only ate there once but I really liked it. Nopales, eggs and beans and hand made tortillas with really good salsas. Lots of Transients ate there. Dam it was good Mexican food. Wish it were still there
Does any body remember this place I ate there back in 1996.

The Brown Derby at the Safari resort in Scottsdale near Scottsdale Fashion Square was a family favorite.

^Peppered steak at Brown Debby was delicious.

^Pizza now at PV mall. Now a coffee drive thru. So good and cheap.

Pischke's was great. RIP Chris

China Doll (7th Ave & Osborn), Pearl's (Rural just north of US-60), Pho Bang (now houses Pho Thanh), K-One (43rd Ave & Bethany Home), China Gate (Peoria near Metrocenter). Don't remember how many we've eaten at these places but the owners practically know us :)

I liked China Doll. And Pho Bang. Those old ladies @ Pho Bang that served the food were all so sweet. And they would make sure we were happy with what we ordered. It was dimly lit and very laid back atmosphere. Thank you for reminding me John L. I almost forgot about both of those great restaurants

Pho Bang was such a little hole-in-the-wall place that scares a lot of people. Interesting enough, we've bumped into Sen. McCain eating there on several occasions over the years :)

The Rusty Pelican Tempe was so beautiful with Excellent service and awesome fresh fish. Café Terra Cotta in The Borgata was just amazing, and Hamburger Mary's was the most fun restaurant this town ever saw. Honorable mention - Ed Debevic's. Certainly not missed was the grease and rat trap Montes la casa Viejo.

Grumpy John's for BBQ. It was on the corner of Scottsdale Rd and McKellips.

Stepping into the way back machine:

George's Ole
Lunt Ave. Marble Club
Oscar Taylor's
Willy and Guillermo's
Ristorante Prego
Baby Kay's (Town and Country location)
Desert Jade
Nantucket Lobster Trap
Monti's La Casa Vieja

Good list, Brian. Used to eat at Willy & Guillermo's quite a bit. How about Appetito's, Oscar Taylors and Caf Casino.

I only went to Monti's when I was a kid, usually whenever my grandparents were in town. There used to be an old guy who would do the ads for it.

Caf Casino, how could I forget that one? I ate countless meals there.

By Chris-Town, I missed Farrell's, Magic Pan, and Yang Dynasty, also.

TM "The Whale" Monterey Whaling co. was part of The Rusty Pelican Group, it was great, We had my brothers wedding rehearsal dinner there. It was not as modern as The Tempe Pelican, but had it's charms. It became The Chart House.

We sure do miss Grumpy John's BBQ lots of memories there. I'm still good friends with Angel and Happy Dan is my brother.

I almost choked to death at Two Pesos. Thank Glob one of my dining companions realized what was happening and performed the Heimlech Maneuver. One of the scariest moments of my life.

I remember when Autum Court Chinese restaurant was on central. We used to go to their lunch buffet perhaps once a month. I also remember Sesame Inn ( I think that was the name) Chinese restaurant just west of 40th st. on Camelback.they were pretty good and had a daily lunch buffet too.

Ricardo's Mexican Restaurant on 24th street N of Thomas.
Spinners @ Caravan Inn on 34th street VanBuren. :)

Taste of Chicago at Hayden/ Mountain View

had the perfect level of burnt-umami when you ordered it 'char', and those fries were just swimming in grease

@John L. China Doll was the best!

Norma G. I remember Ricardo's. Ate there 3 or 4 's before they closed.
Always sad seeing the sign on the outside wall and their no longer there. :(

May Garden, Ed Dbevics, Bobby McGees

The Sahara on McClintock. Best falafel ever. Thank the genies, we still have Haji Baba.

Pickadillys on 7th ave and Osborn and then it became Furr's. My go to for a long time was Furr's near I-17 and Northern to the far side of where K-Mart is.

I remember a place called Jumbo Buffet in 35 Ave & Southern and when we went back there was a note in the window that they close it down but we used to go twice a month and they had a great selection of food. Does anyone knows if they reopen the buffet in a different location?

  • Rick T.
  • Litchfield Park, AZ
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Captain Hooks on 67th Ave and Bethany. they made a killer burger. Thanks for the memories of Ed Dbevics, China Doll (grandparents loved that place), and Hogi Yogi. My first job was at Hogi Yogi on 19th Ave and Northern. Keep them coming.

