Whether you are hosting a group of locals for a corporate fete or looking to impress visiting out-of-towners, a great steak always makes a good impression. Beef is big business in Texas, which means myriad restaurant choices for planners.
“Nothing says Texas pride like a juicy steak. Texans spent $3 billion on beef in restaurants in 2014. That’s 700 million pounds of beef,” says Rachel Chou, Texas Beef Council senior manager, consumer communications.
And where better to treat your guests than a distinct steakhouse with private event space?
Bob’s Steak and Chop House
At Bob’s Steak and Chop House, with two Dallas locations (Lemmon and Lamar), planners can choose between a few options for private and semiprivate dining.
Bob’s on Lemmon Avenue is less than 10 minutes from Love Field and the Dallas Convention Center. Its private dining room, The Dome, accommodates up to 50 guests. With the restaurant’s carefully crafted wine collection as the backdrop, along with arched ceilings and sconce lighting, the atmosphere in the Dome is sophisticated. For events with presentations, a projector and screen are available. Bob’s on Lemmon also offers a semiprivate dining room, Ronnie’s Room, for groups of 25 guests or less, also with a view of the wine collection.
“Since 1993, Bob’s has what one wants of a Dallas Steakhouse,” says Audrey Petross, private event coordinator of Bob’s on Lemmon. “This is quality prime beef, the satisfying simplicity of a good meal, large portions and stiff drinks. Our highly experienced staff make the event seem effortless. The choice is made easy and events are successful.”
Petross adds that in addition to great steaks, Bob’s offers cold water southern Australian lobster tails, rack of lamb, and Maryland-style crab cakes, along with popular side dishes such as creamed spinach, sautéed mushrooms and large onion rings.
“There is comfort in the classics that are done well,” Petross says. “The prime beef is only dusted with salt and pepper and finished with butter. The smashed potatoes are mashed Idaho potatoes, garlic, cream, butter with salt and pepper. Finally, our desserts, like our New York Style Cheesecake, are family recipes made in house.”
Bob’s on Lamar, located inside the Omni Dallas Hotel, offers a private dining room that can accommodate up to 32 guests, and a semiprivate dining room that can accommodate up to 60 guests. The private dining room has a wall-mounted television monitor, which makes it ideal for groups giving a presentation of any kind, while the semiprivate dining room is better for groups looking for a more casual, lively atmosphere to host their guests, according to Rachael Geels, marketing and events coordinator.
In addition to hosting various company retreats, pharmaceutical dinners and corporate holiday parties, the hotel location provides great opportunities to host large groups that are attending conferences at the Omni or conventions at the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center (attached to the hotel via sky bridge), according to Geels.
“Location is obviously a huge trend for corporate events, and what better place than a steakhouse to provide a ‘true Texas dining experience’ to guests,” Geels says. “Planners are also looking for venues that offer a nice variety of food, for both health conscious and dietary restrictions, which Bob’s can accommodate very nicely. I also think that the oldschool, power-play image that a steakhouse conjures for a lot of people is a huge selling point for businesses looking to really spoil and treat their employees and clients alike.”
In addition to Dallas, Bob’s Steak and Chop House has locations in Austin, Fort Worth, Plano, Grapevine, San Antonio and The Woodlands.
Y.O. Ranch Steakhouse, Dallas
Lauded as “one of the nation’s finest steakhouses” by the Food Network, the Y.O. Ranch Steakhouse has three private dining rooms that range in size and can be combined by opening barn doors to create a unique space large enough for 170 guests at a sit-down dinner or up to 300 guests at a cocktail reception.
The Windmill Room, perfect for small groups, seats up to 18 for dinner or 30 for a cocktail reception.
It’s a nice intimate space with rustic appointments, historic photos, brick and warm wood furnishings. The Longhorn Lounge can accommodate up to 40 guests for a seated dinner or up to 60 for a cocktail reception.
According to Michael Street, sales director and special events, the Y.O. Ranch Steakhouse offers wild game dishes that are popular with corporate groups.
“We offer Texas hospitality in a warm and relaxing atmosphere,” Street says.
The rustic décor of The Longhorn Lounge is traditional Texas, with natural elements, turn-of-the-century hardwood floors, storied artifacts from the Y.O. Ranch, and antler chandeliers and sconces.
