Some long-time residents in Elizabethton can remember when the town had two steakhouses — the Bonanza and the Western Steer. During my college years, I worked at the latter. I may have even cooked one of your steaks. If so, I hope it was up to your expectations.
Those steak-focused restaurants closed years ago, and for a long time people had to travel out of Elizabethton for a good steak. Several years ago, however, Lone Star Steakhouse opened for business on Highway 19E in Elizabethton.
Since then, the local franchise of this national chain restaurant has carved out a niche for itself in the local dining scene.
Today, the chain operates more than 100 Lone Star restaurants throughout the United States, which are open seven days a week for lunch and dinner. The Elizabethton location is currently the only one operating in the Volunteer State. The chain extends throughout the Southwest, Midwest and Southeast, including locations in North Carolina, Florida, Missouri, Louisiana, Kansas, Iowa, Arizona and California. There’s even a Lone Star Steakhouse in Alaska.
On my most recent visit, I dined with a large party, and the servers did a great job seeing to the needs of everyone in the group. After everyone was seated, the servers delivered baskets of Lone Star’s addictive yeast rolls, which were warm, tasty and great for enjoying with the delectable cinnamon-honey-flavored butter also provided in the basket.
The attractive decor of the steakhouse features a large fireplace in one of the dining rooms accented by flagstones and rough-hewn timbers as well as metal cables twisted into decorative rodeo designs. A metal Texas Lone Star also hangs over the fireplace mantel. Seating is available at both tables and booths. Cowboy posters, NASCAR memorabilia, ceiling fans and large-screen televisions complete the interior design of the restaurant.
The eatery offers a selection of appetizers, including Fried Green Beans, Filet Mignon Queso, Spinach and Artichoke Dip, Steakhouse Cheese Fries, Coconut Shrimp and Lone Star Skins. I was content to enjoy one of the rolls, but some members of the group did try the Spinach and Artichoke Dip. This creamy dip is served with tortilla chips and is given some extra kick by the addition of some jalapenos and a topping of jack cheese and pico de gallo. The generous helping meant that the chips and dip were shared among some other diners, so I can attest to the fact this is a tasty way to start a meal at Lone Star.
Entrees on the Lone Star menu range from Specialties and Hand-cut Steaks and Steak Combinations to Steakhouse Burgers and Sandwiches. I considered several tempting entrees, including a 14-ounce Texas Ribeye, the 20-ounce Porterhouse and the Five-Star Filet Mignon, as well as Sidewinder Chicken, Maple-Ancho Glazed Pork Chops and the Swiss and Mushroom Steak Burger.
Feeling in a bit of a “surf and turf” mood, I chose Garlic Sirloin and Shrimp. This combination pairs a six-ounce sirloin steak and a skewer of grilled shrimp and grape tomatoes.
Entrees are served with a side and your choice of a fresh side salad or cup of soup. I chose to have a cup of French Onion Soup, which is spotlighted as a new addition to the Lone Star menu, as well as a side of Steamed Broccoli.
My friend chose his own combination — Sirloin and Sweet Bourbon Salmon — for his meal. He paired his entree with a salad and a salad and a side of Steamed Spinach.
Other orders from members of the group included everything from Fish and Chips to a Delmonico Steak Sandwich.
My soup and my friend’s salad arrived ahead of the main meal.
Topped with a crust of garlic toast and melted Swiss cheese and garnished with snippets of green onion, the French Onion Soup featured a rich and flavorful broth. It’s an excellent addition to a menu that also offers Loaded Baked Potato Soup and Lone Star Chili.
My friend’s salad featured mixed greens, grape tomatoes, red onion, shredded cheese, shaved carrots, purple cabbage and croutons.
Other available side dishes include Steak Fries, Baked Sweet Potato, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Twice Baked Potato and Side Caesar Salad.
Our meals arrived promptly. My sirloin was prepared medium, as requested. The topping of garlic butter added some appealing flavor to the steak. I also liked the skewer of shrimp and tomatoes. The grilling process seemed to really maximize the flavor of these items.
My friend also liked the Sweet Bourbon Salmon, and reported that the flaky fish went well with the well-grilled sirloin steak.
Service was also commendable, with quick responses whenever beverages or baskets of rolls ran low, despite the large size of our group.
Save some room for a dessert. If you want to soothe your guilt for indulging, keep this in mind. You can enjoy a sweet treat at Lone Star while also helping a good cause if you order the Triple Chocolate Miracle Cake. A portion of the proceeds of each slice is donated to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.
My friend and I chose to share a piece of this cake, although we considered such desserts as Big Brownie Blast, New York Style Cheesecake and Peach Bread Pudding.
The Triple Chocolate Miracle Cake is indeed a rich indulgence. This dessert features three layers of rich chocolate cake with creamy chocolate icing. It’s topped with raspberry sauce and served with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.
We left Lone Star quite satisfied with our meals. If you need to satisfy a big appetite, consider a visit to Lone Star Steakhouse in Elizabethton. Let them know they were recommended.
AT A GLANCE: Lone Star Steakhouse, 1361 Highway 19E Bypass, Elizabethton. 543-1313. Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. and Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Entrees range in price from $8.49-$25.49. Credit cards accepted. Carryout available. Full service bar available.