It's been 15 years since Steak and Ale and its signature herb-crusted prime rib left the Twin Cities. Now the restaurant is on its way back, and the first location will be in Burnsville.
Texas-based Legendary Restaurant Brands announced this week that it will bring 15 locations of its Steak and Ale and Bennigan's to several Midwestern cities. An exact address for the Burnsville restaurant hasn't been announced, but it's expected to open in late summer or fall.
"The revival of Steak and Ale has truly been a labor of love for our team, and while we were eager to reintroduce the brand, we understood the importance of finding the ideal partner first," said Paul Mangiamele, Legendary's chairman and CEO.
That ideal partner is Endeavor Properties, which holds exclusive rights to expand the brands in Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and the Dakotas. The companies cite customer demand for the resurgence and "aggressive growth" of both Bennigan's and Steak and Ale chains.
"We're thrilled to partner with Paul and his team to bring these iconic and successful brands to guests across the Midwest who have been clamoring for their return," said Endeavor CEO and President Roy Arnold.
The last Twin Cities' Steak and Ale outpost was in Bloomington. It closed in 2008, along with the remaining chain-owned Bennigan's locations, when its parent company filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection. (A franchised-owned Bennigan's held on a few more years.)
A lot has changed since Steak and Ale was part of the Twin Cities restaurant landscape, and it faces a crowded market. Along with several top-notch steakhouses in the metro area, there's been a wave of supper clubs, an improved suburban dining scene and an influx of other steakhouse chains like Texas Roadhouse.
But Steak and Ale will serve up plenty of nostalgia, bringing back all the traditional favorites from the menu but with modern touches, including a prime-rib carving station and tableside service. It was known for its signature herb-roasted prime rib, Kensington Club, Hawaiian chicken, salad bar and honey wheat bread.
The restaurant chain was founded in 1966 by Texan Norman Brinker, who set out to offer an "upscale steak experience" at lower prices. Its Tudor-style restaurants were instantly recognizable.
After its 2008 bankruptcy, Legendary Restaurant Brands, the parent company of Bennigan's, bought the brand, recipes and other intellectual property associated with Steak and Ale. Mangiamele has been trying to revive Steak and Ale for nearly a decade, but until now the furthest he's gotten was having some of the restaurant classics — the Kensington Club, Smothered Chicken and Hawaiian Chicken — on Bennigan's menus.
If you can't wait for a taste of Steak and Ale, there are several Bennigan's in the Midwest; the closest is in Clear Lake, Iowa.