Photo by Mihai Moisa
In 2012, Mayor Carolyn Goodman proclaimed April 7th would be Golden Steer Steakhouse Day. The day was to honor our history as the oldest and longest continually operating steakhouse in Las Vegas. It also wished us good fortune to pursue the next 50 year period. The restaurant has gone through many trying times but few could have imagined the scale and impact of COVID-19.
Nine years later, on April 7th, 2020, we had been closed almost a full month and had to come to terms with the fact that we wouldn’t reopen quickly. We had a long road ahead of us. Today, in 2021, we take the opportunity to look back and reflect on the past year.
To contextualize and avoid the perils of hindsight bias, it’s important to rewind the clock. At the beginning of March 2021, the National Restaurant Association had just forecasted 2020 would be one of the largest in the industry yet. A week into the month, it became clear the US was barreling towards the same as many other countries – closure.
As we sat in the wings watching the global landscape unfold, we quickly began iterating on different ideas like take-out, a hamburger drive thru, a local grocery store. We were just about to start building when March 17th came around and the official statewide closure came through. Like the rest of the town, we closed up shop as a non-essential business.
As a family owned and operated business, we had multiple generations at the table debating and pitching our next path but we all agreed that we would need to think long-term. The result was the launch of the Golden Steer Steak Company – an ecommerce business to ship our “Best Steaks on Earth” nationwide. We chose to pursue the ecommerce path because we felt that COVID would result in real and long-term changes to consumer preferences. The best way forward in a post COVID world would be as both a digital and brick n mortar business.
With that decision in mind, we quickly launched on Goldbelly in May and were able to successfully and quickly sell out of our first round inventory. Months later, we opened our own website to provide more value and offer even more products to our customers. What we learned during that period was we needed to be more than just steaks in a box because the Golden Steer is more than a steakhouse.
The Golden Steer as one customer stated it, is the soul of Las Vegas. It’s the old school ambiance that transports you to the time of the Rat Pack, with the music from the 60’s and the red leather booths. It’s the service, tuxedo waiters who treat their job like a craft and can always anticipate your needs; they put on a show with tableside dining from Caesars salad to flaming Bananas Foster. It’s the hand carved and butchered “Best Steaks on Earth,” the larger than life twice baked potatoes, and classic dishes made from scratch we’ve been serving for 60 plus years.
We wanted to take all of these elements and put them in a box to create the experience of the Golden Steer at home. We did so by reimaging each element and bringing it to life. Almost a year later, we look around and see that the Golden Steer has gone to the next level and the next phase. One that reaches every corner of the nation and all harkens back to our roots at the restaurant. We are so lucky and so fortunate to have found our way during these unprecedented times. None of it would have been possible without the support of our team or our loyal customers who gave us the courage to be creative without changing what makes the Golden Steer special.
As we take time to honor Golden Steer Steakhouse Day, we thank our community and take the time to look back at surviving 2020. The past year has given us the confidence that we’ll be here for the next 50 years and will continue to carry on the brand and the legacy of “the Soul of Las Vegas.”