Stuart Anderson’s Cattle Company: Roseville, MN

July 10, 2009
Stuar Anderson's Cattle Company

The labelscar is actually more fitting than its original lettering -- it gives it that very appropriate 'branded cow' look.

I have 3 Roseville restaurant posts coming up — I was going to put them all into one blog entry, but this Cattle Company entry got long, so I’m splitting them up. Look for a Joe’s Crab Shack and KFAN/Grumpy’s entries coming shortly. No, this blog is not turning into a restaurant review blog. These places are either closed (Cattle Company & Joe’s) or just plain cursed (Grumpy’s location). That’s why they end up on Dumpy Strip Malls, with the unflattering snapshots, and not here with the yummy food pics.

You could say this stretch of land off of Snelling Avenue is a mini Roseville Restaurant Death Row. The Cattle Company closed up shop, and Joe’s Crab Shack wasn’t far behind. But the Olive Garden and Fuddruckers are still here…so I guess my stupid joke doesn’t really work.

I chose to photograph the Roseville spots but these upcoming restaurant posts can probably be applied to any location of these restaurants. They’re chains, for crying out loud. They’re pretty much the same wherever you go. Unfortunately, with these two restaurants, you can’t eat at them in Minnesota anymore.

Well…shit.

Stuart Anderson’s Cattle Company closed all of its Minnesota locations in September 2004. I guess this chain wasn’t doing so hot here, so they bid our state happy trails and left a smattering of empty buildings that look like barns in its wake. Seems to be difficult fill these former Cattle Company locations — 5 years later, and many are still standing today. But don’t have a cow, man — Stuart Anderson’s is still operating in many states today, but under the name Black Angus Restaurant.

Cattle Company

The satellite dish is still on the roof

When you pull up to this place, it just makes you want to start humming “Oh I’ve got spurs that jingle, jangle, jingle…as they go ridin’ merrily along!” in a sing-song voice. The outside of this joint looks like a cowboy outpost and screams spittoons, spurs, and achy breaky boots. You almost feel like you should tie your horse up outside, walk bow-legged into the restaurant wearing a neckerchief, and light up a Marlboro. The logo even had a silhouette of Stuart Anderson himself panning for gold. (Yeah, I know. He’s cooking some concoction over a campfire, but in this economy, it’s the first thing that comes to mind — Mr. Anderson is obviously searching for a nice-sized bounty to bring into The Gold Guys).

When ‘ya get inside, you realize Stuart Anderson was just fuckin’ with ‘ya. This place was actually fairly trendy, almost a “business-romantic” atmosphere, as Michael Scott would say. Mood lighting, tabletop candles, a hostess in a little black dress, and piped-in Adult Contemporary music. What the hell is going on? Where’s the Minnesota’s Most Wanted posters on the wall? The Tim McGraw music? The howdy-do greeting by the hostess?

I can’t remember if they even had cowboy crap on the walls. I mean, they might’ve. I’m sure there was at least one wagon wheel nailed to the wall. How could they resist? You’d think I’d remember this a little better, being that I did eat here a fair share of times. All I know is that I didn’t feel like I was on the set of The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly.

This was a reasonably-priced suburban steakhouse with decent food.  You could always find coupons in your weekly

Oh no!

A cow figure is branded on the side of the building.

junkmail bundle, usually enticing you with a 3-course meal for two, for about $45. It faced competition from other mid-level steak chain places in town, namely Timberlodge with its rustic hunting cabin theme, and the Outback Steakhouse. As far as the Outback Steakhouse goes, I think I’m too dense to understand what the fuck the Australian Outback has to do with steak. When I think of the Land Down Under, I don’t think of beef. I think crocodiles, kangaroos, and the Men at Work. Not bovines. Whatever. And of course, there’s Manny’s and Murray’s — the downtown, high-end/Daddy Warbucks-genre of steakhouses with a la carte pricing that give off that traditional “old boy’s club” ambiance, if you want to shell out some dough and rub elbows with Sid Hartman.

Cattle Company was in the Twin Cities for as long as I can remember. I remember my parents getting a babysitter for us kids and going here sans offspring for a nice dinner out. Most kids really don’t like steakhouses anyway. Sirloin steak topped with shoestring onions? Warm bread and whipped butter? Loaded baked potato? Sounds good now as an adult, but most kids would prefer to eat soggy pizza at Circus Circus, doggy-paddle their way through the ball crawl, and come home with the Chicken Pox.

One of my favorite things about this place is that had HUGE, comfy, private booths in little alcoves around the restaurant. The downside to these alcoves was that booths were so high, your server would often forgot someone was sitting in the booth, resulting in very slow service. It was also really dimly lit, like an underground lair or a nightclub. Lots of steakhouses do this for some reason — I’m going here to eat my steak, not to pick up a guy.  This is the Cattle Company, not Redstone!

This place looks like barn

This is a place you'd want to go when you didn't want to shell out the dough to eat at Murray's.

