I’ve known about The Big Texan for many years. No, I haven’t really read about it, seen it on the internet, and, actually, except for a couple of times, I’ve not even driven past it. For some reason, the folks at The Big Texan believe in their product – big juicy steaks coupled with an Old West atmosphere – enough to advertise it on a billboard five hundred miles away, just east of Russellville!
After passing that billboard an infinite number of times, I have to admit that my curiosity has always been piqued. So, on our way back from New Mexico last fall, we took the bait, pulled into the parking lot, and greeted the old cowboy that we’d only seen in pictures in Arkansas.
Established in 1960 by Bob Lee, the Big Texan has been a favorite stop on Route 66 since its onset. In 2013, it was actually deemed as “the best steakhouse in Texas.”
One of the big draws is the steak challenge. Any customer who is able, in less than an hour, to eat a 72 ounce steak, baked potato, salad, and buttered roll, can have that gargantuan meal for free! Neither Kurt nor I were up to the challenge, but as we entered this bright yellow building with the big cow, we were hoping that there might be a more ambitious eater inside.
To our dismay, we found only normal curious patrons like ourselves breaking bread in the saloon type atmosphere. All the waitstaff were dressed in cowboy boots, jeans and hats, and from them, we received a hearty Texas welcome. Kurt did try the steak, and gave it two thumbs up. Since we were driving, I opted for a Texas sized “lighter” option of salad and rolls. This ample meal kept us satiated for the rest of the trip!
Before heading back on the interstate, we checked out the restaurant’s newest addition, Big Tex Rex. Purchased in 2012 from the defunct Planet Hollywood in Dallas, Mr. Lee had the twenty seven foot dinosaur cleaned up and properly dressed in western attire before making an appearance. He certainly captured our attention!
The Big Texan is one of those stops that everyone, who frequents this stretch of the interstate, should make at least once. Yes, it did take a bit longer than our normal fast food lunch stop, but it was well worth the extra thirty minutes. And besides, vacations should never end until one reaches home sweet home!