50 States of Steakhouses
Though the decor and menus vary from coast to coast, from Western-style steakhouses to old-school Midwest supper clubs to big-city temples of haute beef, these are the best places to sate your carnivore cravings and enjoy a side of local flair.
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With blue lighting in the bar and a saxophone riff floating over the raised high-back leather booths, Chandlers looks and feels like the kind of place that would have live jazz nightly and serve a killer martini. It's also earned a reputation in Boise (and at its Sun Valley outpost) for its steaks and seafood, offering 13 different cuts of meat, many sourced from local purveyor Snake River Farms. Idaho's most-famous export gets top billing too, with sides such as leek and fennel au gratin potatoes and pommes frites misted with truffle oil. Oh, and about that martini — it's called the 10-minute martini and was created by locally famous bartender Pat Carden, who, quite by accident, developed a method of slow-stirring the martini, yielding an exceptionally smooth cocktail. (Ask your server to tell you the story while you wait.) If wine is more your thing, Chandlers boasts a Best of Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator (and the highest ranking in Idaho), with a list of more than 750 labels, a team of certified sommeliers and an excellent selection of wines by the glass.
Mississippi: Marshall Steakhouse
When you step into Marshall Steakhouse, it feels more like a hunting lodge than a steakhouse, with white oak tables, taxidermy on the walls and cozy fireplaces come winter. But the menu is all steakhouse, with prime Angus steaks front and center, cooked on the largest charcoal grill in the state. And Mississippians can't get enough, some driving more than 100 miles for a weekend dinner. Locals know to start the night with Marshall's sausage and cheese plate, served with spicy fried pickles, and the fan-favorite crabmeat and crawfish bisque. The rib eye and filet are the top choices for steaks, but there's also a signature shrimp and grits made with local stone-ground grits, and Red Wattle hog pork chops, which come from the Swaney family farm. During the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday season, snag one of the coveted seats near the fireplace and sip a mug of Swaney's Famous Homemade Eggnog, crafted from a centuries-old family recipe.
Illinois: Lawry's The Prime Rib
Since Lawry's The Prime Rib opened in 1974, it has earned a reputation as one of Chicago's great steakhouses. It's also housed in one of the city's greatest landmarks — before it was a restaurant, the stately four-story Italian Renaissance building first served as the McCormick Mansion (society maven Constance McCormick is said to haunt the building), then as 1940s fine-dining restaurant The Kungsholm, and finally as the Kungsholm Puppet Theater (if you're lucky enough to snag a tour of the rarely seen second level, you'll see original puppets and a miniature opera workshop). On the main floor, under glittering chandeliers and arched ceilings, Master Carvers wearing towering hats steal the show. As the name implies, Lawry's The Prime Rib is the place in Chicago for prime rib. Each standing rib roast is carefully selected, aged for 25 days and roasted on a bed of rock salt till supremely tender. Master Carvers — who undergo six months of training and wear a medallion to signify their status — slice the locally famous prime rib tableside from massive, gleaming silver carts, which also include accompaniments such as gravy, au jus, mashed potatoes, creamed corn and creamed spinach (be sure to order a Yorkshire pudding to sop up the steak juices). Keep the show going with Lawry's signature Meat & Potato martini, crafted with Chopin potato vodka, shaken and poured tableside, and garnished with olives stuffed with horseradish and prime rib.
Oregon: Urban Farmer
With a restored-farmhouse aesthetic, an eclectic mix of artwork lining the walls and with pantry shelves filled with housemade preserves and pickles on display, Urban Farmer is the definition of rural chic. Executive Chef Matt Christianson embodies the restaurant's name: He sources produce, herbs and honey from its own rooftop garden, hydroponic and aquaponic gardens, and apiary; works with local farms, ranches and fisheries; and, in true Portland style, forages shiitake and maitake mushrooms from the custom mushroom cabinet in the dining room, which was built by local woodworker Buck Ferro. The mushrooms find their way into a side dish, supplemented with roasted seasonal wild mushrooms such as chanterelles and matsutakes in the fall, black trumpets in the winter and morels in the spring. Beef is just as carefully sourced, with many cuts coming from Oregon farms, such as grass-fed rib eye and tenderloin from Carman Ranch. For a regional twist, opt to finish your steak with Oregon-coast-grown wasabi and a dollop of creme fraiche.
Massachusetts: Smith & Wollensky
Since its founding in New York City in 1977, Smith & Wollensky has sourced its prime steaks from a single source, Double R Ranch and Snake River Farms in the Pacific Northwest, aging them for 28 days and preparing them simply with salt, pepper and fire. Since then, the now-Massachusetts-headquartered company has expanded to multiple locations nationwide, with a menu of signature steaks including a coffee-and-cocoa-rubbed filet seasoned with a Spanish mole-inspired dry rub and paired with ancho chile butter, and a lobster Oscar-style New York strip, an over-the-top surf and turf with poached lobster and hollandaise sauce. It's always a good choice to double down on lobster, particularly if you're dining at the waterfront Boston Atlantic Wharf location. Don't miss the lobster-in-every-bite mac and cheese, in which lobster is tossed in lobster butter, folded with noodles and a three-cheese sauce, and finished with more lobster butter. Save room for the legendary coconut cake, which features layers of coconut sponge cake, coconut mousse and Malibu rum simple syrup, finished with fresh coconut, a coconut tuile cookie, and a drizzle of passion fruit-caramel sauce. It might sound like coconut overload, but it's been known to known to win over even the most coconut-averse.
Colorado: Steakhouse No. 316
Seeing a need for a steakhouse in Aspen, wife-and-husband team Samantha and Craig Cordts-Pearce reimagined their existing restaurant, Lulu Wilson, into what they describe as a super-swanky, film noir-esque steakhouse. Housed in a historic 1888 Victorian home left over from Aspen's mining days, the dimly lit space is outfitted with red tufted banquettes, a sweeping white Carrara marble bar, gilded mirrors and dark damask wallpaper. (The staff believe the old house is haunted by the spirit of Lulu Wilson, a woman who lived there in the early 1900s.) The menu focuses on prime cuts ranging from filets to New York strips to cowboy rib eyes, all served in a cast-iron skillet. Double down on the decadence and top your steak with one of their inventive sauces, such as sherry-mushroom ragout or blue cheese-bone marrow butter. Round out your order with the perennially popular Lulu's kale salad, scattered with currants and pine nuts, or the onion rings, stacked on an actual branding iron, along with creative sides such as miso-glazed haricots verts, sweet potato gratin and curried cauliflower. In late 2018, the pair opened an even grander second location, in a historic 1900s building in Boulder, outfitted with curved black and red banquettes and a wood-burning fireplace.