We went to Ed Debevics a lot during my high school days. Houlihans, Ayako of Tokyo and Steamers, all at the Biltmore. I think I remember a Bob's Big Boy over by Chris-Town. And Guggy's at Park Central.

The original Garcia's in Scottsdale, before it became a chain and started to suck. The roving mariachi band was an integral part of the experience.

Mother Tucker's, located in the shopping center by 32nd St. and Lincoln where Loehmann's was. I know, the name. Settle down, Beavis.

Yes, Steamers!! They had the most amazing scallops.

I also liked the all-you-can-eat sushi place that was over there that died at around the same time as Steamers.

Steamers and all of the other restaurants that were upstairs on the north end of the Biltmore Fashion Park.

Black Eye Pea and Marilyn's Mexican restaurant up by PV mall. Marilyn was the sister of one of the Garcias and food was very good. Black Eye Pea had a really good chicken fried steak.

The Golden Scone at Country Club and Southern in Mesa

Bento Bar on Mill. I attended college between 97-99 in Tempe and I think I ate there at least 3 times a week.

Singers Coffee Shops, whats Your Beef (definitely a "meat market) in Scottsdale, Taiwan at 7th Ave S. of Osborn, The Flying Tiger.

I don't remember Singers, but I do remember a place called BB Singer's on Central Ave. I also remember a place called Hungry Tiger.

I remember Old Country buffet on 7th st and Bethany Home. I think it was turned into an Osco drug. And who could forget when Tokyo Express was at 36th st and Thomas. Great patio dinning. So sad that Tokyo Express is no longer at this location. Loved that place. And does any body remember the Greek restaurant on 27th st and Thomas, on the south side of the street. I was so surprised when I noticed it was gone. Because it was always packed out with guests every time I would want to eat there

Thanks Brian, yes it was Hungry Tiger.

Prior to that being an OCB (and I didn't know it ever was that), Charles, it was King's Table. I never partook. That corner also had a gas station. I think it was a Mobil. The restaurant was just west of it.

Yes I remember Kings Buffet. We used to go to the Kings Buffet at Fiesta Mall in Mesa. Its also no longer there.

Christown's food court as it kept going thu it's many transformations. I remember just before they made the big change to one side of Christown's food court their was a Vietnamese restaurant and it was one of the better Vietnamese restaurants around. Also Samuri Sam's on 16th st and Glendale.
Luby's cafeteria at Paradise Valley mall. Garcia's at 44th st and Camelback. I've got lots more but it would be Nice to hear from other yelp peeps !

Charles, I lived in the Squaw Peak area for 20+ years and can't remember that Samurai Sam's at that spot. However, I remember Nick's Pizza in that specific corner and a mile south - Taste of Mediterranean (in the area where Luci's Marketplace is now located) and they had that fantastic Egyptian chicken dish.

Also, where Starbucks is located at the opposite corner (16th St & Bethany Home) housed El Pollo Asado - best roasted chicken in the 85020 :)

Yes I remember Pollo Asado. Used to go thru the drive thru with a friend all the time. Samuri Sam's was located where Moto is currently located.
Richardson was also behind where Luci's market is.

Baby Kay's Cajun was supposed to relocate to that spot (the one that burned down) but it looks like that plan fizzled out.

So sad to see Baby Kay's Cajun leave town and country. It was one that remained the longest.I also remember when Biancos was at town and country and the cinema

How could we forget the Mexican buffet at 7th st and Indian School. The name escapes me. I only ate there perhaps 10'xs back in 95, 96.

There's a Baby Kay's in Mesa apparently.

I don't remember it being called Samurai Sam's, but a fast food teriyaki restaurant did exist at that spot that wasn't one of the better known names.

That spot at 44th and Camelback had a bunch of incarnations besides Garcia's. Long ago it was an upscale spot called Monk's Garden. As I mentioned earlier, the original Garcia's was in Scottsdale, but I don't remember where.

All the jokes I see on here about Organ Stop Pizza, but I did go to the original location at 7th St. and Missouri many times as a kid.

Pancho's is the name of that buffet, Charles. There was also a location near Chris-Town, by where the Target is today.

Interesting thank you Brian C. Sounds like you've been in the valley your whole life. Great to hear about places that I don't know.
I do remember and went to 3 or 4 x's. The Abbey near 28th st and Indian School.
Also a good friend of my told me about the Sombrero Theatre on 16th or 7th st and Highland as well as a drive in Cinema at 7th st and Missouri.

