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Fremont/Newark losing steakhouses left and right

By Matt Artz
Monday, September 15th, 2008 at 5:58 pm in Uncategorized.

Cattlemens has closed its steakhouse in Newark. I don’t know why, but, I, or someone else here, will try to find out.

Also, the Black Angus steakhouse in Fremont has closed. The Outback on Stevenson is still open for business.

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  • Doug

    Matt, how come your headline wasn’t “Where’s the Beef?” Okay, so I’m dating myself. Those ads have got to be out there on YouTube somewhere.
    As for the steakhouse closures, it’s a sign of the times and those signs are not good.
    Dow drops 500 points. Expect more retail closures.
    Forget what the next president is going to do. The Bush Administration has left us with nothing but change.

  • Doug

    Okay, so I’m having a conversation with myself. Here’s the Wendy’s Where’s the Beef” Commercial.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ug75diEyiA0

    p.s. this phrase was used a lot when candidates running for political office talked a lot, but produced little results.

  • Glenn

    I’ve eaten at Black Angus recently and I’d much prefer a “chain” steak from Texas Roadhouse, Outback or Claim Jumper any day. It was that bad. So I’d wager that it’s more “survival of the fittest” than “steaks are passé.” The lame economy just means it happened sooner rather than later.

    And +1 for “Where’s the Beef?” Clara Peller, ftw.

  • Marty

    Doug, I’m afraid this has nothing to do with the Bush economy. The truth is that the quality people of Newark, CA have become far too sophisticated for Cattlemens.

  • Jon Simon

    We had many good steaks at Angus and a few great ones. I’m sad they’re gone. Cattlemens, on the other hand, taught my wife and I the value of having two toilets in the house. From now on, we’ll find the beef at Texas Roadhouse when we want some dead cow now. We must be nuts!

  • Gorlash

    > Cattlemens
    We also had very mixed results there over the past few years; sometimes food and service were excellent, other times they were appalling. We never got sick there, though. I’m going to miss their superb blue cheese dressing.
    > Black Angus
    Simply never had a bad experience there. Love the food, especially the Teriyaki Steak. The worst we ever had with service was “okay”, usually very good. This is *really* a sad loss for Fremont.

    I wonder if our illustrious city leaders will replace it with another Starbuck’s, like they did with Hungry Hunter/Jericho’s?? You can never have enough Starbucks, even when there are already four of them in a two-mile stretch of Mowry.

    > Outback
    It’s pretty good, service is okay, but at dinnertime there’s typically an hour wait for seating. Too long for us, unfortunately.

    Once again, we’ll have to leave Fremont to get a good dinner.

  • MikeTeeVee

    Gorlash Says: “I wonder if our illustrious city leaders will replace it with another Starbuck’s, like they did with Hungry Hunter/Jericho’s”

    If only the city leaders had that kind of power. Isn’t it private citizens who open (or close) restaurants?

    The economy is down. Maybe fewer people are going out for steak?

  • Jen

    I don’t think it has anything to do with steak per se.

    Probably just “old school” places that weren’t patronized nearly as much as they used to be. In this economy, I’m sure the head offices of Cattlemen’s and Black Angus weren’t going to wait around for business to pick up. Apparently the Newark Cattlemen’s was the lowest performing in the whole chain.

    Survival of the most patronized, not necessarily the fittest.

    I’m always shocked that Papillon is still in business…

  • Oh Come On

    Let’s face reality, since nobody here wants to. Partly these places are closed because of the economy. People can’t afford the more pricier chains and instead go to Outback or Texas Roadhouse, etc. AND the locations sucked.

    BUT the real reason here that these places closed down is because of the changing demographics here in tri-city area. When these places opened (Cattlemens Newark opened in the mid’70s!!!), this was mostly a white steak-loving community.

    Now this area is full of Indians, Chinese, Filipino, Koran, Afghan, and latino (Disclosure: I am Indian). These groups don’t want to eat steak, and if they do, they are content with the regular cheaper chains. But more importantly they’d rather go to Sweet Tomatoes (ever seen the lines there? Fresh Choice is better, but people love this place for some inexplicable reason), Hawaiian BBQ places, cheap Indian places with horrible service (Udupi Palace anyone???), and who can forget the Tapioca places. That’s the REAL reason these places are closed and in the Argus article on it, Cattlemens said that Newark had the worst sales of any location. Look at their other locations: all in heavily white (read: steak-loving) areas.