Nevada: SW Steakhouse
What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, right? But it'd be hard not to brag about having dinner at SW Steakhouse at Wynn Las Vegas. The sleek and sophisticated space is echoed by a lavish menu, with luxe offerings like Russian caviar service; a seafood tower featuring Maine lobster, king crab legs, jumbo shrimp, oysters and crab cocktail; and a 4-ounce cut of Sanuki wagyu, which are raised on olives and come with a $220 price tag. Speaking of wagyu, the restaurant is one of only four restaurants in the U.S. that serve certified authentic Kobe beef (which come from wagyu cattle), prized for its marbling, juiciness and tenderness. It makes for an exceptionally rich and buttery steak, but if you really want to gild the lily, add on foie gras, Maine lobster or Alaskan king crab. Another steak winner is Executive Chef David Walzog's signature 42-ounce chile-rubbed double rib eye (which was featured on Food Network's Best Thing I Ever Ate), coated with ancho chile powder and ground cumin, and charred to perfection. You're practically guaranteed dinner and show here, too: The restaurant is situated on the stunning Lake of Dreams, a 40-foot waterfall whose 4,000 lights, holographics and music have made it into a must-see Vegas attraction.
California: Nick & Stef's Steakhouse
Nick & Stef's Steakhouse embodies the traditional steakhouse experience, but with a decidedly California-cool vibe. Snag a perch on the caramel leather window seating or at the walnut-top bar for a predinner old fashioned or a grapefruit margarita (pro tip: weekday happy hour runs from 2 to 7 p.m.) before moving into the coral-and-blue-accented dining room finished with glam touches of brushed brass. Meat is the star of the show here, as you can see from the dry-aging room that's visible from the dining room. The 28-day dry-aged steaks, grilled over oak and mesquite, include signatures such as the showstopping tomahawk rib chop, served tableside, and perennial favorites like rib eyes and New York strips. Can't make up your mind? Opt for the Cut & Whiskey tasting menu, which includes a flight of three steaks — New York strip, American wagyu rib eye and the exceptionally buttery and juicy A5 Japanese wagyu — paired with three whiskeys. Be sure to save room for sides (don't miss the orecchiette mac 'n' cheese and the Szechuan long beans) and salads, which play an important supporting role. Besides the fan-favorite tableside Caesar salad, Executive Chef Megan Logan taps into the bounty of Southern California's produce to create seasonal salads such as Little Gem with Pink Lady apples and shaved fennel, or toasted farro with roasted squash, goat cheese and pomegranate seeds.
Maryland: Voltaggio Brothers Steak House
Maryland natives Bryan and Michael Voltaggio, whose names you likely recognize from Bravo's Top Chef, collaborated on Voltaggio Brothers Steak House as their first joint venture. Despite its location inside the glitzy MGM National Harbor, the restaurant has a design that reflects the family ties with a homey ambiance, and although each room has a different look and feel — a cozy living room, an elegant dining room — each provides a glimpse into the kitchen. The menu exudes sophistication and the refined techniques the pair have honed over the years. To wit, the beautifully marbled 36-ounce Creekstone porterhouse is grilled over coals in a special oven, imbuing the meat with a smoky, complex flavor. The brothers draw inspiration from their home state with signatures such as the shareable 10-ounce jumbo lump crab cake served in a cast-iron skillet and finished with herbs and a housemade "beernaise" sauce. Chicken-Fried Sugar Toads, a fish from the Chesapeake, are fried and drizzled with pepper honey and served with bread-and-butter pickles. And in true Voltaggio brothers style, there are some playful takes on the classics, such as a shrimp cocktail with fermented radish, and oysters Rockefeller prepared with smoked shoyu.
Kansas: Scotch & Sirloin
Since its inception in 1968, Scotch & Sirloin, or The Scotch, as its original location was known by Wichita locals, has earned a reputation as the place for steaks. It still maintains its reputation for serving the best beef in the Midwest, but when the restaurant moved in 1997 it got a design overhaul, cementing its status as a modern steakhouse. Beneath a dramatic curved wooden ceiling, a wine cellar and wine wall filled with over 1,500 bottles of wine make for eye-popping dining room fixtures — and a not-so-subtle nod to the restaurant's stellar wine program. All steaks are wet-aged (vacuum-sealed and refrigerated) for more than 30 days and cooked in a 1,600-degree broiler to ensure juicy steaks with a killer crust; signature cuts include prime rib and a bone-in rib eye. If you're looking for date night inspiration, opt for the Dinner for Two special, which includes a four-course menu for $75.
New Hampshire: The Library Restaurant
The Library Restaurant, located in the historical Portsmouth landmark The Rockingham House, is a favorite among locals as well as Boston's North Shore denizens. The Library has earned a reputation for its steaks (the restaurant shares a meat purveyor with many of Boston's top steakhouses) as well as its polished-yet-cozy ambiance, created by decor featuring silver-lined French mirrors, dark wood tones and bookshelves filled with vintage books. Steaks are all cut according to the restaurant's specifications, including the flagship Gentleman's Cut sirloin, a beautifully marbled 16-ounce prime steak whose creamy fat cap imparts a buttery flavor as the steak cooks. Given the New England locale, you'll find local seafood such as New England clam chowder, lobster mac and cheese, and lobster pie, a riff on pot pie. The restaurant's lounge mirrors the warm, clubby feel with a pair of leather chairs flanking a cozy fireplace and a collection of more than 200 types of vodka behind the bar (it's owner Bruce Belanger's favorite spirit), 120 of which are in the bar's dedicated martini list. The restaurant has also won the Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator several years running — if you can, peek at the 1,000 bottles on display in the restaurant's private dining room.
South Carolina: Oak Steakhouse
Located in an 1800s bank building on Charleston's historic Broad Street, Oak Steakhouse exudes a stately charm with its arched windows, 20-foot ceilings, fireplaces and 150-year-old heart-pine floors. Despite its storied environs, Oak is firmly in the modern steakhouse category with Chef Jeremiah Bacon's menu of wet- and dry-aged certified Angus steaks and stepped-up sides paired with polished Southern hospitality. Start with the signature oysters Rockefeller or shrimp cocktail, prepared with locally sourced shrimp — this is low country, after all. For an inspired surf-and-turf choice, try topping your filet or strip with additions like grilled shrimp or scallops. Round out your order with the fan-favorite lobster mac and cheese or truffle pommes frites as well as Southern classics like collard greens with lardons or roasted jalapeno cornbread. For a more casual vibe, drop in for happy hour at the downstairs bar, which has earned a loyal following among locals for bar snacks like fried-oyster-topped deviled eggs and crispy shrimp, and signature cocktails such as Curse of the Isle, a ruby red grapefruit moonshine-based tipple.
Michigan: Prime and Proper
Prime and Proper delivers on its name, and then some. Prime cuts of meat are butchered in-house by all-star butcher Walter Apfelbaum and proudly displayed in what he calls a "jewelry case of meats" in the glass-encased aging room, then expertly prepared over live fire on a custom-made, locally designed grill by Executive Chef Ryan Prentiss. The style of hospitality here is helping to redefine what proper service means, as reflected by the one-to-one server-to-table ratio. Servers are trained by Apfelbaum and Prentiss to help steer diners to the cut of meat that best suits their taste — say, a heavily marbled chuck-in rib eye if someone prefers their steak well done. If you're lucky enough to be offered "butcher's butter," a prime, dry-aged, bone-in filet that Apfelbaum describes as "life-changing," don't hesitate. Not only the pristine cuts, but also the accessories, sauces and butters take steaks here to the next level: Think foie gras salt, shaved truffles, roasted garlic ash butter or proper steak sauce, a nod to Detroit's beloved Zip sauce, a glossy, beef-tomato-based sauce that's bolstered here with rendered dry-aged beef fat. Sides are equally indulgent, such as corn creme brulee; pommes pave, a crispy, layered take on scalloped potatoes; or ash-roasted potatoes with house-churned butter (you can also ask for the off-menu loaded baked potato here). And for the most-luxe happy hour ever, stop by the bar from 4 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday for half off four different types of caviar service.