Yes, there was a cinema at 7th Street and Missouri. The shopping center there now is called Cinema Park. Across Missouri was a Chinese food place called Mandarin Delight. They moved into that newish building on the SE corner and then closed. I do remember Kings Table and further north, although not a restaurant, obviously, was Tropic Gardens Zoo. There was also a place by St Joseph's hospital years ago that had several different food places inside called the Pepper Tree. Pollo Asado definitely had the best chicken in the neighborhood.

Brian--I remember when Organ Stop pizza was on Southern Ave at the canal that separates Tempe from Mesa. It was within walking distance from my home and my husband and I would walk down there with our two daughters about once a month (I am thinking this was in the 1980s and 90s). It was much smaller than the current venue.

And although Baby Kay's was decent, I though the best Cajun restaurant was Justin's Ragin' Cajun up on north Cave Creek road. It was sad when they closed.

My mom loved the Sombrero. She'd always have the latest schedule on the fridge. David, you're going waaayyy back for the drive-in. But yes, that is the reason for the Cinema Park name. I never did make it to Mandarin Delight. Don't know why, it just never happened. We always went to Golden Phoenix. I remember the Tropic Gardens Zoo, too. Looking back, hard to believe it existed. The Pepper Tree, I think I remember it. Did it have stuff from x number of cuisines from around the world, or am I mixing that up with another long ago spot? Pollo Asado was good, but I seem to remember it also had a decline eventually.

I am no old enough to remember it as a cinema but my folks lived in that neighborhood and I remember hearing about it. I remember Pepper Tree definitely had different cuisines but what I remember is just getting foot long hotdogs form one of the booths. I was picky when I was real young and only ate hot dogs or hamburgers for a while. I think we would go there so everyone could get something good and I could still get a hot dog. You mentioned George's Ole. I remember that road out front was a dirt road back in the late 70s. I was a youngster then too and would only order a hamburger in there, but my mom loved the Mexican food. How about the ice cream place on Glendale and just east of 12th Street. I think it was Kitchie's 51 Flavors or something like that. They had to compete with BR.

Too bad places like Sombrero theatre are no longer around. Sounds like it was a great place. My friend said they would show films at Sombrero that other theatres refused to screen. One regular was Rocky Horror Picture Show. He also said their was a cafe or restaurant right next to the theatre.

Yes, the dirt road, and it was called Dreamy Draw. Remember the pachinko machine up front? Good times.

I don't remember that ice cream spot. I do remember an independent spot at 7th St. and Colter or so, west side of the street, called Dairy Cream, where I would get a dipped cone if I went. My usual spot was BR, though.

Before I made the move to Phoenix, I fell in love with Tediberto's, near what I believe is Roosevelt row. Vegan Mexican food like I've never known. ¡Tan delicioso! Once I moved here, I learned that they had closed. I still shed a solid, sturdy tear every now & again when I think about it or when I drive pass that purple-pink building.

Gold Coast


This certified historic district emerged after the Great Chicago Fire. In the 1880s, real estate tycoons shifted their attention north to the undeveloped lakeside. In 1882, bigwig developer Potter Palmer relocated to the area.

Filling in the swamp, he constructed his personal Xanadu, Palmer Mansion. His shift north galvanized the salons of the Chicago elite, and many followed in his footsteps north. This established the Gold Coast’s legacy of wealth, which continues today.


Along the lakeside, walking distance to Oak Street Beach, Old Town sits to the west and the Magnificent Mile leads to the Gold Coast from the south.

Gold Coast is Best Known For:

  • Shopping. Naturally this hoity-toity neighborhood hosts some high-end shopping. Grab your Versace or Dolce & Gabbana — let your status symbols work their magic.


This densely packed neighborhood houses wealthy 30 to 35 year olds.

Housing Prices

Nearly all residential buildings are apartments that cost $1,059,904. Rent is $1,271 but most people own their residences.

Gold Coast’s Best Restaurants:

  • Giordano’s Pizza. Step on into our Gold Coast/Magnificent Mile location at 730 N. Rush St. Treat yourself to a deep dish in this decadent neighborhood. Call us at (312) 951-0747.
  • Nico Osteria. This sumptuous Italian seafood restaurant harnesses the elegance of Gold Coast to produce a primo platter. Try their house-made pasta and bliss-inducing seafood.
  • Le Colonial. This French Vietnamese restaurant embarks on a culinary voyage to a forgotten era. The crossover of styles meshes perfectly at Le Colonial.
  • The Halal Guys. Delicious Middle Eastern fast food like chicken gyro wraps and falafel offer a great meal on the go. Made to order, spiced to perfection, and complete with all the sides, you’ll holler for the Halal Guys.