They did have a bar area, where that sort of shit went down. I remember a friend and I coming here to sit at the bar in 2001 to watch the World Series and two different dudes bought us a round of drinks. It seems a little odd that people would come to Cattle Company to hook up with a mate. Maybe it’s all those women with cowboy fetishes, thinking they might find a Kenny Chesney look-a-like here? I feel ‘ya — I went through that cowboy thing myself…when was when I was 16. My obsession was nipped in the bud when I saw Garth Brooks without his hat on. The closest you might get to a cowboy in here is perhaps finding a deputy sitting at the bar, enjoying a cold one after a long day of rounding up some stray cows on the county road. So, girl, if you really want that cowboy, either move to Montana or just go to the Disney store and get yourself a Woody doll.

We went to the Fridley location) for my pre-Junior prom dinner back in 1996. It was either this or the Sunshine Factory because that’s just what everyone did at my high school for prom. In the north suburbs, we really didn’t have much choice back then for nearby, high-faulting dining establishments.  I remember walking in here (decked out in my prom dress, flower corsage, and high heels) and making a spectacle of myself by tripping over some extension cord taped down on the floor. Fuck, it’s no wonder that after the prom, my date just wanted to “be friends.” Technically, we are still friends. On Facebook, anyway.

Cattle Company had a really good Moltan Lava Chocolate Fudge Cake!

Cattle Company had a really good Molten Lava Chocolate Fudge Cake!

I never ate at the Roseville Cattle Company — I went to the Brooklyn Park and Fridley locations. I can’t recall where BP location was (might’ve been in Brooklyn Center?), but I’m sure the building is long gone. The Fridley location (off of University Avenue, in the Cub Foods parking lot) was razed a few years ago to make way for a CVS.

This disowned parcel in Roseville was supposed to be redeveloped into a grocery store in 2007. Not sure what happened to those plans, but here we are, 2 years later, with the Cattle Company eyesore still standing proud. The Minnetonka location is still unleased as well — let the cow fun live on!

Hate the Cattle Company? Miss the Cattle Company? Did you also have your prom dinner at the Cattle Company? Leave a note in the comments!

Photos taken June 2009.

The outside of this place says, "Home on the range where the deer and the antelope play" but the inside tells a different story

The outside of this place says, "Home on the range where the deer and the antelope play" but the inside tells a different story

The Roseville, MN Cattle Company

The Roseville, MN Cattle Company

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13 Responses to Stuart Anderson’s Cattle Company: Roseville, MN

  1. super rookie on July 10, 2009 at 2:22 PM

    Easily the best blog in the Twin Cities.

    I made out in the Cattle Company parking lot in the late 90′s. It was well worth the price of the bake potato/steak combo.

    Go high school!

  2. Jake on July 10, 2009 at 7:44 PM

    I was around 14 or 15 when I ate at the old Fridley Cattle Company back in the early 90s and I decided to order some of the more ‘upscale’ drinks. I wasn’t thinking this hot cocoa/coffee thing was anything special, but it was alcoholic.

    I guess my waitress thougt I was older than I looked, and of course my mom wasn’t amused.

    BTW, I really like the history and attitude on this blog. :)

  3. Disco Studd on July 12, 2009 at 3:29 PM

    I vaguely remember the Cattle Company in Brooklyn Center. It was located in the parking lot of Brookdale Square in front of the UA movie theater. I think they eventually remodeled it into a Fuddruckers (though maybe they tore it down and put the FR’s in its place, not exactly sure.)

    There’s a place up in Coon Rapids called Texas Roadhouse that has the exact atmosphere inside that Stuart Anderson’s exuded from their exterior. It looks like the inside of a barn, they play loud PopCountry (or “modern” country, or whatever the F they call it) music, and they even let you throw your peanut shells on the floor (yeah, totally cliched, I know.) The waiters/waitresses do a Coyote Ugly-esque dance routine every 15 minutes (albeit not on top of the bar.) It actually isn’t as bad as it sounds, and their food is DAMN good. Better than, dare I say, Timber Lodge. If you go, however, you should call ahead and make reservations as the place is always a zoo and it’ll take you a good 45 minutes to get a table.

  4. TheOldScowl on July 12, 2009 at 3:43 PM

    Disco Studd:
    The building you mention was not a Cattle Company, but “T. Wright’s”. There was a Cattle Company across the river in Fridley in the lot that used to be Holiday and is now Cub. The spot where Stuart A’s used to be is occupied by a drugstore/pharmacy whose name is hazy.
    What is with all the drug store’s popping up in the metro areas? Did all the docs in the U.S. just quintuple the dosages for InnaHappiHaze and PerpetuaBone prescriptions for patients? Is this the phenomena of self-medication?
    I never saw that particular Stuart Anderson’s have an empty parking lot for their first 10 years, so they must have pleased their eaters.

    • dumpystripmalls on July 12, 2009 at 4:01 PM

      I always thought that the BP Cattle Company was located around Village North, but I just don’t remember :( I’ve driven by the Texas Roadhouse place before and I’ve wanted to try it (is this a chain? I think it’s the only location in MN? It’s the only one I’ve seen, anyway.