Pennsylvania: Butcher and Singer
Philadelphia-based Butcher and Singer pays homage to the glitz of fine dining in the 1940s, with low lighting, moody, dark wood tones, semicircle booths, white tablecloths — and service to match. Iconic dishes such as escargots, shrimp and crab Louie, and baked Alaska hark back to the Golden Age, but Butcher and Singer's core menu is built around steaks and chops that reflect modern aging techniques. All steaks are prime grade and wet-aged, such as the signature 32-ounce porterhouse for two. Round out your order with signature sides such as hash browns stuffed with creamy potatoes, sour cream and Vidalia onions, or maple bourbon bacon, a thick slice of slow-cooked, maple-glazed bacon whose woody, smoky flavor is enhanced by aging on barrels that once stored the restaurant's barrel-aged Manhattan. Wash it down with that cocktail or a martini served tableside, or a bottle of wine from the extensive collection stored in what was originally the building's vault when it was home to the Butcher and Singer Brokerage Firm.
If you're after a classic chophouse experience in Richmond, you can't do better than Hondos. The polished dining room is done up in shades of mahogany and gold-upholstered booths, which line the wall that doubles as equal parts wine storage and decor. Signature steaks include the namesake Steak Hondo, a take on steak Oscar where filet mignon is paired with grilled marinated portobello mushroom, jumbo lump crabmeat, asparagus and hollandaise; a peppercorn-crusted New York strip with a brandy-and-green-peppercorn cream sauce; and a rarely seen bone-in filet mignon, served with fresh horseradish. There's an equally impressive seafood menu, with standouts including the fan-favorite jumbo shrimp in a garlic beurre blanc; jumbo lump Chesapeake Bay crab cakes; and a pair of buttery-sweet South African rock lobster tails. For a steak steal, dine on Sunday or Monday night and select the $32.95 three-course dinner, which comes with soup or salad, a petite lobster tail and tenderloin medallions, and dessert.
Rhode Island: 22 Bowen's
22 Bowen's is the rare steakhouse that manages to be many things to many different people. It occupies an 18th-century commercial wharf building in Newport, so you're just as likely to see suit-clad diners feasting on a five-course meal in one of the main dining rooms as you are to glimpse swim-trunk-clad tourists grabbing a beer and a burger on the patio. If you're opting for a steak dinner, you can order typical prime and dry-aged cuts a la carte or take the guesswork out with the 22B Filet Mignon. Its description reads like an ode to the steakhouse, with pommes puree, haricots verts, mushroom bordelaise and whipped blue cheese. Given the restaurant's waterside locale, it's no surprise that there's an excellent selection of New England seafood, too. Start with the fan-favorite local calamari, fried and served with a kicky three-pepper relish or a chilled New England seafood sampler, which includes lobster, littleneck clams, oysters and shrimp. For the best of both worlds, opt for the Surf & Turf Burger: a wagyu beef patty topped with butter-poached lobster, housemade slaw and truffle aioli, all piled onto a brioche bun.
New York: Keens Steakhouse
Stepping into Keens Steakhouse is like stepping back in time — the restaurant has been around since 1885, and its walls are adorned with rare images of old New York and famous local actors and politicians. Each room has a different decor that relates to old New York or Americana; the Main Bar, for instance, has a typical saloon girl painting from the late 1800s and images of parties that took place here from the early 1900s, including a fete with the 1908 American Olympic team. From the late 1800s until the late 1970s, Keens was also a pipe club for members — famous New Yorkers who kept their pipes here include the likes of Theodore Roosevelt (the Bull Moose Room is named for him and his party), John Barrymore and Babe Ruth — so you'll see hundreds of old-fashioned smoking pipes lining the ceiling in the upstairs dining room. You can feast on history all day here, but this is a steakhouse, after all. Steaks are aged for 21 days, and the porterhouse, New York sirloin and King's Cut prime rib (which clocks in at 32 ounces) are all perennially popular picks. But Keens most-famous dish is arguably the mutton chop, a saddle cut from a lamb that is older than a spring lamb, which gives it a stronger, gamier flavor.
Alaska: Club Paris
Club Paris may seem like a strange name for an Alaskan steakhouse, but the veteran who opened the restaurant in Anchorage in 1957 was so taken by Parisian sidewalk-cafe culture that he couldn't help but use it as his inspiration — complete with a bistro awning, green shrubs and a brasserie-style bar in the front of the restaurant, and baked escargots on the menu. Since then, three generations of the Selman family have run the place, along with the dedicated butcher, chef and broiler man who have each been with the restaurant for more than three decades. The restaurant has earned a loyal following for signature steaks such as the 14-ounce, 4-inch-thick filet mignon, as well as fresh Alaskan seafood such as poached halibut, scallops or king crab legs served with drawn butter and lemon. Can't decide? Opt for the king crab legs and petite filet, a surf-and-turf match made in heaven. If you stop in for lunch, don't miss the burger, featuring a filet mignon blend patty that's ground in-house daily.
Durant's was established in 1950 by Jack Durant and Jack McElroy, whose initial aim was to purchase the Central Avenue adobe building that had previously housed a small roadhouse bar, rehab it, and flip it for a profit. They found the process of revamping and creating a restaurant so much fun that they decided to take a cross-country road trip to get inspiration for ways to make the place their own — and landed on a steakhouse concept. Today Durant's, with its red leather booths, flocked red wallpaper and high-end service, is not only Phoenix's original steakhouse but also a local institution. Durant's is particularly beloved among businesspeople and reputed to be the lucky place to close a deal, but it has hosted diners from all walks of life, including generations of Phoenix families, politicians, presidential candidates and even high school promgoers. Perhaps its most-famous customers are Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe, who shared many late-night dinners in booth 23 in the bar (one of the most-requested seats). The steaks are just as legendary, with signature cuts including filets, rib eyes, prime rib and a 48-ounce porterhouse. Polish one off by yourself and you'll become a member of the Porterhouse Club and have your name added to a plaque inscribed with over 250 other names. Durant's fame even transcends state lines — because of its longevity and popularity, the restaurant and its owners have appeared in several books, including Mabel Leo's The Saga of Jack Durant, which served as the inspiration for the movie Durant's Never Closes, starring Tom Sizemore.