Boston (Wenham)
What's more New England than a century-old tea house with a white picket fence? Sadly, the historic spot just north of Boston is another casualty of the pandemic. The owner cited "challenges with product, staffing, and finances" as the reason for closing down the historic spot, which offered breakfast, lunch, and reservation-only afternoon tea.

Casa Sanchez

Founded by Roberto and Isabel Sanchez in 1924, Casa Sanchez was the first mechanized tortilla factory in northern California. The Sanchez family came to San Francisco via Nayarit, located in the Mexican state of Zacatecas, and has since become a fixture in the local Latino community.

Originally located in the upper Fillmore District in a predominately Latino neighborhood, Casa Sanchez served tortillas by the pound and, eventually, by the hundreds. During the 1960s, the restaurant was known as “Club Sanchez” as it featured jazz musicians by night, contributing to the vibrant jazz scene that would come to characterize the Fillmore. The second generation of the Sanchez family relocated the business to the Mission District, following its Latino customer base and selling its corn tortillas to neighborhood restaurants.

During the 1980s, Casa Sanchez focused its efforts on selling tortilla chips and salsa during the “tortilla wars,” when tortilla companies rivaled each other for business at local taquerias. The tortilla wars were so contentious that delivery persons were said to carry guns. In the 1990s, the restaurant made headlines when it advertised free tattoos of its “Jimmy the Cornman” logo in exchange for “free lunch for life.” Inspired by one of the Sanchez grandchildren, the logo is now tattooed on at least 50 people.

Handed down from generation to generation, Casa Sanchez eventually grew into a wholesale Mexicatessen offering a variety of tortillas, chips, salsas, guacamole, and tamales throughout the region. In fact, Casa Sanchez sold the very first fresh salsa in the country. Pupusas, a uniquely Central American dish, were later added to the menu. This line of products developed by the third and fourth generations the Casa Sanchez family is now produced at the company headquarters in Millbrae. Current owners of the Casa Sanchez enterprise, siblings Bob and Marta Sanchez, recently inherited the business after their parents passed away.

While the Mexicatessan still manufactures its chips, salsas, tamales, and pupusas, the siblings were unable to continue operating a restaurant out of the Mission District location. They decided to lease the space to the Banuelos family, who has been in the restaurant business for over 40 years, and whose latest restaurant, La Posta, was evicted from its building due to neighborhood gentrification (the building was demolished to make way for new condominiums and retail spaces). After turning down a series of lucrative offers from high end restaurateurs and chefs, Marta Sanchez invited the Banuelos family to move into the space, join forces, and help to carry on the Casa Sanchez legacy.

Now known as Ayutla, the Banuelos’ new restaurant operates inside the old Casa Sanchez building, which still maintains the old “Casa Sanchez” sign.

Redstone takes great pride in their chef inspired menu using high quality ingredients that encourage unique flavors. Our Chef’s continue to create exciting recipes that are both seasonal and appealing to a wide variety of guest’s tastes.

No matter what the special occasion or business event we will provide the warm, gracious hospitality that you have come to expect from Redstone American Grill. Don’t hesitate and book your Holiday party today. Whether you are entertaining 15 or 50 guests we will cater to your needs.

You can probably already tell that we love our cupcakes here in Chicago. More Cupcakes is known for their upscale environment and minimalist display. Stop by for delicious cupcakes with unique toppings.

Nothing is more classic and representative of Chicago than a restaurant with a welcoming atmosphere and huge portions. Smoque is known for their family style tables and “neighborhood kind of place” atmosphere. The barbecue sauce is homemade so you can’t go wrong with anything from their large variety of meat.