      @Old Scowl — yes, I’ve noticed that too…They’re a CVS or a Walgreens on every corner, it seems like. I can’t remember the last time I was in a drug store, to be honest. I get everything I need at Target — plus, I can get my groceries at Target. It’s amazing that these places stay in business AND they keep building them. But maybe I’m weird and I’m the only one NOT shopping at these places. I’ve heard CVS has great deals & excellent customer service though…

      Cattle Company ALWAYS seemed to be busy…I remember driving by the Fridley location soon after it closed, and I was quite surprised since every time I ate there, we ALWAYS had to wait for a table.

  5. jayson on July 14, 2009 at 10:35 AM

    mr t’s steaks in hilltop? anyone remember this place???? or how about the steak buffet in coon rapids wow that was good food 9 bucks all the food you could eat…. hahah
    wondering what happen to the family center mall? also how do you add a photo to your avator?

  6. Beth on July 14, 2009 at 2:05 PM

    @jayson – I remember Mr. Steak! My husband and I went there all the time, it wasn’t the best food ever, but it was cheap and it was a nice place to go. And they had the best homemade salad dressing I have to say. But of course, like everything else on Central Ave/Hwy 65, they tore it down to make room for an Auto place. Seriously, everything that comes down on Central is turned into an auto place. It just happened with Cheapo music in Fridley. Going to be an Autozone.

  7. TheOldScowl on July 14, 2009 at 7:23 PM

    Do not forget the Mr. Steak on University in Fridley (killed by Stuart A’s?). It is now a pet hospital, but the classic Mr. Steak architecture is still there, standing out like one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie School homes in a field of 1970s split levels. Good memories of the place (like the former Mr. Steak in Brooklyn Park which is now Blondie’s) of Grandpa getting a steak and Grandma getting chicken teriyaki nearly every time.

  8. Dave on July 17, 2009 at 5:32 AM

    When I first moved back to the cities and my mother would come and stay with us from up “norte” the first night had to be dinner at the Cattle Co in MG. When they closed, I think that my mother went into dining shock — Every time we ever went there there was a wait of between 15 and 50 minutes for tables. Food was okay for the money. (It wasn’t Murrary’s Butterknife) Still can’t figure out why / how this one went under.

    Speaking of which – How about an entry on everyone’s favorite fake mexican – Chi-Chi’s?

  9. Stevie B. on February 8, 2011 at 8:59 AM

    Back in college, we used to go dance at Cattle Company in Roseville. This was back when the drinking age was 19, so we were pretty pumped when we were old enough to legally get into such an establishment. In later years, I lived in a bachelor pad 2 blocks from the Fridly Cattle Co. but never set foot in it.

  10. Al on January 10, 2012 at 9:27 AM

    I remember when the CC in Roseville on Snelling broke ground for new construction. It was sometime in mid to late 1983 when they began building it. I’d be driving to school down Snelling Ave. in the spring of 1984 and it was fully built by then just not open for business yet. I was 20 then and the place looked so cool and at that time Minnesota drinking age was still 19. Me and a friend looked forward to making that place our new hangout. We’d go there often until about 1986 when the whole bar thing got old for us. I remember the place would be packed. It’s where you could see the latest music videos on the large projection screen on the wall. It had a DJ and lip sync contests sometimes. Not karaoke, but people would dress like the singer and lip sync. Lots of Michael Jackson’s. Small dance floor. I saw David Lee Roth’s “California Girls” video for the first time there. And when I’d see Wham “Careless Whispers” video it reminded me of the dear girlfriend who left me in February 1984. It always made me feel so sad that she was gone. The entire building is gone now. Just a grassy weedy lot with weeds through the broken sidewalks and fractured asphalt parking lot. I went there just this past weekend on Sunday, January 8, 2012, and stood there on the site and walked around it recalling just how cool the place was back in the 1980′s. I wish 1982, 1983 and 1984 could come back again for a much needed encore.

  11. Scotty B on June 2, 2012 at 3:54 PM

    I actually worked at Cattle Company as a Disc Jockey for a number of years. It was a blast working there. I met so many women there as the DJ. I would work primarily at the Bloomington location, but would spend a couple of nights a week at the Roseville and Fridley locations. Wednesday nights was the night to be at the Bloomington CC (although Saturday’s did pretty well too).

    This was my promo announcement for the Wednesday night special…

    “I wanna welcome you all to Stuart Anderson’s Cattle Company for this WEEKEND WEDNESDAY. Tonight we’ve got one dollar Well, Wine and Tap drinks. Everything else is going for a buck twenty-five. The fun all starts at 9pm, so make sure you stick around for the party, right here at the Square Cow Fun-Bar”

    At some time during my employment the promo prices were bumped up to one dollar Well, Wine & Tap drinks, and a dollar-fifty for everything else. Those prices completely explain why the place was always as packed as it was. Bloomington Police used to just sit out in the parking lot waiting for the fights to break out.

    Also, the logo had a square shaped cow in it which was where the “Sqare Cow Fun-Bar” nickname came from. Such good memories!!!

  12. freddy on July 27, 2012 at 5:54 PM

    I was a lounge host at the Bloomington location. I loved it there, I think I might remember you cause I helped you move your couch to a new apartment. I worked there in 86, Didnt you have this blonde older lady that used to wear a mink coat to the club to come and see you? remember Larry?

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