Whatever became of Western Steer Steakhouse?

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Andrew T.
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Whatever became of Western Steer Steakhouse?

Post by Andrew T. » 21 May 2018 16:02

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Does anyone remember the Western Steer steakhouse chain? It was low-priced, and it had considerable penetration through the reaches of Appalachia.

My family used to frequent Western Steer in the '80s and '90s, and I always found the restaurant to be a disconcerting experience. You stood in line and ordered off a menu board with numbered items, like in a fast-food restaurant. Half the time, the restaurant would be out of seafood or other ingredients, and half the menu was unavailable. The food was...not good, to put it mildly. I remember our local restaurant as being a haven of soggy greens, tough stringy chicken, and other culinary maladies, and I dined there with a grimace.

Yet, my father liked it...not because it was good, but because it was cheap. He liked to go to the buffet and pack his plate to the brim to "get his money's worth." (My father also referred to the chain as "Bum Steer," for reasons that elude me.)

There's not a lot about Western Steer to be found on the Internet. Near as I can tell, the chain was based in North Carolina, originated in 1975, and was linked to Mom 'n Pop's Ham House for most of its history. Then...it seems to have slowly ceased to exist. Our local restaurant in Princeton, WV sat for years with the words "closed for remolding (sic)" on its marquee...then the property was sold, converted to a car dealership, and remodeled beyond recognition. But what exactly happened, chainwide and behind the scenes? I wish that I knew.

There still appears to be a location in Newton, North Carolina (an hour or two west of the Triad) that carries the Western Steer name...but it might be the only one as far as I know, and it's no longer part of a chain. Other locations have rebranded: A Western Steer in Starke, Florida is now "The Steakhouse in Starke," while a location in Elkins, WV is now simply signed as "Steer".

As a final note, here's a Western Steer commercial...with low production values, completely inappropriate music, and food that looks every bit as bland as what I remember!
"The pale pastels which have been featured in most food stores during the past 20 years are no longer in tune with the mood of the 1970s."
Andrew Turnbull

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Re: Whatever became of Western Steer Steakhouse?

Post by 75149 » 30 Dec 2018 13:04

I grew up in Lincolnton, just down old US 321 from the Newton location. My mother and I went there often in the 80s. I remember looking at the deserts on display but I only got one a few times due to cost. I would get two Andes mints for a dime at the cash register (did not pay at the table).

They were an affordable staple of many small towns. I seem to remember that they had one at the Northern end of Myrtle Beach South Carolina.

Several of the locations turned into Sagebrush steak houses. As an adult I ate and the Lincolnton Sagebrush a few times and it was a more traditional steakhouse. That location eventually closed and became an animal hospital LOL. They show 22 Sagebrush locations currently.

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