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Aug 8, 2006 06:02 PM

Joe Allen's in Abilene-new location

I grew up about 90 miles north of Abilene, and my family has always LOVED Joe Allen's. So, when we visited our hometown a couple of weeks ago, we made a detour (4 hours or so) on the drive back so that my husband could try their famed rib-eye steak for the first time. When we drove up to the restaurant, it was closed, boarded up, and spray paint instructed us that it had moved to the Cahoot's location. So, we drove over, disappointed that the old place was gone, and found a new, much larger location. We were there in the middle of the afternoon, so maybe during peak hours the set-up makes more sense, but it's confusing. When you walk in, there's a bar immediately in front of you, and the dining area to your right. A hostess asks if you want steak or barbecue. If everyone in your party wants barbecue you're instructed to go to the self-serve area. However, if anyone wants steak, you must sit in the main dining area that is full service. Weird. Anyway, on to the menu.

It's MUCH larger now and includes appetizers and several choices for steak as well as the barbecue (the same as before) and beer and wine choices. In addition to the famed rib-eye they now have a bone-in filet, NY strip, and others that I can't recall.

We decided to start w/ an order of fried oysters. These were good, light breading, plump oysters. If you've had them at Cahoots, I'm sure it's the same. My mom and I decided to get barbecue (knowing we would get some of my husband and dad's steaks). She chose the sausage plate, and I got the brisket and turkey plate. The ham is my favorite but they were out. Anyway, the turkey was the real winner here. Moist and smokey and just addictively delicious. The brisket was dry (I always think it is here) and generally not that great.

The men decided to stick w/ the large rib-eyes. The rib-eyes are priced by thickness, and the large is $17.95. All of the steaks look to be a fantastic bargain. When they arrived, they were as good as at the old place. Mesquite-grilled, thick, juicy, meltingly tender, and wonderfully flavorful. Each was cooked a perfect medium-rare as requested. Just perfect, and I can't recommend them enough.

All of the meals came w/ a nice salad, fresh bread and butter, and choice of sides (must not be the point, b/c I can't remember what we got). We ended w/ peach cobbler and ice cream and each had iced tea to drink. Though I'm bummed that the old atmosphere at the place is gone, and I think the set-up is a bit strange, the steaks are absolutely the same, and one of the best steaks you can find.

Here's the website:

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  1. I love Joe Allens and was disappointed to hear that they moved. I have a family function to attend in Abilene in October and will be stopping by the new place.

    1. Yup, word is that there was finally a serious argument about the parking at the old Joe Allen place (people would park all around, including on other business' property), and the end result was to move the restaurant (that's what I heard from my family who lives there). Too bad because the old place was priceless re: ambiance, but the new place probably is a lot easier to cook in with all new equipment.

      1. The food was terrible. There were no oysters in the fried oysters and the potatoes were half done. I guess they spent all the money on the building and had nothing left for food and electricity.

        1. It's absolute Abilene sacrilege, but I just have never been a Joe Allen's fan. And after the Allen's divorced, the Abilene restaurant scene turned a little ugly when Sharon Allen opened her "Sharon Allen's Lytle Land and Cattle Co." (decent, IMO, but overpriced). Now that Sharon Allen is also heavily advertising her BBQ and catering company, it'll be interesting to see how (if) Joe Allen responds.

          At any rate, I'm a firm believer that it's worth the ride to head out to Buffalo Gap and go to Perrini Ranch instead.

          If we're just out shopping in Abilene and feel like a steak as opposed to an 'event' (and here's the real sacrilege/heresy) we hit the Texas Roadhouse. We live 70 miles NW of Abilene and sometimes... you just want a great, consistent steak and half slab of ribs.

          1. I won't be back to Joe Allen's.
            My husband had great memories of this restaurant from his days as an airman at Dyess AFB and wanted to eat here again as we passed through town. He said his dinner was ok, but mine was bad from the start. The ice tea looked like colored water, the cornbread was dry and stale and my salad had brown edges on the lettuce leaves. I ordered a T-bone steak, medium rare. When it arrived it was maybe 1/4 inch thick and well on it's way to being medium-well done. I debated briefly and decided that a steak costing me $23 should be done right. So I sent it back. The next one came out medium rare, but full of gristle. In addition, the green beans were cooked to almost mush and my baked potato was burned (how do you burn a baked potato??). Definitely not the stellar meal I was expecting.