The Longhorn Lounge is equipped with a full-service bar, Wi-Fi and a plasma television, which may be used for presentations or to loop a slideshow.
Finally, for larger groups (100 seated or 200 for drinks), the Hill Country Lodge has a private entrance and is modeled after a 50-year-old barn from the Y.O. Ranch; it is pure Western charm with vibrant colors, natural surfaces, photos, western lighting, antlers and saddles.
Tradição Brazilian Steakhouse, Clear Lake/Bay Area and Southwest Houston
For planners looking to provide their guests with a unique twist on a traditional Texas steakhouse, the Brazilian steakhouse Tradição is a great option. The restaurant, Tradição, pronounced “tra-dee-son,” was named after the Brazilian word for “tradition” and founded as a way to continue the traditional method of grilling that originated in the “Pampas” of Rio Grande de Sul, Brazil. Clear Lake Executive Chef Vanderlei Bernardi was born in Southern Brazil and has more than 10 years of experience specifically focusing on Brazilian Steakhouses, both in Brazil and in the U.S.
“We are a family-owned-and-operated churrascaria whose goal is to make sure your dining experience is one you will never forget,” Bernardi says. “Just like in our name, Tradição, we stay true to the foundations of the traditional Brazilian churrascaria.”
According to Melissa Abrantes, private events coordinator, Tradição also will coordinate rentals for decorations or setting up a team-building event. “Our corporate clients love that there is an option and they do not need to hunt down a reputable vendor,” Abrantes says.
While the restaurant’s focus is specialty barbecue, guests begin their meals at a salad bar featuring more than 30 items. And then, the meat. All guests are provided a coaster with a red side and a green side. Once finished with their salad, guests can start signaling gauchos (meat servers) by flipping over the coaster to the green side. This indicates that the guest is ready to enjoy the more than 13 varieties of Brazilian-style meats, which include lamb, beef, chicken and fish.
Both Tradição venues have numerous private dining spaces. In Clear Lake, the Garden Room seats small groups up to 12, complete with a view of the goldfish pond. The Oasis Room seats 28, also with a pond view, and the Ipanema seats up to 25. Larger groups can utilize the Amazonas Room, which seats 55. The capacity for a buyout is 200.
At the Southwest Houston/Sugarland location, the Board Room is available for eight to 11 guests. The Malbec Room, next to the bar, seats 40 to 50; the President’s Room, next to the wine cellar, seats up to 38; the Front Private Room seats up to 50; the Rio Room seats up to 80; and finally, the main dining room can accommodate 120 seated. Total capacity is 250.
“[Our event] was a Texas Instruments group and all of the folks were just raving about how great the food was,” says Bea Moreno, HTF, Planning, Texas Instruments, who hosted an event at Tradição. “Many folks also commented how it was the best Brazilian food they ever had. The staff was very accommodating for all our needs.”
Cagle Steaks, Lubbock
At Cagle Steaks, the menu is true Texas steakhouse, with aged rib-eye steaks cooked on mesquite with just the right amount of signature seasoning. Additional items include smoked salmon, grilled chicken, fajitas and a full line of barbecue items.
“At Cagle Steaks, we provide an atmosphere of the cowboy heritage while striving to cook the best rib-eye and barbecue in West Texas,” says owner John Cagle.
Cagle Steaks offers numerous private dining venues. Rafters is the largest, with a capacity of between 80 and 375 guests. The main room is equipped with a drop-down projection screen, sound system, stage and a dance area. The Townhouse seats 60 to 120 guests and also has A/V equipment. For smaller groups, the Cookhouse seats 35 to 55 guests and features a porch overlooking a swing set and horseshoe pit. Dinner is served buffet-style and a bar is available in the room.
The North Fork room is more upscale, according to Cagle, and is the newest private room, located off the main dining room, with a capacity of 35 to 65 guests. The Salt Lick has a laid-back vibe and seats 35 to 75 guests. Esmondo’s is a log cabin accommodating 25 to 38 people and dinner is served by the wait staff (in the larger rooms, the steak dinners are buffet-style). The Indian Room seats 25 to 45 people. And finally, the East Porch, which is Cagle Steaks’ smallest private room, is perfect for parties between 15 and 25.