6.28.2020

Serving 22,000 steaks a Month and 14 million Guests through the Years, Raleigh's Angus Barn Celebrates 60 years in Business

As a child, I remember a black and white photo that was in my family photo albums that were of an era before I was born. Dad was wearing a jacket and a tie. Mom had on some green patterned skirt and white frilly collar blouse that screamed the holiday season. The shirt became popular again in the early nineties. To find that photo now would require hours of digging in a box. For some reason, that photo always fascinated me. They were celebrating the holidays at Raleigh's Angus Barn in the mid-sixties. I came along at the very end of 1968 and changed their lives. I look back now at a much older age than they were in that photo, and I laugh now because I realize their life was turned upside down upon my arrival. No doubt, they had a pretty good 14 years before my fabulous entrance. 


When I moved to Raleigh in 2000, one of the first things I wanted to do was to dine at the Angus Barn just like parents did so many years earlier. It was interesting to me to think that a restaurant was still thriving after so many years. I've written about the Southern tradition of the Angus Barn during the holidays on the blog before and how it is so wonderful for families during the holidays. 

The Angus Barn in Raleigh, NC circa 1060
Angus Barn exterior circa 1960. Photo credit courtesy of Angus Barn


The Angus Barn, located on Highway 70 near the very-small Raleigh-Durham International Airport, opened its door to the public on June 28, 1960. Truthfully, it was in the middle of nowhere. Nothing was out there except an airport that had about twenty flights a day. Ironically, this new cutting-edge restaurant was located just a few miles away from where my parents resided. 


In 1959, novice restauranteurs Thad Eure, Jr, and Charles Winston bought 50 acres of pastureland on a desolate section of Highway 70, halfway between Raleigh and Durham. Believed by many to be misguided due to its rural location, the young entrepreneurs were unable to receive any bank funding. 


However, Eure and Winston were determined and borrowed from every person who had a modicum of faith in them to raise the money. Based on dining preferences of the time, they decided that the restaurant would have a steak and potato-based menu; and the legendary Angus Barn concept was launched.


With a strong hospitality vision,  the southern gentleman with no previous restaurant experience ended up establishing a local and national landmark. There is a lot of history behind those now-famous red-barn doors. The restaurant has seen its customers through tragedy and triumph. The barn came back better than before after a devastating fire in 1964.  At the age of 60 this month, its one of Raleigh's oldest restaurants. 

Fire destroyed the Angus Barn in 1964
The Angus Barn Fire of 1964 in Raleigh, NC/Witek Marketing 


In 1978, Eure bought out Charles Winston, who went on to pursue other successful hospitality endeavors. After Thad Eure Jr died in 1988, at the young age of 56, his wife Alice and daughter Van continued to co-own and manage his beloved "Big Red." 


Owners of the Angus Barn
Thad and Alice Eure, original owners of the Angus Barn 



Now owned and operated by Van and her husband Steve Thanhauser, the Angus Barn is staffed by a loyal, hard-working team, many of whom have built lifelong careers at the Angus Barn. "I may own the barn," says Eure, "but the customer is the true boss. Customers can choose to close your doors simply by taking their business elsewhere. I am here to guide my Angus Barn family in recognition that each guest to walk through our doors is our boss."


During COVID19, the  Angus Barn had to adjust business to curbside take-out like many other restaruants
Current Angus Barn Owner Van Eure Serving Guests During Curbside/Witek Marketing 



Through its trials and triumphs, multitudes of loyal guests have made the Angus Barn one the nation's 50 highest-grossing independent restaurants, consistently ranked as one the 100 best restaurants in the United States. In 1989, Wine Spectator magazine bestowed its coveted Grand Award upon the Angus Barn Wine Cellar for the first time. It received the exact same honor this week, almost 30 years later to the day. 


The Angus Barn is 60 years old on June 28, 2020
The Angus Barn Celebrates 60 years on June 28, 2020/Witek Marketing 

 

Since that first night in June 1960, over 21,000 nights and 14,000,000 guests later, generations continue to make the Angus Barn a cherished part of their lives. Today this historic restaurant can seat close to 900 guests and employees over 400 team members. Although it is still famous as a "Beef Eaters Haven," serving over 22,000 steaks per month, the menu of the barn has expanded to include poultry, seafood, and pasta, as well as options for today's more nutrition-conscious guests.  


In 2008, the Pavillion, a  large open-air dining and event facility overlooking Angus Barn's scenic lake, constructed almost entirely of reclaimed materials dating back to the 18th century was built. 


And if you dine at the Angus Barn, you will notice that this is not one of those a-la-carte type steak houses that became popular a few decades ago. All dinners come with your choice of garden salad, spinach salad, Caesar salad, wedge salad, French Onion soup, or the soup of the day. Plus, diners get their choice of baked potato, stuffed potato (my favorite), garlic mashed potatoes, sweet potato, thin-cut fries, baked onion, white rice, or rice pilaf. Bread and homemade crackers are served at every table. 



The early years of the Angus Barn in Raleigh, North Carolina


If you ever visit, Raleigh, NC, experience a Southern tradition like the locals. We are so fortunate to have this outstanding restaurant in North Carolina. If only "walls could talk", I bet we would hear a lot of great stories. 


The Angus Barn is back open after weeks of closure because of COVID19 in 2020, just in time to celebrate its milestone birthday. Service looks a different right now because of the changing times.  Curbside Pick-Up/Take-Out is available with a limited menu. The restaurant's website details its current COVID safety initiatives. 



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