After several years of talking about it, Stephenville now has a genuine steakhouse where choice steaks are cooked to order over a mesquite flame. Fiddle Creek Steakhouse located at 2004 Swan (South Loop and Swan Street) is now open for business Tuesday - Thursday 11am - 9pm, Friday and Saturday 11am - 10pm and Sunday 11am - 9pm. Owners of the restaurant are Gale, Linda, David and Laura Warren.
The restaurant is decorated in old 1850 to 1900 pre-gasoline and automobile antiques. The walls display many of the Warrens' collection of Laura Butler's (Tarleton's artist in residence) paintings. Two of the paintings were specially commissioned for the restaurant. One depicts an old ranch house that was converted into a steakhouse called Fiddle Creek Steakhouse. The other depicts horses and riders crossing Fiddle Creek headed for a steak and a beer. The private club in the Fiddle Creek Steakhouse is named "The Crossing" at Fiddle Creek to depict a cool meeting place to get a drink, relax, refresh and cool off.
The interior of the restaurant is representative of an old ranch house with wood and paper covered walls and hardwood floors. The chairs and tables are solid wood not unlike those common in the late 1800s. Displayed on shelves high on the walls around the interior of the room is a collection of period items grouped into categories. "Some people consider many of the tools antiques," Gale Warren said, "but to me they aren't antiques as I grew up using many of them on the farm in Santo." We have been blessed by several friends and customers bringing in unique old items for us to display in the restaurant.
Linda and Laura are especially proud of the parlor (entry area). It is decorated with antique chairs, a very unique hanging oil lamp and, of course, an old family fiddle.
David plans to continually add to the decor of the bar area by allowing customers to brand the wooden walls of the bar area with their brand. There will be a brand register where each person registers their brand before actually branding the wall. Each person desiring to put their brand on the wall will be required to make a $25.00 donation to the local charity of the month. All monies raised from branding the wall will go to the charity designated for that month.
When asked how a lawyer got into the steakhouse business, Gale replied, "I had to do something to get David off the street," and then he continued, "no, seriously, as many people know, I have a pretty good reputation as a cook and I have planned to have a steakhouse for years. I left Friona, Texas and a good law practice to return to the pecan trees and fishing holes where I grew up planning to put a steakhouse in Stephenville. Long story made short, outside forces and the economy in 1979 (23% interest) caused me to go back to full time law practice. After more than 25 years practicing law in Stephenville, I find I still had a steakhouse in my blood. David had a good work history in the food industry, and we together committed to give Stephenville what it had long needed -- a first class restaurant and steakhouse."
Everyone asks "Why would a lawyer get into the steakhouse restaurant business with its hours and its problems?" Those people obviously haven't ever practiced law. They do not recognize or understand the stress and the pressure of law practice and how it weighs on you 24 hours a day. As an attorney, most of what you deal with are other people's problems and they are generally mad at someone. My steakhouse customers come in hungry, but not mad. We feed people a good meal, timely, and they leave happy and with a smile on their face. That's priceless.
What was your greatest fear when you started this venture? My greatest fear was that other generations would not recognize nor patronize good food. My Mom is a great cook, my wife is a great cook. David and I grew up on extra good food and we know good food. Most of this generation has grown up on t.v. dinners and Big Macs. I was afraid they would not recognize or appreciate good food. It's a lot like raw milk and homogenized pasturized milk. I grew up on raw milk – love it. Most young people today have never even tasted raw milk and wouldn't drink it if they did. To them, that's not milk, at least as they have known it. We'll see if people still appreciate good food.
We are specializing in good, wholesome, home-prepared food cooked in our kitchen, not prepared somewhere else, frozen and only thawed here. We hand cut choice Black Angus steaks that have never been frozen. We prepare most of our deserts in our kitchen. Our appetizers and deserts are old and new family recipes, a reflection of Mom and Linda's cooking prowess. Our salads and dressings are special. I demand a salad of color. Pale iceberg lettuce chunks and a slice of tomato is not a salad to me. We put color in our salads with the variety of ingredients and taste in our dressings. The house dressing is a roasted garlic raspberry vinegarette that is really special. All our dressings are special and complements to the salad.
What makes Fiddle Creek different from other steakhouses offering steaks? While we are not the only place serving choice Black Angus beef, we are the only place serving aged choice Black Angus beef that has never been frozen, is hand cut fresh daily, is seasoned with my special "Fiddle Dust" and cooked on live mesquite wood coals. We also offer a variety of fish and seafood cooked other ways than fried. A big grilled pork chop that is a thick, juicy, tender and tasty pork chop like ours is not available anywhere in this area.
Fiddle Creek Steakhouse features full bar service to members of the private club, The Crossing at Fiddle Creek. Memberships are free. The Crossing offers frozen margaritas like you find at the best places on the coast. The fruit daquiris (banana, peach, strawberry, pineapple, tropical hurricane and others) rival those in the best bars in the metroplex. The Crossing features a good selection of Texas wines. "We are trying to spotlight the Texas wine industry and the local wineries especially," said David Warren. The Crossing has daily specials on food and drinks.
What is the most often asked question? How did you get the name Fiddle Creek Steakhouse. When I first returned to Stephenville from Friona, we had an annual spring gathering up on Palo Pinto Creek near Santo. It was a big campout of friends from Friona, Stephenville, Santo and other areas. There was a creek crossing where the kids swam, the wives soaked up the rays and some suds, and everybody relaxed in the cool water. Each evening we enjoyed steaks, catfish we had caught, or barbeque brisket around the campfire. After supper, our musical friends would break out the fiddle, guitar and often a piano and entertain us all with some good old country fiddling and singing around the campfire. What we came to refer to as the annual campout and fiddling on the creek, got shortened to "Fiddle Creek." Because it was symbolic of good friends, great food and good music, we elected to call the restaurant "Fiddle Creek" in honor of those cherished memories and friends. It was only natural to call the bar "The Crossing" in remembrance of the cool times we enjoyed at that swimming hole.
The Warrens invite you to come visit the Fiddle Creek Steakhouse and see if the decor won't refresh your memories of friends, family and good times shared in the past. We truly believe you will leave with a full tummy and a smile on your face.