Friday, February 28, 2014

Dining Along the Interstate – Long Horn Steakhouse

When Laurie and I recently made the return trip from St. Louis Missouri to East Tennessee, we put off stopping for a late lunch/early dinner as long as possible.  Finally, we pulled off of I-40 at Cookeville Tennessee to check out our dining options…

I can’t remember ever eating at a LongHorn Steakhouse but it appeared to be the most appealing restaurant near the Interstate… Since a new LongHorn restaurant had recently opened in Knoxville’s Turkey Creek Shopping Area, this also gave an opportunity to check this chain’s viability as a future dining option.

LongHorn Steakhouse was founded in 1981 in Atlanta Georgia.  The restaurant began with one man’s passion for perfect steak but business was slow at first.  Given the recent winter weather experience in Atlanta, it was interesting to learn that when a freak snowstorm hit Atlanta in 1982, stranded motorists were drawn to one of the only places available, a restaurant then called LongHorn Steaks Restaurant and Saloon.  The word got around about the terrific grilled steaks and business took off.  Of course it didn’t hurt any that the owner of the restaurant offered stranded motorists $1.00 cocktails!

The interior of LongHorn Steakhouse was bright, clean and, as might be expected, it was decorated in a western theme.  Note the chandeliers and check out the ‘cattle drive’ divider between the booths at the left of the photo.

By 1990, the restaurant had spread throughout the East, Midwest and Southwest United States as well as Puerto Rico.  In 2007, the restaurant, now called LongHorn Steakhouse, was purchased by Darden Restaurants, Inc.  The company is based in Orlando Florida.  As of February of 2013, there were over 370 LongHorn Steakhouse locations in 35 states.

Darden Restaurants also operates Olive Garden, Red Lobster, Bahama Breeze and The Capital Grille restaurants as well as a few other smaller outlets.  The company has over 2,100 locations with annual sales of over $8,000,000,000!

Now on to our food… Justin, our waiter started us out with this loaf of warm bread and soft butter.
We decided not to have an appetizer… Still, we were tempted!  A couple of our favorites were on the menu.  First there was the Parmesan Crusted Asparagus…fresh asparagus spears, hand-battered and served crisp with shaved parmesan and red chili ranch sauce. ($6.99)  Our other temptation was the Longhorn Shrimp and Lobster Dip…shrimp and lobster baked with creamy mozzarella, parmesan and asiago cheese sauce and then served with warm tortilla chips. ($8.99)

I ordered the Parmesan Crusted Chicken Dinner. ($10.79) It comes with a salad and a side.  I skipped the salad and ordered 2 sides…rice pilaf and steamed mixed vegetables.  The vegetables were nicely done…not over cooked…and I really liked the chicken!  The rice pilaf had pimentos in it…and I skipped it as I don’t care for pimentos.

When we visit the Turkey Creek LongHorn location, I’ll try the 18 oz. Outlaw Ribeye ($23.49); the 8 oz. Rancher's Sirloin that is topped with bacon, a sunny side up egg and bordelaise sauce ($15.49) or perhaps; the Cowboy Pork Chops, 2 8 oz. grilled center-cut bone-in pork chops. ($15.49)

Laurie chose a Primetime Burger with Garlic Parmesan French Fries for her meal. ($13.99) Her 8 oz. hamburger was topped with shaved prime rib, sautéed onions, mushrooms and Swiss cheese…with au jus and horseradish sauce.   Laurie really thought that this was a great burger…and it was cooked medium rare as ordered.

Another interesting burger option is the Rancher’s Burger…an 8 oz. hamburger topped with applewood smoked bacon, a sunny side up egg and bordelaise sauce.   ($12.49) Another interesting sandwich on the menu is the Grilled Chicken and Avocado Sandwich…grilled folded flatbread stuffed with tomatoes, red chili ranch dressing, avocado spread and Colby jack cheese. ($11.29)

Laurie took this close up photo of the bar at LongHorn Steakhouse.  The stone backdrop, the cowboy painting and the longhorn steer mounted in the center of this vignette work together to project the western ‘look’ for this restaurant. 

All in all, our experience at the Cookeville Tennessee LongHorn Steakhouse was a positive one!  Service was fine and the food was much better than I might have expected.  The true test will come when we visit our Turkey Creek LongHorn restaurant and try their steaks… After all, steak is their primary business!

The Cookeville Tennessee LongHorn Steakhouse is located at 1000 Jefferson Avenue South.  Phone: 931-520-8620.  The LongHorn Steakhouse website can be accessed at
Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave


  1. We don't eat at chains very often, but I really like their chili and use it as an excuse to go there.

  2. How I miss American Steakhouses. When we lived in New York the steakhouses were my favorite eating places. The meat here in Sicily is a bit on the hard side and the taste is not so great either. The imported Argentinian meat is much better.

  3. I find Long Horn to be dependably good for a chain restaurant. I usually order their ribs or their pepper steak salad with blue cheese.

  4. Dear Dave, This looks like a nice place with good food and reasonable pricing. Laurie's burger sounds wonderful. Blessings, Catherine

  5. Hi, We are home from a wonderful trip to Arkansas with friends. Photos tomorrow!!!!!

    Hope you have had a great week. We go to Cookeville for meals quite often (since there's not much in Crossville). We have never been to the Longhorn Steakhouse--so we'll need to try it sometime. Some of the other good restaurants there are the Olive Garden (our fav), Logan's Steak House, Cheddars, O'Charleys, etc..... Lots of choices!!!!!