Perini Ranch Steakhouse

by Mary Maynard
(Monument, CO. USA)

Friday, May 21, 2010


The precinct in which this restaurant resides is a “dry precinct.” I have never heard of this. I have heard of a dry county. I have tried to drink in Utah and not been allowed to order a glass of wine without ordering food(asked if I could order food and wine and not eat the food, and the server laughed, thought about it and then said yes. So I did just that).

But a dry precinct? The voters in this small area decided to be dry? Oh, well, this might be something to be Not Happy about except I always feel like I am getting away with something in these situations. You have to join their “club” (drinking club? because then I REALLY wanted to join) and then you can order alcohol.

Keeton became a “lifetime” member this night for $20 and we were in like Flynn. The drama had begun and we hadn’t looked at the menu yet. What is there to not like about a totally Texan, ranchy-looking atmosphere surrounded by wild flowers, the largest ever armadillo? and the wafting of mesquite smoke? Nothing!

Not Happy?

Disclaimer: this is not a real Happy Hour! Keeton said we had to go anyway because it was so much fun and that prices were so good around Abilene, TX that it feels like a discount. Also, there is no air-conditioning? Well, not out on the screened in porch where we sat. It was May and not very hot so we were very comfortable with the fans going but in the summer it might be a different story. They don’t have many appetizers and they are mostly one big carb, but really why do you come to a place like this unless you are looking for meat and cornbread?

Concealed Carry or No Concealed Carry?

People (in small towns especially) in Texas are just the nicest people in the whole nation, so you do not need a gun for protection, but this might be the only place we have been where you might need to carry in order to feel like you fit in. Peer pressure can be so powerful.

How Happy Does It Get?

No Happy Hour but wine by the glass was about $7-10. I had Merlot. David had Malbec. Keeton had beer and Malbec.

Cuteness Factor:

Almost everything is wood, like a ranch should be. Wood tables and walls and floors. Brick floors in the porch where we sat. It looks like a Texas Dance Hall. Large windows that look out at wildflowers and a pastoral view should be considered part of the decorating. And my favorite part, of course, are the dead animals used as wall décor. Every restaurant I ate in had the same “artwork” and while I wouldn’t really want to emulate the style at home, it screams Texas where people are tied to the land and understand where their food comes from. Authentic and fun.

The Stuff Other Than Wine:

The key word here is Mesquite. Keeton had the Peppered Strip, David had the Ribeye and I had Chicken. They also offer a “Cowboy Ribeye” which is 22oz. WE ARE IN TEXAS! Everything tasted like smoke! Here comes the fantasy part for me, the desserts. Texas Chocolate Cake (touch of cinnamon and covered in chocolate pecan frosting), Bread Pudding (with Jack Daniels Whiskey Sauce), and really interesting, Jalapeno Cheesecake (sweet cheesecake drizzled with savory jalapeno jelly) I can barely stand to type this.

Those People Who Bring Me Alcohol:

Server was delightful. He and Keeton had grown up in the same town and he asked if Keeton knew some friend of his and because it is Texas, he did. So they were connected by 6 degrees although around these parts I am thinking it might be 2 degrees of separation only! The chicken was exactly as he described it- moist and smoke filled.

Problems of the World Solved

Is there a store somewhere in Texas that sells mounts of dead animals so that restaurants can decorate themselves?

How the three of us will be in Vegas soon and it will be nothing like Texas.

How Keeton bought me a Perini Ranch Steakhouse cookbook although I don’t cook, but it will look beautiful on my coffee table.

We are HAPPY to Happy Hour here!!

Perini Ranch Steakhouse
Farm to Market 89
Buffalo Gap, TX 79508

By Mary Maynard

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