Oklahoma: Cattlemen's Steakhouse
Stockyard City is home to Oklahoma National Stockyards, the largest feeder and stocker cattle market in the world since 1910. Cattlemen's Steakhouse was started to feed the cattle hands and packing-plant workers and has since become an iconic gathering place for generations of farmers and ranchers. The restaurant has two distinct looks: The original building is fashioned like a diner, with two long counters and red vinyl booths, while the steakhouse side has two dining rooms, The Hereford and The Angus, each adorned with full-length, backlit photo murals of grazing cattle. Given its storied pedigree, it's no surprise that Cattlemen's has close relationships with local ranchers, who supply the beef to the restaurant. Steaks are wet-aged for 21 to 60 days, including a 20-ounce "Presidential T-Bone," named after the late President George H.W. Bush (there's also a President Bush booth named in his honor). Beyond the beef, the most-popular dish on the menu is the lamb fries — thinly sliced, breaded and fried lamb testicles. Unable to find a buyer for cattle or lamb testicles, the packing houses used to give them to the restaurant for free with their meat orders, but the dish has become so popular that the restaurant has to source 15,000 pounds per year from Iceland. Wash 'em down with a Double Deuce, a mild, refreshing wheat beer brewed by local microbrewery Choc Beer Co.
Kentucky: Le Moo
Owner Kevin Grangier says that when he created Louisville steakhouse Le Moo, he wanted the experience to be refined but laid-back. The whimsical name gives the place an air of approachability, while the baroque touches, from the French antiques to the rich velvets to the crystal chandeliers, give the place a dose of refinement. But that doesn't mean Grangier doesn't take his steak seriously. He did a cross-country tasting to find the best cuts, and attended two steak schools to learn about the different cuts and breeds. Order a steak flight — 4 ounces each of prime, choice and wagyu — and you'll get your own lesson explaining the different cuts. The prime jewel of the steak menu is the Japanese Miyazaki wagyu, considered the finest steak in the world and winner of the wagyu Olympics in Japan (yes, it's a thing). If you order it here, it arrives with a certificate of authenticity complete with the cow's nose prints. The sides and desserts get just as much thought, and several were inspired by Kevin's grandma's recipes, such as the lima beans sauteed with bacon and cream, and the pecan pie cheesecake finished with caramel sauce and candied pecans. On the libations front, the bar is stocked with 130 Kentucky bourbons; put together a tasting flight, or try one in the signature Moohattan, a riff on the whiskey-vermouth tipple, garnished with housemade candied cherries.
Connecticut: Washington Prime
When Rob Moss opened Washington Prime in South Norwalk in 2013, he didn't want it to be what he calls "your grandpa's steakhouse." So instead of dark wood walls and white tablecloths, Moss chose to give the restaurant an industrial-chic feel, with iron beams along the ceiling (a nod to the building's prior life as an iron factory), floor-to-ceiling windows, Edison bulb lighting and a garden trellis over the bar. The fun, high-energy vibe is echoed by pop art paintings on the wall and a '70s, '80s and '90s mashup soundtrack. To start, don't miss the truffle tartare, in which hand-diced rib eye is folded with fresh black truffles and a Parmesan cream sauce and topped with a raw quail egg. Steaks, such as the signature 40-ounce porterhouse for two, are wet-aged (vacuum-sealed and refrigerated) for at least 21 days, then seasoned with salt, pepper and smoked clarified butter, and cooked beneath custom-designed, ultrahot broilers that give the steaks an exceptional crust. Looking to give your steak the luxe treatment? Add a lobster tail or rosemary bone marrow. In warmer temps, snag a seat on the patio overlooking the water. It's a keen reminder of the state's proximity to fresh New England seafood, like the Copps Island oysters that Moss' friend and Norwalk native Norm Bloom delivers fresh off the boat daily.
Delaware: Walter's Steakhouse
John Constantinou got bit by the hospitality bug early on, growing up working in his dad's Wilmington restaurant. After he finished college, he found a location of his own and in 1993 opened Walter's Steakhouse in Wilmington. He modeled the concept after a classic New York City-style steakhouse, with dark tones and an intimate atmosphere that harks back to an era when you could hear yourself speak in a restaurant, with low ceilings and padded tables and carpet. The prime rib is the specialty here, slow-roasted overnight in a special, dedicated oven that's designed to lock in juices, yielding a supremely tender texture and concentrated flavor. Constantinou's old-school approach is also reflected in the menu: Every steak comes with a garden salad and choice of potato, such as scalloped, twice-baked or sweet potatoes. For a taste of the region, order one of the dishes featuring delicate, briny-sweet blue crab, such as crab cakes or crab imperial, in which jumbo lump crab is folded in a rich, creamy sauce and baked. Save room for classic desserts like bananas Foster, or apple pie served a la mode with cinnamon ice cream and a bourbon glaze.
Louisiana: Dickie Brennan's Steakhouse
Family-owned New Orleans restaurant Dickie Brennan's Steakhouse has been serving steak in the French Quarter since 1998, and it's rightfully earned its reputation as a classic New Orleans steakhouse. All steaks are seasoned with a housemade Creole blend and given the proper cooking treatment — chops are grilled, strips are seared, prime rib is oven-roasted, and filets are broiled. Many are finished with local Gulf seafood, such as the house filet with fried oysters and creamed spinach or the barbecue rib eye paired with New Orleans-style barbecue shrimp. The attention to detail is reflected in the grand hospitality that the Big Easy is known for, with attentive, seamless service and a tableside martini cart. Choose from five luxe combinations, such as the truffle martini garnished with cured and dry-aged Louisiana wagyu, or the Politician, a dirty martini garnished with blue-cheese-stuffed olives. If you're dining here around Mardi Gras time, don't miss pastry chef Katie Anderson's riff on the traditional king cake.
Minnesota: Lindey's Prime Steak House
Though it's located just 15 minutes from downtown Minneapolis, Lindey's Prime Steak House feels like it's in another world. Lewis Walter Lindemer, aka "Lindey," started the concept in 1958, selling his steaks at The Rathskeeler before establishing his own restaurant in 1961. He took over a 1920s building whose rustic charm is echoed by the cozy log walls and stone fireplace that evoke the feel of a cabin in Northern Minnesota. It's not far off; back in the day, many city dwellers would stop at Lindey's on their way to weekend retreats at their cabins. Generations of Minnesotans still frequent the Arden Hills restaurant, where Lindey's son Mark, and his wife, Tracy Lindemer, are maintaining the easy elegance and pared-back menu for which Lindey's is known. There are four entrees: Lindey's special sirloin (the most popular), Lindey's prime sirloin, Lindey's prime chopped sirloin, and broiled shrimp. Steak dinners are wheeled out on a stainless-steel cart, sliced tableside and served with family-style portions of potatoes, salad and bread. Generations of Minnesotans come to Lindey's to celebrate everything from first dates to weddings to birthdays — in fact, tens of thousands of diners have joined Lindey's Birthday Club, which sends diners a $25 Lindey's gift card in advance of their birthday. Birthday or not, save room for a slice of cheesecake from local bakery Muddy Paws.