Lincoln Square Steak: A Unique Steakhouse in a Neighborhood That Needs It - Recipes


Phone 417-213-8631
Andy B&rsquos brings boutique bowling, undeniable eats and craft cocktails to the Branson Landing. Promising fun for all ages, Andy B&rsquos serves as the premier destination for family dining and entertainment, group events and nightlife. The establishment features a full restaurant and bar, patio, 10 bowling lanes, escape rooms, karaoke rooms, classic table games and live entertainment. Stay updated on all they&rsquoll have to offer at


Phone 417-334-4478
The Hilton Promenade announced the opening of Big Whiskey’s American Restaurant & Bar summer of 2015. At Big Whiskey’s, the friendly staff will make you feel right at home, with their amazing fare and the many tv’s strategically placed throughout the restaurant. Plus, you can even sit on the patio, as you savor their unforgettable creations and enjoy great views of the Branson Landing Promenade. Featuring everything from Appetizers, Salads, Wraps, Steaks, BBQ, pastas, Wings, Entrees from the Sea, Sandwiches, Soups, Sweets and Treats, you’re guaranteed to find something perfect for everyone. Plus, Big Whiskey’s also has a full service bar, including whiskey on tap and a Happy Hour! For more information, visit:

Phone 417-239-0063
Located at the North end of Branson Landing across from Belk Department Store – Inspired by the black oak trees throughout America, the Black Oak Grill is sure to comfort your taste buds with its distinctive take on American cuisine. The welcoming staff will make you feel right at home in the restaurant’s warm, lodge-inspired interior. Make sure to come hungry and let the Black Oak Grill take care of the rest.


Phone 417-334-6062
Cantina Laredo serves authentic Mexican dishes in a sophisticated atmosphere. We offer daily fish specials, grilled chicken and steaks complimented by signature sauces such as chipotle-wine with portobello mushrooms or sauteéd artichoke hearts and roasted red bell peppers.


Phone 417-337-7334
Best known for its Award-winning Philly steak sub, Charley's specialties include Philly steak, chicken, and deli subs, gourmet fries, and old-fashioned flavored lemonade. Everything is made-to-order, fresh, right in front of you. At Charley's, it's the grill that makes the difference – You won't find any microwaves, warming tables of pre-packaged food. But, you will find 95% fat free Sirloin steak, all-white meat chicken breast, real dairy cheeses, and Authentic French buns. Stop by Charley's today and discover why our Philly Steak was VOTED BEST SUB.


Phone 417-231-9400
Experience Chef Guy Fieri's distinctive and award-wining take on American cuisine located in the Neighborhood District of Branson Landing adjacent to Parakeet Pete’s Waterfront Zipline. The restaurant includes an outdoor patio with beautiful views of Lake Taneycomo to enjoy while you dine on Guy’s award-winning menu items!


Phone 417-335-3701
Garfield's Restaurant / Pub is a place where you can go with family and friends for Great Times & Great Tastes! We pride ourselves on outstanding service and a wide variety of great tasting menu items, full bar, kid's menu, etc. We feature a diverse choice of cuisine including steaks, seafood, chicken, fajitas, pastas, salads, kid's items, and our exclusive Fire String Sandwiches.


Phone 417-337-7373
It's so simple, we should have thought of it sooner. Build a restaurant with the feel of a Gulf Coast fishing camp and serve all different kinds of crab - cooked in all sorts of ways as well as savory sandwiches, colorful salads, pasta, steaks and more. Let us host your event. Most Joe's Crab Shacks have private rooms for group parties or banquets. We can accommodate up to 50 people for birthday parties (child or adult), office parties or meetings.


Phone 417-320-5143
LandShark Bar & Grill is located off town square! Inspired by the great “beach joints” that once dotted the Atlantic coast, LandShark Bar & Grill has multiple locations throughout the United States and beyond with locations in Atlantic City, N.J., Myrtle Beach, S.C., and IMCMV Holding’s newest location, Daytona Beach, Florida. Located in the center of waterfront action by day or night, it’s the perfect blend of a beach escape, great food, generous drinks and outstanding Music. The menu is American beach food with a fresh coastal twist and, of course, cold draft LandShark and those fabulous frozen concoctions.


Phone 417-243-3433
Branson's newest fine dining expierence. With 28 Day Aged Corn Fed Midwest Beef, Fresh Seafood flown in from Hawaii, Heritage Missouri Pork, Locally Grown Produce, Signature House Made Desserts, 1600° Infrared Oven – An extremely hot oven which quickly sears the outside and produces a more tender steak, due to the speed of cooking, 5 Distinctive Steak Knives and Complimentary Valet Parking!


