Texas-sized appetite

Locals with a Texas-sized appetite have a new watering hole to try in Minot.

Longhorn Steakhouse opened Sept. 23 and stays true to its name by offering up just about every type of steak imaginable.

Samantha Huff, managing partner, said the restaurant is 6,270 square feet and can seat more than 240 guests. In addition to its well-known steaks, Longhorn Steakhouse also offers chicken and fresh seafood, so those not in the mood for a sirloin still have plenty of options to choose from.

It is those steaks that gave the business its name, however, and the number of preparation and topping options customers are presented with will probably make their head swim.

“Our steaks are boldly seasoned and they are prepared in a number of different ways. You can get them grilled, you can get them seared on the flat-top grill, open-flame grilled, you can get them topped with different toppings, wrapped in bacon,” Huff said. “There’s a wide variety of cuts – different cuts, different sizes and different methods of preparation.”

Although there are a large variety of steaks to choose from, Huff said there are a few that keep finding their way to customers’ plates with regularity. Perhaps the most well known of them all is the Outlaw Ribeye, an 18-ounce ribeye with the bone in.

“It’s boldly seasoned and cooked over the char-grill open flame. It’s definitely a steak that’s very delicious, it’s very tender, it’s well seasoned,” Huff said. “It’s just really tasty and it’s very popular. And you can also get that topped in as many different ways as you’d like.”

Huff said many of the chicken dishes have also been popular, and they have just started a new Peak Season menu that highlights seasonal fall flavors such as apple and pumpkin. A completely new concept is the Chef’s Showcase menu, which has specially-developed meals created by Longhorn Steakhouse’s culinary team.

The first is the Porcini Portabella Ribeye, a ribeye rubbed with porcini dust, brushed with balsamic butter sauce and topped with cedar-grilled portabella mushrooms. The second is Pork Osso Buco, slow-cooked pork shanks topped with wine and roasted vegetable sauce over mashed potatoes.

“We do have a Rancher’s Sirloin that has also been very popular here,” Huff said. “It has a bordelaise sauce, two slices of bacon and a sunny-side up fried egg on it.”

This is only the second Longhorn Steakhouse in North Dakota, with the first being opened in Fargo about a year ago. Although the chain is nationwide, with around 450 restaurants in 38 states, Huff said they are new to the northern Midwest.

As to why Longhorn Steakhouse chose Minot for its second location in the state, Huff said that came down to the Magic City’s bright future.

“Longhorn is always looking for cities with long-term growth potential. When they opened up Fargo they started looking for other places that might be inviting for us and places that we could definitely get into the community,” Huff said. “That’s why they chose Minot. They saw the long-term growth potential.”

Huff has spent 23 years in the restaurant industry, including the past two with Longhorn Steakhouse in Wisconsin. When the Minot restaurant was offered to her she jumped at the chance and brought her family with. She said now that her son is 13, she wanted to find a nice place for him to grow up and go to school, so she plans to be here for the long haul, as well.

“We’re definitely excited to be here. I really feel like this is a great community to be involved in and operating a business from. I’ve gotten nothing but well wishes and have a warm reception from the people who come to dine and have dinner here,” she said. “It’s really nice when you feel welcome in a new community.”

The Friday and Saturday before the official opening Longhorn Steakhouse had friends and family nights where customers could try the restaurant out early and give the staff some practice. Those lunch and dinner hours also served a much more important purpose than practice for the staff and free food for the customers.

“The food was complimentary, and for people who were interested in getting alcohol, all of the sales from the alcohol went to the (Dakota) Boys and Girls Ranch for both Friday and Saturday, which was really nice. It was really nice to be able to find that organization in this area to kind of partner with to help them,” Huff said. “We’re very community driven, and we believe in not just being a business in the community but being a positive influence in the community, as well. So being able to partner with them was definitely exciting for me.”

Huff said the reception from the Minot community has been amazing. She said the customers have been incredibly patient with the staff even when they make the occasional mistake in their new jobs. Huff noted they have already seen a lot of repeat customers just in the few weeks they’ve been open. It’s that kind of warm and welcoming reception that makes Huff glad she chose to come to Minot.

“I’m really excited to be in the community, I’m really excited to be a part of Minot,” Huff said. “Of all the different cities I’ve been in over the course of my career, it has honestly been the most welcoming community I’ve entered into.”