Steak and Ale to make long-awaited return in April

After succumbing to bankruptcy in 2008, the casual-dining pioneer will open in Burnsville, Minn., next year.
Steak and Ale
The new Steak and Ale will have a similar look and feel with some modern touches. | Photo courtesy of Steak and Ale

Fourteen years after bankruptcy wiped Steak and Ale off the map, the brand is set to make its return next year.

The revived concept plans to open its doors in April, inside a Wyndham Hotel in Burnsville, Minn., parent company Legendary Restaurant Brands announced Tuesday.

The 6,000-square-foot restaurant will seat 220 to 225 guests and sport the Tudor-style interior design that the brand is known for, but with some modern touches. It will have a patio and entrances for both hotel guests and the public. It will also handle food and beverage operations for the hotel and serve as a ghost kitchen for sister brand Bennigan’s.

Steak and Ale’s return is at least seven years in the making. That’s when it was acquired by Legendary Brands CEO Paul Mangiamele and his wife, Gwen, alongside the Irish-themed bar-and-grill chain Bennigan’s.

Legendary set out to revive both concepts, each of which were casual-dining pioneers created by Norman Brinker that went bankrupt in 2008. Bennigan’s returned in 2018, but it took Legendary some time to find the right operator for Steak and Ale.

It believes it has found that in Roy Arnold, CEO of Kansas-based Endeavor Properties. Arnold has a 15-store agreement in the Midwest that includes exclusive rights for Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota.

“I couldn’t be more excited to be the first one to bring Steak and Ale back to the American dining scene, introducing a new generation to this beloved brand and rekindling memories for lifelong fans who’ve waited patiently for its return,” said Arnold in a statement. 

Steak and Ale was founded in 1966 by Brinker, who envisioned it as a more accessible version of an upscale steakhouse. Its restaurants featured rustic, dimly lit dining rooms with stucco walls, wood beams and touches of stained glass. Menu highlights included the herb-roasted prime rib, Hawaiian chicken and an unlimited salad bar—a novel idea at the time.

It peaked at about 280 locations in the 1980s, but by the early 2000s, it was struggling due to competition and changing dining habits. The Great Recession proved deadly for the brand, which filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2008 and abruptly closed its 58 remaining restaurants.

Between then and now, Steak and Ale superfans have been loudly calling for a return, using the Facebook page Steak and Ale’s Comeback as their digital soapbox. The group has more than 50,000 members.

They will be pleased to hear that the Burnsville restaurant will serve many Steak and Ale favorites, including the salad bar, Hawaiian chicken and Kensington Club Steak. It will also feature a prime rib carving station, tableside salad service and a selection of beer, wine and cocktails. 

“We’re thrilled to finally give the public what they want – frankly, what they’ve been demanding – as demonstrated by the tenacity of loyal Steak and Ale fans both online and virtually everywhere I go,” Mangiamele said in a statement.

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