In the late 1950s Robert J. Lee heeded the advice Go west young man and packed his bags for Amarillo Texas. He imagined a romantic life on the range with cowboys and herds of cattle but was disappointed to find that much of the flavor of old Texas had vanished. Believing other travelers would be disappointed as well he founded The Big Texan Steak Ranch in 1960 on old Route 66 just outside of Amarillo. The theme was the Wild West complete with gunslingers cattle drives and beef--lots and lots of beef. One day a skinny cowboy wandered in declaring he was so hungry he could eat the whole cow. Mr. Lee took him at his word and served him all the steak he could eat. Four pounds (or sixty-four ounces) later the cowpoke keeled over and a great marketing idea was born. Mr. Lee began advertising Free seventy-two-ounce steak if eaten within one hour. In thirty-seven years 27158 people have attempted the feat but only about one in six (or 4514 folks) have succeeded. Visitors to The Big Texan can read the Rules of Engagement before tangling with the huge steak in the restaurant lobby. In a chuck wagon full of ice you can examine your entire meal prior to ingestion just to make sure your eyes are not bigger than your stomach. Today The Big Texan is located alongside Interstate 40. In addition to the steak house there is an adjacent motel featuring a Texas-shape swimming pool. It is still a family operation with Mr. Lee's descendants running the operation.
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January 21st, 2019
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