Tuesday, April 21, 2015
Taylor’s Steakhouse in Dumas is Dry Aged to Perfection.
Now, I mentioned grocery store. Taylor’s has always been a place to get a bite. Country stores often had a back counter and a kitchen, and you could pick up a sandwich to take with you when you picked up your bait for fishing or were heading out to the farm.
The 1983 opening of Taylor’s included not only groceries but sporting goods, bait, tackle and just about anything for living in rural Arkansas. It did so well, that Chuck Taylor (Charles’s son, who had by this time been working the grocery store quite a while) opened a liquor store adjacent to Taylor’s (local ordinances did not allow liquor stores and grocery stores to share the same building).
“My mother has always made barbecue. We’ve always done barbecue,” Chuck Taylor says. “You know, when the grocery store sales declined, we branched out and bought equipment and started doing hamburgers and po’boys and the lunch thing, sandwiches and fried fish, shrimp, oysters… and then it started to grow, so we started taking out grocery shelves, taking out sporting goods and adding tables and chairs for people to eat.”
“We started out with two tables, and lunch just took over. We became full of tables – we still sold chips and drinks and stuff like that, knick-knacks,” Chuck shares. In fact, Taylor’s cheese dip took on a great deal of notoriety, with people dropping by to pick up dip to take home. The restaurant even developed a big burger called the Double Bertha, which folks would try to eat in one setting.
“It’s always been our ambition to do a nighttime restaurant. So we started planning on it. We have a daughter in college now. We wanted to get her out of high school because she had activities at school – she was a majorette and we went to all the football games. We kinda held onto the lunch thing until we got her graduated. I perfected my recipes the whole time, for porterhouse steak, crawfish enchiladas, the whole time we knew we were going to do this.
Chuck Taylor worked out his dry aging process over the years. While he’d always worked with the grocery store and liquor store, he made a living by supplementing with other jobs –as a cook in a duck lodge during fall and winter, surveying rice levies in spring and summer. “I started aging beef on a commercial scale when I worked a year at the Yellow Dog Lodge,” Chuck says, “I studied up on that while I was doing lunch, too. I got that perfected, I hope.”
Taylor’s steaks have quickly gained renown, not only for their flavor but for their size. Kansas bone-in ribeyes and T-bone steaks run 25-28
There are many steaks on the menu, but the night we went, Grav and I chose to split the Porterhouse for Two. It came with salads for both of us with
No, literally, DOWN TO THE BONE.
The steak was absolutely magnificent. It was perfectly spiced and needed nothing to improve it. It was cooked close to rare (or, as I usually say, medium rare, closer to rare) and it glistened. There were angels singing when this came to the table, though the tune was more likely to have been O Fortuna from Carina Burana than the Hallelujah Chorus.
Taylor’s has also become known for a magnificent pair of bread puddings – including a chocolate version that often runs out. Many order theirs with their meal so they won’t miss out on the popular dessert, since it takes a while to cook. The Arkansas Delta has its share of great bread
You may be wondering, how does an upscale restaurant manage to make it in deep, rural Arkansas? “Anytime you step out of the loop of interest, as I told my wife
“It’s kinda like Field of Dreams,” Chuck tells me, referencing the Kevin Costner movie. “You build it, they will come. Yeah, it’s a dream of mine to do this, but it might become a nightmare, too,” he laughs. Something tells me with the great product he has and this growing restaurant, Chuck Taylor is going to be laughing all the way to the bank.
You’ll find Taylor’s Steakhouse on Highway 54 west of Dumas, headed towards Monticello. It’s open Thursday 5:30-9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 5:30-10 p.m. The official address is 14201 Arkansas 54, Dumas. Call ahead if you wish at (870) 382-5349.