    It’s sad because I LOVED Cattlemens. Never had any issues with eating there. Great food and service for me. Loved that bleu cheese dressing and sourdough bread. Steaks were much better than the regular chain. I’m very depressed right now over losing Cattlemens and thinking I’d have to go to Livermore to eat there.

  • Doug

    Demographics plays a role, but restauranteurs also need to adjust their menus to reflect the times. Calorie counting is in, two-pound T-bones are out; at least in the Bay Area.
    Price is also a factor. Some may disagree, but that’s what continues to make the Elephant Bar popular and they changed their menu to reflect the demographics.
    Those that love to glut themselves belly up to the Claim Jumper.

  • Matt Artz

    Whatever it is that keeps the Elephant Bar popular is beyond human comprehension.

  • Jon Simon

    I doubt that’s why, or at least not the central reason why. We saw plenty of Asian families at Angus, of which mine qualifies as half. Their quality was pretty good, but nothing like a top tier steak house. Perhaps the people who wanted truly great steaks were willing to travel further, and those who didn’t care so much went for the cheaper fare at other joints. They also needed a makeover, badly. As I said before, we had good food and were always happy there, but the booths felt a bit like tombs. Nowadays, most look for an open and lively floor plan.

    One more thing: I had an awesome filet mignon at Federico’s last night. My wife’s salmon tasted yummy, as did the appetizers. Oh, and other than our table, the crowd was pretty white.

  • Jon Simon

    Matt,
    The atmosphere and energy, according to friend’s I’ve asked. The food? Not their favorite. Weird.

  • Doug

    No one has mentioned the faux elephant head hanging on the wall or the rest of the African Continent motif.

  • Jen

    I would bet that what keeps E-Bar popular is the same thing that keeps Chili’s packed on a Friday night – location. Chili’s has packed them in pretty consistently for probably 20 years now, and E-Bar has been popular since it opened.
    If you think about it, other than Sweet Tomatoes(buffet/salad), and a few Mexican places here or there (La Pinata or El Patio), if you aren’t going for serious ethnic food, there aren’t too many mid-range choices in central Fremont.
    The focus for new places now seems at the south end of town, and for those of us “up north” it means a 30 minute trek down to Auto Mall.
    I could drive to Palo Alto to eat if I wanted to drive a half an hour.

  • Jon Simon

    Falafel Etc across the street absolutely rocks. It’s next to Nation’s. Jack’s Brewery, which is only okay +, beats Chilis and the Elephant Bar any day. How’s the biryani place doing, across from Chilis?

    Location can’t be everything. Spoons shrank to nothing while Hooters is, um, busting out.

  • Doug

    Thanks for the tip on Flafel, Etc. Jon. I’ll check it out. Speaking of “next to Nation’s,” that used to house a great Mexican restaurant called Ancestros. I don’t think the location was good, but getting a letter from COF stating that area will serve as parking for the future downtown didn’t help. He pulled up stakes, after sinking a lot of money into the place, and relocated to First Street in Livermore. It appears he is doing well in a thriving downtown.

  • Rickey

    Based on the comments, location is huge. As someone said, plenty of asians went to Angus and enough went to Cattlemens. BUT you have to admit the changing demographics plays a role in all of this.

    That said, Cattlemens missed out by not moving their Newark location to Pacific Commons before Claim Jumper got in there. They missed a big opportunity to increase sales of their slowest location. Or even Black Angus missed out by not moving there, although putting it in Pacific Commons seems to put it awfully close to McCarthy Ranch.

  • Dick

    “Location can’t be everything. Spoons shrank to nothing while Hooters is, um, busting out.”

    But Hooters can thrive in spite of location because it’s target demographic will go to a crappy location for Hooters.

    For Spoons, a regular restaurant, it was a poor location (in between the Hub area and the Paseo Padre/Fremont shopping center areas).

    I’m not convinced that demographics didn’t play a role here. Let’s not kid ourselves: only white people who love steaks eat at Cattlemens (generally speaking). When asians (Indians, oriental, filipino) want steak, they don’t even think of Cattlemens. They only go to Pacific Commons or Union Landing, hence Claim Jumper, Texas Roadhouse, etc.

    Most asians aren’t drawn to classic steakhouses, and that’s really the bottom line.

    If in Cattlemen’s Newark (or Black Angus) spot you put another Mongolian Hot Pot, does anyone think it would NOT boom because of location? We all know better than that.