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Spots, Sights and Sounds

Amarillo's Big Texan Steak Ranch a historic novelty feelin' left behind

Amarillo's Big Texan Steak Ranch a historic novelty feelin' left behind

by Christian Michael

May 07, 2015

A colleague who heard I was passing through west Texas recommended Big Texas Steak Ranch, which was apparently famous for the free 72 oz steak (if you could eat it in under an hour) and for just being novel.

I stopped by and was immediately alarmed by the bright colors, big signs and gaudy appearance of the exterior. (See photo) There was a large fake cow and man overlooking the parking lot.

Going inside, I wasn't immediately sure which direction to go to reach the dining room, as there was a large gift shop to the left, bar and games directly ahead and then a recessed entrance to the right. That proved to be the dining hall, but I had to ask, first.

The waitresses wore outfits that felt ... odd. They were cowgirl outfits, and weren't inappropriate in any way other than a reminder of the building's exterior. The dining room is massive. The whole place is dedicated to preserving old Texas, but instead of paying respectful homage, it was just dated

The waitress eventually arrived and took my order. I tried their smallest sirloin (8 oz) with fried okra and mashed potatoes and gravy, rolls, a water and sweet tea. The food was good but nothing remarkable. I've had a better steak at a Boy Scout cookout. (Not kidding.)

The great room was really dark. I thought they could use skylights to bring light into the main room. It wasn't dark outside, but it felt gloomy within.

After paying my bill, I hit up the restroom (very rustic) and left. To be clear, it wasn't a bad experience, but I can't find any reason to call it anything more than an average experience, especially not for the hype.

The concept is good, but it doesn't fit anymore. I'd love to see a redesign with a menu update. Keep the 72 oz competition, but ditch the gaudy, replace it with a muted celebration of the history of Texas culture. Less is always more.


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