Ohio: Jeff Ruby's Steakhouse
Restaurateur Jeff Ruby once said, "People don't come here because they're hungry. They can go to the refrigerator for that. Our guests come here to celebrate life." That mantra has pervaded Ruby's namesake steakhouse, which counts locations in both Columbus and Cincinnati (as well as three in Kentucky and Tennessee), with a high-end experience that combines prime steaks, seafood and sushi, live nightly entertainment and impeccable service. The art deco design mirrors that refined sensibility, with a 30-foot-long original Rothschild & Sons hand-carved bar, Swarovski crystal chandeliers and an eclectic mix of antiques from Ruby's personal collection. Prime cuts include a 30-ounce, 55-day dry-aged tomahawk rib eye, and a 20-ounce, 65-day dry-aged bone-in New York strip, but the signature is the Steak Collinsworth (named for early Jeff Ruby investor and Emmy-winning sportscaster Cris Collinsworth), an 8-ounce filet mignon topped with Alaskan king crab and asparagus, finished with a duo of bearnaise and bordelaise sauces.
Florida: Prime 112
In a city known for its glitz and glamour, Prime 112 is a sparkling fixture in Miami's posh South of Fifth neighborhood. The steakhouse echoes its luxe environs with wood floors, exposed-brick columns and champagne leather-upholstered chairs. On those sultry Miami nights, you'll want to snag a seat on the sweeping outdoor terrace overlooking Ocean Drive Avenue, prime real estate for people-watching and celebrity sightings (the restaurant is notoriously popular among A-listers like Jennifer Lopez, Alex Rodriguez and Lebron James). The menu boasts classic prime steaks such as rib eyes, filet mignon and a porterhouse for two, as well as sought-after specialties such as wagyu, which is also featured in a classic tartare preparation, and Japanese A5 Kobe (go all out with the $230 rib eye). Steaks are a draw, but don't miss local seafood such as the blackened swordfish paired with papaya salsa, and (when they're in season) stone crab claws, steamed and served chilled with homemade Dijon mayonnaise. Stepped-up sides such as creamed corn with black truffles, truffle lobster mac and cheese, and Kobe beef and sausage stuffing round out the menu.
North Dakota: Cork' N Cleaver
Cork' N Cleaver opened in Fargo in the winter of 1970 with a simple menu of four steaks, a baked potato and a salad bar, and a reputation for friendly service. The casual, friendly vibe has remained a constant, though the menu has since expanded to include seafood such as Alaskan king crab and walleye pike, a regional favorite, and steaks such as prime rib and the signature Cork's Pride, a 14-ounce center cut taken from the tip of the sirloin swirl that plumps up when grilled (pictured above). Steaks come with several sides, including a baked local Red River Valley red potato, a variety prized for its buttery, creamy texture. Though wine isn't typically associated with North Dakota, it's central to the Cork's identity. Members of the UnCork Club meet for weekly wine tastings, and the grapevines around the restaurant's building and patio are harvested seasonally to make a limited bottling of a Cabernet-Merlot blend. Pro tip: If you're dining here during one of North Dakota's notoriously cold winters, snag a seat by one of three fireplaces.
New Jersey: The River Palm Terrace
Located just across the river from New York City, The River Palm Terrace in Edgewater didn't have to look far for inspiration to create a grand New York-style steakhouse. Since it opened its doors in 1983, the New Jersey restaurant has attracted a loyal following among locals and celebrities alike, and photos of notable A-listers who have dined here line the wall, including Martin Scorsese, Ice-T, Coco, Geraldo Rivera and Mary J. Blige. If you manage to score a reservation — the restaurant estimates that it turns down 500 reservation requests most Saturday nights — you can almost always count on seeing a celebrity (hint: they've likely snagged one of the coveted leather booths in the Palm Room). All steaks are dry-aged and butchered on-site, including the popular Porterhouse for Two, but there's lots more to love here, including the fresh homemade mozzarella, wasabi-sesame crusted tuna, Colorado rack of lamb and stellar sushi. The restaurant also boasts a top-notch wine program and list — it's heavy on the Cabernet Sauvignon, but if you're looking for something different, one of sommelier Joe Iurato's favorites is the 2013 Zuccardi Aluvional "La Consulta" Malbec from Uco Valley, Argentina, paired with a prime New York shell steak.
Georgia: Hal's "The Steakhouse"
Hal's is a Buckhead institution that has been part of Atlanta's dining scene for nearly three decades. It's a classic steakhouse by design, with wood tones and exemplary service, but it boasts a high-energy vibe thanks to nightly live music and a clientele that spans many walks of life, including politicians, business executives, sports stars and movie stars — lately, since many films are shot in Atlanta, film stars such as Jamie Foxx and Robert De Niro have been known to make repeat cameos. Besides earning a reputation around town as a place to see and be seen, Hal's is known for serving the best steak in town, including signature cuts such as a 12-ounce filet mignon and a 20-ounce rib eye, both finished with butter sauce. The restaurant's namesake owner originally hails from New Orleans, so there's a sprinkling of Big Easy-inspired dishes such as shrimp remoulade finished with a Creole sauce, crawfish tails and gumbo. Wash it all down with a signature 10-ounce martini or a bottle from their 700-plus-label wine list.
Indiana: St. Elmo Steak House
When St. Elmo Steak House was founded in 1902, the restaurant was a small tavern anchored by a tiger-oak back bar from Chicago. Over the last century, it has cemented its status as an Indianapolis landmark — it's said that if those walls could talk, they'd spill the stories of businesspeople sealing deals, politicians strategizing and plotting, and coaches and players commiserating over their losses or basking in their wins. Though the space got a facelift in the 1990s, the classic turn-of-the-century Chicago saloon vibe is still present throughout, as is the classic steakhouse experience. Nearly every dinner here begins with the famous St. Elmo shrimp cocktail, four jumbo shrimp paired with a signature spicy cocktail sauce. All steaks are 100 percent USDA Black Angus, sourced from small family farms throughout the Midwest. You can't go wrong with any of them, but the 20-ounce, bone-in cowboy rib eye (pictured) is a showstopper with beautiful marbling and a buttery, rich flavor. Pair it with made-from-scratch sides such as onion rings or creamed corn. Wash it all down with a bottle of wine from the award-winning cellar (tables next to the basement cellar are also among the most coveted) or a single-barrel bourbon, part of one of the largest privately selected selections in the country.
Washington: The Butcher's Table
The Butcher's Table, located in Seattle's South Lake Union neighborhood, lives up to its name with a retail butcher counter and a best-in-class steak program featuring exclusively Mishima Reserve American wagyu, a richly marbled breed. The main dining room's interior is equally rich, with sweeping windows, dark mahogany tones and a swanky, cascading glass chandelier. (If you're looking for a quieter nook, ask for a table downstairs near the fireplace, or find a spot at the cozy subterranean bar.) From the steak menu, choose your cut and then your grade, say a 5-star center cut rib eye or an ultra filet mignon, or do a taste test by opting for the tasting flight. The menu is rounded out with local seafood, like Seattle's take on surf and turf, a filet mignon topped with Penn Cove mussels (pictured above), as well as seasonal vegetable dishes, many of which are inspired by produce from owner Kurt Beecher Dammeier's garden. He's also the founder of Beecher's Handmade Cheese, so sides such as the twice-baked potato and hen of the woods mushrooms come with the signature nutty Flagship and four-year Flagship cheeses, respectively. Perhaps the only side that could rival anything paired with Beecher's cheese is the beef-fat fries — mashed potatoes that are shredded, baked and double-fried in beef fat, to crisp-fluffy effect.
