Instead of frittering away quarters at the arcade like most boys his age, Dean Laplant began learning his trade at age 13 by working the grill at his parents' steak house. He went on to open his own steak house in Wisconsin at the young age of 28, and later moved to Chandler to start DC Steak House, where he channels his years of experience into effortlessly preparing a menu of fine steaks, seafood, and chops.
Dean's wife, Lori, adorned the dining-room walls of DC Steak House's 100-year-old building in vivid murals that depict the local area's rich history. These elegant murals, along with soft hanging lights and white tablecloths, create a dining atmosphere more comfortable than a sofa stuffed with cotton candy. Patrons exit the restaurant into Chandler's bustling downtown square filled with shops and home to a variety of seasonal festivals.
Iguana Mack’s pays edible homage to Arizona’s classic roadside comfort food havens, offering live entertainment and a versatile menu filled with steak, seafood, burgers, and southwest favorites. Starters such as the spicy drunken shrimp ($9.50) prep masticating mandibles for the flavor onslaught of the original Mack burger, an all-beef patty layered with special sauce and Iguana relish, and paired with a choice of homemade sides ($8.50). The fish ‘n’ chips serves up flash-fried, hand-breaded Icelandic cod as a spin on the classic British dish, replete with fries and mellifluous working class Liverpool accent ($11.95). Cylindrical sumptuousness takes shape with the chimichanga carnitas, carefully rolling together smoke-roasted pork carnitas, spicy green-chili sauce, sour cream, guacamole, and salsa ($9.95).
A Town Pass at Rawhide lets weekend cow-wranglers saunter up to many of the Old West–themed attractions as many times as they like for a single day. Teach tots important human-donkey mind-melding techniques at the petting zoo, or let greenhorn lone-guns take a tottering ride atop a stout burro. More advanced cowpokes can attempt to drink a milkshake atop the Widowmaker mechanical bull, clamber up the Deadman's Drop rock climbing wall, or relax and leave the high-flying stunts to the daredevils at the Six Gun Theater, or by perusing the rambling thoroughfare's stretch of shops.
Named for their founder, a renegade radio host and showman, Bill Johnson's Big Apple Restaurants please palates with a menu of hearty American fare. Warm up your appetite with Grand Canyon nachos, which––just like the real Grand Canyon––are covered with beef, black beans, avocado, jalapeños, and more ($9). Mama's breaded pork chops ($13.50) and southern fried 1/2 chicken ($14) counterbalance a beefy selection of steaks. A six-ounce sirloin paired with endless popcorn shrimp ($15) tests the limits of appetites and pants, and a bacon-wrapped eight-ounce sirloin filet ($15) brings barnyard frenemies together at last. Guests can also make their own meaty matches with the Make Your Own Smoked Combo option ($17), which allows diners to make three selections from a smoked smorgasbord of pork ribs, beef ribs, pulled pork, smoked brisket, hot links, and barbecue-smoked chicken.
Rustler’s Rooste has come a long way since its original location posed as a hideout for cattle ranchers in the 1970’s. Today, the family-owned restaurant resides in a two-story, 1,500-seat building nestled amid the Arizona Grand Resort. Here, diners can admire the distant city lights as they chow down on dinner meals of Western steakhouse fare that includes rattlesnake appetizers, family-style barbeque chicken, top sirloin steaks, and homemade bread pudding. Though dinner starts at 5 p.m., guests can head to the second floor lounge for happy hour cocktails and unobstructed views of the live music bands, such as The Peso Dollar Band, playing nightly on the main-level dance floor. And for those looking to make a quick escape to the dance floor, a built-in slide quickly sends riders zooming from the lounge to the dining room.
Rustler’s rustic décor, which also includes wagon wheel chandeliers and an outdoor patio with fire pit, gives the restaurant a true Western feel, which is why many choose to use its extensive space for weddings, banquets, and reunions for the guild of television cowboy actors.
Donovan’s Steak and Chop House isn't out to rewrite the book on fine dining—it just tries to make sure that book is printed in the most elegant cursive possible. The restaurant largely succeeds, thanks to a few simple things it refuses to compromise on. Take, for example, the fact that Donovan’s exclusively serves USDA Prime steaks straight from the Midwest. Each and every rib eye or new york strip is wet-aged and flash-seared at 1,600 degrees to seal in the juices and leave the meat tantalizingly tender. And while beef might be the main event, Donovan’s doesn’t skimp on its non-steak menu, either, serving market-fresh Australian coldwater rock lobster and Alaskan king crab legs in a chilled seafood tower that guests can topple with their choice of a fork or trident.