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Big Texan Steak Ranch, Amarillo

Brian S | Aug 26, 201009:35 AM

I was at a Jackson Browne concert more years ago than I care to remember, and as he played there were some timorous, half-hearted cries of "Boogie". So Jackson Browne stopped singing and said, "if you're going to interrupt me, don't be croaking like a wussy frog. Do it REALLY loud!" (So I did, but that's another story...) A similar thing applies to restaurants. If you're going to make your restaurant like a themed amusement park, don't pull your punches; do it dazzlingly flamboyant, in the worst possible taste, and totally over the top. This place does! If you had a flamboyance rating, five stars max, this place would pull a six or maybe seven.

We were driving from Oklahoma west and stopped there for dinner. It's right next to I-40 exit 75. The outside is painted like a garish version of a movie set of a one-horse cowboy town. Step into the dining room (which can entail a long wait at peak hours) and you're in an enormous room, totally packed, everyone having fun, laid out like one of those saloons you'd see in a cowboy film. Red velvet wallpaper, animal heads everywhere, balconies full of diners jutting out from the second floor. It was LOUD! And fun! Waitresses dressed like day-glo cowboys take your order. I sprang for an 18 oz ribeye ($22), very rare, with salad and loaded baked potato. The potato was forgettable (order something else!), the salad big and very good, the steak, cooked more or less rare was flavorful and quite good though far from great. I downed it all and was satisfied, no room for the huge slices of cake that were offered after.

The wood-fired grill is center stage and in front of that a raised table where anyone taking the challenge (eat a 4 1/2 pound steak and sides in under an hour and it's free, if you lose you pay (about $75)). As we were leaving someone stepped up to the table. A waitress in cowboy hat announced the challenger's name and height and weight, just like a boxing match. The huge sirloin looked so good I got hungry. People crowded round. When we left he was well on his way to winning.

I've had far better steaks. (Though I must admit I enjoyed eating this one.) But rarely have I had so much fun.

Big Texan Steak Ranch
7701 E Interstate 40
Amarillo, TX
(806) 372-6000
Their website says they are open from 7 AM to 10:30 PM but they told us on the phone that they closed slightly earlier, so phone for hours.
http://www.bigtexan.com/

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Big Texan Steak Ranch
7701 E Interstate 40, Amarillo, TX 79118

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