Hawaii: Buzz's Original Steakhouse
Buzz's Original Steakhouse has earned its reputation as a local institution, as the Schneider family-owned business has operated restaurants in Hawaii since 1962 and Buzz's is the oldest steakhouse in Hawaii. It exudes aloha hospitality, with a beachside locale and friendly neighborhood vibes to match. Locals and tourists alike angle for a spot on the lanai, especially the "presidents' table," where both Clinton and Obama have dined. The prime real estate is just the spot for tiki-style cocktails (try the Mai Tai) and pupus, or appetizers, including the locally famous calamari, lightly breaded in panko and pan-fried in butter, or the artichoke surprise, a steamed artichoke finished with whipped garlic butter and a dusting of Parmesan. Steaks and seafood share equal billing: Steaks are cooked on a wood-fired grill stacked with native kiawe wood, which imbues the meat with a sweet-smoky kiss of flavor, and there are three fresh catches featured nightly. There's also a locally inspired salad bar featuring fresh avocado, homemade sweet pickled onions and namasu, Japanese-style pickled carrots and daikon, which pairs nicely with the house's signature ginger-garlic teriyaki-marinated steak. Looking for a souvenir? If you were admiring the lunar calendars papering the walls — 25 years' worth — you can purchase the current year's calendar, featuring local artists' works, and proceeds will benefit the Hawaii Food Bank.
Nebraska: Ole's Big Game Steakhouse
Just after midnight on August 9, 1933, when Prohibition was lifted in Nebraska, Rosser "Ole" Herstedt opened a tavern in Paxton. Eventually it became Ole's Big Game Steakhouse & Lounge, named for the more than 200 trophy mounts that hang over the bar tables and booths, which Ole brought back from his big-game hunting expeditions around the world. These include a polar bear, which greets you at the door; a moose from Canada; a black bear from Alaska; a red fox from England; and even a python from Honduras. And though its larger-than-life presence has been around for over 85 years, it still maintains its mom-and-pop charm. The walls are adorned with old photos of locals and memorabilia from the '40s and '50s, and the vibe is decidedly unfussy. Start with house specialties such as chicken gizzards paired with ranch, or Rocky Mountain oysters, lightly breaded and fried. Then move on to one of the classic steak cuts — Nebraska beef is ordered locally from a third-generation butcher at nearby Hehnke's Grocery — say, an 8-ounce sirloin with jumbo shrimp (pictured) or a T-bone to share. If you're looking to take a walk on the wild side, opt for the buffalo burger or one of the elk specials.
Alabama: George's Steak Pit
Though small in size, the town of Sheffield is big in history — it's home to the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio, where Cher recorded her debut solo album and the Rolling Stones recorded songs like "Brown Sugar" and "Wild Horses," and in 1815 it was where General Andrew Jackson and his troops crossed the Tennessee River (the exact crossing site is still called Jackson Hollow today). So, it should come as no surprise that the town's steakhouse is just as storied. George's Steak Pit was opened by current owner Frank Vafinis' parents in 1956 as an upscale steakhouse and quickly earned a reputation for its polished ambiance — think white linen tablecloths, fresh flowers, fine china — and hand-cut steaks, all cooked over an open pit. Whether you order the signature 22-ounce bone-in rib eye, the filet or the ahi tuna, all are imbued with an unmistakable kiss of hickory smoke and a killer sear. Salad gets second billing at most steakhouses, but don't miss it here, if only for the chance to try the housemade blue cheese dressing, which has been made according to the original recipe for over 60 years.
North Carolina: Angus Barn
Owner Van Eure's dad, Thad Eure Jr., and his friend Charles Winston, both fresh out of the U.S. Air Force, felt that Raleigh needed a steakhouse, so they decided to open one — despite neither of them having any restaurant experience. They knew they wanted to serve the best beef, Angus, and decided a barn — in name and design — would embody the rustic-yet-refined atmosphere they sought. Since they opened Angus Barn in 1960, it's become a Raleigh mainstay, serving nearly 20,000 aged and grilled steaks every month, including the perennially popular filet; the rib eye (the favorite of Executive Chef (and Iron Chef America winner) Walter Royal; and a recent addition, a 42-ounce tomahawk. But the Southern hospitality starts before you even order: Whether you're waiting in the lounge or just sitting down, you'll be offered homemade crackers and crocks of cheddar and blue cheeses made from a proprietary family farm in Wisconsin; it's a dish that's become as much of a signature here as the steaks. Angus Barn has garnered national praise, too, winning the Wine Spectator Grand Award every year since 1989, in recognition of its extensive wine program and impeccably trained sommeliers. If you're lucky enough to dine here during the holiday season, you'll be sent home with a gingerbread cookie (baked locally by Neomonde Baking Company) and treated to a dazzling display of Christmas decorations and lights.
New Mexico: Rio Chama
In the Barrio de Analco Historic District, not far from the state capitol, you'll find one of Santa Fe's most-beloved restaurants and bars. The steakhouse has earned a loyal following among locals and tourists alike for the best prime rib, burgers and fondue in town. True to Santa Fe's reputation as an arts hub, each room in the restaurant showcases rare collections of art: the private-dining Abiquiu Room displays a photography collection by Georgia O'Keeffe, the President's Room boasts a collection of 1800s Native American blankets, and Western artist Edward Borein's drawings can be seen throughout the restaurant. The signature prime rib is practically a work of art on its own, a beef rib-eye roast that's brined with herbs and spices for 48 hours, grilled whole over an open flame and then slow-roasted to juicy perfection. There's plenty of regional influence peppered throughout the menu, including Chama Chili, a beef, red chile and pinto bean chili; Quinoa Relleno, a roasted chile stuffed with quinoa, vegetables and local asadero (a firm, white Mexican cheese); and a side of green-chile mac and cheese. For a casual meal, pair the fan-favorite buffalo burger — topped with bacon, cheddar and green chiles — with local suds from Marble Brewery.
Wyoming: Million Dollar Cowboy Steakhouse
Million Dollar Cowboy Steakhouse, located beneath the legendary Million Dollar Cowboy Bar, is a Jackson Hole institution. The storied charm and Western vibes are a mainstay, but when Chef Paulie O'Connor took over in 2015, he imbued the menu with a modern, luxe touch. For an elevated apres-ski nosh, opt for the beer-and-bone marrow fondue with sourdough rye pretzels for dipping, or the wagyu beef tartare topped with a smoked egg. Steaks feature prime, dry-aged cuts such as a 9-ounce filet or an 18-ounce rib eye, but if you've got cash to spare, ask about the John Wayne & Friends to hear about the butcher's cut of the night, ranging from a 40-ounce dry-aged porterhouse to a 64-ounce cowboy tomahawk steak. This is also a great spot to try wild game, such as an elk T-bone or bison rib eye. Rib-sticking sides befitting a mountain town's appetite include lard-fried french fries, bacon-fat grits paired with 10-year aged cheddar and bacon kung pao Brussels sprouts. Don't miss the hidden happy hour from 8 to 9 p.m. nightly for half off the bar menu (try the crispy pork belly-topped mac) and dinner apps like short-rib nachos, plus half off well cocktails and wines by the glass.