Phone 417-320-5082

Mellow Mushroom is located on the North end of Branson Landing in the Wharf District. Come in and enjoy out of this world pizza, calzones, salads, and munchies, and take your pick from our selection of 24 draft beers and our handcrafted cocktails. And, because we are inclusive of everyone&rsquos needs, many of our pizzas can be made gluten-free or vegan.

Located inside Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers is Dude’s Daiquiris. Serving the best frozen daiquiris this side of the Caribbean, Dude’s Daiquiris is your Island oasis in the Ozarks! Close your eyes and you’ll swear you feel warm ocean breezes and hear the sultry rhythm of steel drums. Dude’s Daiquiris also serves an eclectic mix of craft beers from around the globe.


Phone 417-239-3980
HOURS: 11:00 AM – Close 7 days a week.
The Paddlewheel is conveniently located on the Lake Taneycomo waterfront along Branson Landing at the Main Street Lake Cruises Marina. Go back in time with simple, fun, yesterday foods. The Paddlewheel features a full menu and bar with a great atmosphere whether you're sitting inside or enjoying the beautiful weather on our spacious patio. We are kid-friendly and have plenty of room with a full second floor for seating. Don't miss a chance to visit this unique dining spot today right on Lake Taneycomo. Find The Paddlewheel located on the Main Street Lake Cruises Marina on Lake Taneycomo, in-between the Taneycomo Bridge and Bass Pro Shops!


Phone 417-320-5127
At Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen, guests will enjoy classic Deen family recipes in a unique family-style setting just like they do in their very own homes. We serve up endless portions of Southern-Style entrees and side dishes, and every visitor ends their meal with a dessert of their choice! Our restaurant brings friends and families together over a meal, while offering up a one-of-a-kind dining experience you’re sure to remember.


Phone 417-334-0325

Saltgrass Steak House recaptures the flavor of the open campfire with its charming rustic décor and welcomes hungry diners to enjoy both legendary Texas hospitality and a great cut of char-grilled beef. The Saltgrass Steak House menu features favorites including Certified Angus Beef® steaks, BBQ Baby Back Ribs and a dynamic chicken and seafood selection complete with breads, soups and desserts, made from scratch daily – plus, the full-service, No Bull Lounge!


Phone 800-441-5053
Smith Creek Moonshine is a first of its kind moonshine-tasting destination and gourmet hamburger restaurant at Branson Landing. This unique attraction includes a moonshine tasting bar, a master mixology bar where guests can try out some mixed moonshine concoctions, a handcrafted and stuffed hamburger restaurant and a retail store where guests can purchase bottled shines, apparel, jams, sauces, dry rubs, and more. The impressive 5,000 square foot virtual distillery features rustic and modern designs, including a 1941 Ford prohibition moonshine hauler, and plenty of Ozark’s atmosphere including live music on selected nights and an in-store distillery. Smith Creek Moonshine offers a variety of flavors, including Straight White Lightnin', Apple Pie, Salted Caramel, Cinnamon, Peach, Sweat Tea, Coffee, Chocolate Silk, and more and the tasting allows you to decide which is your favorite flavor before heading home with a bottle or two. Whether you love moonshine, or are just trying it out for the first time, don’t miss the chance to “Shine and Dine” at Smith Creek Moonshine.


Phone 417-348-1759
"To be sure, To be sure"! It's the latest and greatest of all the things around the town. It's a truly Irish pub wonderful food, wonderful people, and wonderful Irish music in authentic Irish surroundings. "May you come back more than you leave and may the luck of the Irish be with you!"


Phone 417-243-5100
The White River Fish House, adjacent to the Bass Pro Shops White River Outpost located in Branson, Missouri, will be a one of a kind dining experience. The restaurant, floating on Lake Taneycomo, provides scenic views of the lake and bluffs surrounding the Branson Landing area. The Lodge Dining Room, which seats nearly 300 people, features a huge stone fireplace, in addition to two small private dining areas. The decor of the restaurant draws from the rich history of Lake Taneycomo and the White River, paying respect to the history of the area and giving praise to one of the best fisheries of trout in this part of the United States. Our menu features signature seafood dishes, smoked BBQ ribs, steaks, pasta dishes, and a variety of sandwiches and salads. For the little ones we offer a children's menu. To complete your dining experience, don't forget to try our succulent Key Lime Pie, Cast Iron Chocolate Chip Cookie, Caramel Macadamia Nut Cheesecake, or a Brownie Sundae.


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