Tennessee: Lonesome Dove Western Bistro
Chef Tim Love opened the original Lonesome Dove Western Bistro in Fort Worth, Texas, in 2000, where he earned a following for his bold takes on classics and an abundance of wild-game offerings. In 2016, he opened his third location, in Knoxville, home to his alma mater, the University of Tennessee, in the town's Old City neighborhood. The signature dishes are all here, such as the wagyu tomahawk rib eye, rabbit-rattlesnake sausage, and elk loin with candied blackberries, but there are location-specific specialties, too, such as the chorizo-and-sweet-potato-stuffed local trout, and crispy chicken thighs with grilled lemon jus, scalloped potato and fried olives (which proved so popular that Love added it to his Fort Worth and Austin locations' menus, too). The urban Western vibe is echoed in the decor — the building used to house the old Patrick Sullivan's Saloon and is outfitted with real leather hides, restored original hardwood floors and four working, restored fireplaces. For a glimpse of the wood-fired cooking action, snag a seat at the chef's counter opposite the open kitchen, or for a more casual vibe, sidle up to the penny-top bar for a jalapeno cucumber margarita. (Pro tip: Upgrade your tequila to Love's limited Herradura Double Barrel Reposado.)
Texas: Killen's Steakhouse
As Killen's Steakhouse co-owner Deanna Killen says, "As a steakhouse in Texas, you can't throw a rock without hitting another steakhouse." Prime cuts of beef and polished service are de rigueur, but when she and her then-husband, Executive Chef Ronnie Killen, opened this place, they wanted to demystify the fine-dining experience by creating a steakhouse that delivered not only a top-notch menu and service, but an approachable, relaxed environment as well. In doing so, they put Pearland, a town south of Houston, on the map as a dining destination. Everything really is bigger in Texas; looking past the floor-to-ceiling wine tower in the cavernous dining room, you can see all the way back into the open kitchen (for an especially good view of the kitchen, ask for the slightly elevated table 80). The steak menu is divided into wet-aged, dry-aged and wagyu, which includes the signature, locally sourced 48-ounce Marble Ranch Longbone. Can't make up your mind? Opt for the New York strip steak flight, which includes 4 ounces each of RC Ranch wagyu, Marble Ranch wagyu, Cabassi Australian wagyu and Japanese A5 wagyu. For a regional twist, don't miss the locally famous chicken-fried rib eye, a prime ribeye that's double-dredged in seasoned breadcrumbs and buttermilk, fried in pork-fat-laced oil and smothered in a creamy, peppery gravy (it's so popular you'll find a version at Killen's Barbecue and the more-casual Killen's STQ).
Vermont: Fire & Ice
Fire & Ice opened in 1974, starting as a small rock-and-roll bar before evolving over the decades into a steak and seafood restaurant with a locally famous salad bar. The decor is equally renowned, and the building could double as a local history, nautical and sports museum. Fishing and boating are family traditions for Paris Rinder-Goddard and his parents, who founded the restaurant — it's hard to miss the 1921 Hacker-Craft speedboat that's the centerpiece of the "salad ballroom," and you'll notice fly rods, canoes, mounted fish and paddles hanging on the walls alongside antique wooden skis, snowshoes and nearly a thousand black-and-white family photos (some contributed by diners). The steak menu features typical cuts such as sirloin, rib eye and filet mignon, but the restaurant has gained a loyal following for its prime rib and steak Rockport, a butterflied filet that's stuffed with lobster meat and finished with hollandaise. Wash it all down with craft suds from Fiddlehead Brewing Company or Frost Beer Works.
West Virginia: The Wonder Bar Steakhouse
The Wonder Bar was opened in 1946 by John Folio, a retired boxer, and his wife, Betty, who got the inspiration for a steakhouse during a trip to Las Vegas in the early '40s. By the late '60s, the restaurant had earned a reputation for having the best steaks around, Big Band-style live music and Italian classics such as homemade meatballs, lasagna and veal Parmesan (a nod to the Folios' heritage). The iconic red carpeted walls, Frank Sinatra-esque music and all the original menu items remain, though current owner Daniel Watts has added an outside dining patio and a lower patio with a fire pit that boast a sweeping view of Clarksburg (dubbed the Champagne City by locals who have seen the city at night from this vantage point). He's also added modern steakhouse classics, such as a seafood tower and crab cakes, and implemented a dry-aging program. All the steaks, ranging from a 20-ounce bone-in rib eye to a 16-ounce center-cut New York strip, are aged a minimum of 28 days, then char-grilled and finished with butter and special seasoning. The wine list has also grown from 10 wines to 200, including the sought-after House Red, a proprietary blend that's bottled in-house. It's just the thing to sip by the fire as you take in views of the Champagne City.
Wisconsin: Five O'Clock Steakhouse
Wisconsin is considered to be the birthplace of "supper club" dining, and Five O'Clock Steakhouse, Milwaukee's longest-running steakhouse, pays homage to those traditions with the style of service it's offered since 1946: Servers take orders while diners are having a drink at the bar (don't miss the signature Brandy Old Fashioned, considered the state's unofficial drink), and when diners sit down, the table is set with a family-style salad; a relish tray with olives, onions, pickles, carrots and peppers; salad dressings; and warm sourdough bread and a honey bear. All steaks, including the signature 16-ounce center-cut filet mignon and the 21-ounce bone-in rib eye, are basted with a signature, top-secret char sauce and finished au jus. The old-school North Woods supper club vibes are echoed in the decor — the restaurant sits in a historic early 1900s building with a hand-cut limestone facade, there's dark wood paneling throughout, and the Christmas lights and decorations are a year-round fixture. Rumor has it that throughout the '50s and '60s the restaurant's Alley Cat Lounge was an underground gambling parlor where people would sneak in through the rear alley entrance; these days, though, you're more likely to catch a live show here than a gangster.
South Dakota: Dakotah Steakhouse
Nestled in the Black Hills, Dakotah Steakhouse embodies Western sensibilities in a building outfitted with tree-bark siding and a locally commissioned buffalo sculpture out front, and paintings of cowboys and Native American chiefs lining the walls inside. The menu features a roster of locally sourced steaks that are cut and aged in-house, like the can't-miss, Flintstone-esque Cowboy Bone-in Rib Eye. There are plenty of local specialties, too, starting with housemade fry bread — a simple dough fried like flatbread — which is served with bourbon honey butter during bread service, and houses the Dakotah Burger, which features an 8-ounce ground steak patty. For a taste of the region, opt for the tender, braised whole buffalo rib, paired with a zesty barbecue sauce; pheasant poppers, fried beer-battered jalapenos filled with cream cheese and pheasant; or chislic, sirloin that's skewered, dry-rubbed and fried, served with a housemade creamy cilantro-lime sauce.
Iowa: The Iowa Chop House
Situated in the historic district of downtown Iowa City, The Iowa Chop House exudes a farmhouse-chic vibe that befits its heartland locale. The decor is equal parts modern and rustic, with hardwood floors, photos of pastoral farm scenes, and tabletops fashioned from reclaimed barn wood from the Seelman Farm, a local farm that's been around since 1838 (and whose grazing cows are the ones pictured on the wall). The menu reflects a farm-to-fork ethos: Beef is sourced from local farms or in partnership with the Iowa Cattlemen's Association; cheese curds, a regional delicacy and popular appetizer, come from Amana (here they're fried and served with homemade ranch dressing); and seasonal vegetables are sourced from local farms or grown at the Chop House's own Ernie Found Farm in Iowa City (don't miss the sweet-corn succotash). And while beef is arguably the star of the show, there's also a fan-favorite pork chop that gets equal billing alongside the signature steaks, and a perennially popular starter is the bacon board, in which double-cut bacon is tossed and baked in a pepper maple glaze. The farmhouse vibes extend to the drink offerings, too. It's hard not to notice the Beer Barn, a reclaimed-wood replica of the Seelman family barn, anchoring the middle of the restaurant. It's built around a beer cooler and is outfitted with interactive tablets that allow diners to learn more about the local beers on tap before pouring their own.
Utah: Grub Steak
Grub Steak is one of the few restaurants where you'd feel as much at home in ski gear as you would in a tuxedo or cocktail dress. To wit, the Park City steakhouse has become a favorite among local and vacationing skiers and Sundance Film Festival celebs alike. The iconic steakhouse has been around since 1976, and little has changed in the country-Western decor, with bison and deer taxidermy and old paintings and photos of cowboys and Native Americans lining the walls. Head chef Brian Moody and broiler chef Gregg Moody remain fixtures as well, having worked here for over 30 years each. All steaks are wet-aged for over 25 days and grilled on an open broiler, like the wow-inducing tomahawk rib eye that inevitably results in a social media post. But the dish that garners the most-vocal praise is the slow-roasted prime rib: Almost nightly, someone remarks that it's the best they've ever had, and whenever he's in town, one regular from New York orders an extra portion to take back home with him on the plane. For the best atmosphere, dine here on Friday or Saturday night — owner Simon Shaner says that the restaurant really comes to life when the "singing cowboys" play live music and the manager yips and hollers like he's at an Old West tavern.
Missouri: Jess & Jim's Steakhouse
Jess & Jim's is a steakhouse that's been owned by the VanNoy family for three generations — and the fourth generation is the wings, working full-time at the restaurant. The vibe is casual and family-friendly, more steak joint than rarefied white-tablecloth experience, but generations of Kansas City families have come here to celebrate special occasions big and small, and the spot has been frequented by celebrities, athletes, musicians and even presidents — Harry Truman and his wife Bess are said to have been regulars. And despite all the accolades and press clips Jess & Jim's has racked up over the years, perhaps most notable is the "best steakhouse in the world" designation it received from Playboy magazine in 1972. It inspired one of the restaurant's signature dishes, the Playboy Strip, a 25-ounce strip steak (pictured above). No matter what you order, all the meat is hand-cut daily in-house by owner Mike VanNoy and served on a sizzling-hot plate, and the rest of the scratch-made menu features homey staples such as garlic toast and twice-baked potatoes, and homemade desserts like apple pie and carrot cake.
Bullwinkle's opened in Waldoboro in 1992 as a family restaurant known primarily for its seafood. Since Todd Mank, a self-described steak-and-potato guy, took over the restaurant in 2006, he's added more steaks to the menu and steadily built Bullwinkle's reputation as a top-notch local steakhouse. The restaurant still maintains a Cheers-like vibe — Mank should know, as he worked as a bartender here for nearly a decade — where locals gather at the tavern for drinks and a round of pool, and generations of families crowd into the dining room's booths or around large round tables to celebrate special occasions and feast on fan favorites such as the teriyaki-marinated hanger steak. Its proximity to the Maine coast makes it a tourist hotspot come summertime, when dishes with Maine lobster, from lobster-topped steaks to lobster ravioli to lobster rolls, are particularly sought after. The seafood selection is rounded out with crab — think melts, rolls and dips — as well as local clams. No matter the time of year, Bullwinkle's has a bright and lively atmosphere, so those seeking a more intimate nook should ask for table 11, a secluded, low-lit four-top known locally as the "mafia table."
Arkansas: Doe's Eat Place
The original Doe's Eat Place was founded by Dominick "Doe" Signa and his wife Mamie in Greenville, Mississippi. It began as a humble grocery store where Mamie sold hot tamales and Doe ran a honky-tonk at the front, serving chili and fish to a strictly black clientele. One of the local doctors began stopping in between calls, and Doe cooked up a steak and fed him in the back. The word about Doe's cooking got around, and Doe focused on the restaurant now known as Doe's Eat Place. In 1988, George Eldridge, an east Arkansas restaurateur and hobby pilot who had flown friends and clients to Doe's Eat Place for steak and tamales for years, brought the name, menu and no-frills eatery to downtown Little Rock in 1988. Though it had long been a regional favorite, what really put Doe's Eat Place on the map was when then-candidate Bill Clinton and his staff made the Little Rock location their campaign hangout during the 1992 presidential election — it's even where Clinton was interviewed by Rolling Stone for a cover story. But for all its press, Doe's maintains that the eats are the true star here. You'll want to bring an appetite—or a friend—as the 30-day-aged steaks are served family style by the pound, starting at 2 pounds. Steaks come with fries or new potatoes, Texas toast and Doe's signature soaked salad, amply dressed in a lemon-olive oil dressing. And don't miss the Delta-style beef tamales, served with homemade chili.
Montana: Lolo Creek Steakhouse
"Rare yet well done" is how Lolo Creek owner Mike Grunow sums up his log-cabin Western Montana steakhouse, which is why he believes dining there is worth the wait (so does Hannah Hart — Lolo Creek was featured on I Hart Food). And you'll likely have to. Diners are accommodated on a first-come, first-seated basis, and it's not unusual to wait up to an hour for a table. Since 1987, Lolo Creek has served a dozen different choice, hand-cut, wet-aged steaks, all cooked on a wood-fired grill in an open pit that anchors the dining room (carefully tended to by grill masters). Dinner starts with a vegetable tray for the table, and all entrees come with a choice of salad, potato and Texas toast. If you're opting for steak, you can't do better than the signature rib eye, offered in 12- or 20-ounce portions, but the seafood selection is also stellar (ask about the catch of the day). If you find yourself on the longer end of a wait, snag a seat in the lounge or on the deck for sweeping views of Big Sky Country — the restaurant is nestled below Lolo Peak in the Bitterroot range of the Rocky Mountains. Or take the golf cart shuttle to the adjacent Lolo Creek Distillery and Tasting Room to sample their vodkas and gins, including seasonal releases such as honey huckleberry vodka and jalapeno vodka.