“This restaurant will remind you of how quality and service used to be”
~ A Reviewer on Google ~
Serving steaks to seafood as a waitress then boss, Dana Gateley's quarter-century of experience at the Colonial Steak House ensure quality food and service will remain a distinctive trait of this well-known Pine Bluff restaurant. But don't take my word for it.
Reviews of reverence by legions of locals on Trip Advisor, Yelp, and Google only tell you part of the story. These online rating services have only been around for a few years.
But the feelings of love about this place are found far beyond the borders of Arkansas. Travelers from all over the United States stop by for dinner.
What you can't know unless you visit or look at their website, is this eatery is a 40-year labor of love run by generations of local workers. They're not just a team. They work together as a family.
Relatives from Southeast Arkansas took us to this place. They too are part of this restaurants story as 35-year customers. The menu “… has been knit together from the recommendations of its patrons and the suggestions of its staff…” over the years according to the restaurant website.
Still, an outsider wouldn't know what our relatives told us when we sat down. “… Get the Cotton Blossoms for an appetizer…”.
A glance at the menu reveals Cotton Blossoms, $10, with house-made Apricot Brandy sauce. So? We know Arkansas is a historic part of the Cotton route. But Cotton Blossoms? The ingredients are not obvious.
Tom asks about the contents. It turns out they are cream cheese and crabmeat wontons, with the sauce served on the side. This combination hooked our immediate attention. On arrival, these tasty tidbits disappeared quickly.
Homespun cooking with a personal touch abounds here. Team member Linda Scarver is genius behind the Cotton Blossoms. Her daughter Veronica is the inventor of the restaurants famous black bottom pie dessert ($5.95).
“…I'll have the Colonial House Special…” Tom told our server. “…Do you want that seared on the outside and pink from the top edge down to the middle…” she asked. “…Or do you want it just pink in the middle and lightly browned outside …?
I couldn't hear his entire talk with the waiter. I was talking with my cousins. But I heard enough to know he might like this place. It is known for cooking steaks to the specifications of the patron.
It turns out his 16 oz. Sirloin Strip was just perfect – for him and me. My choice was the Ribeye — my favorite steak and also excellent. But after tasting Tom's Sirloin, I wish I had ordered one too.
Like the surrounding city of Pine Bluff that envelops the area, the history and operation of this restaurant have morphed over the years. From Austin antebellum home origins at the corner of 5th and Beech to the present Tudor-style building that was an elementary school at the corner of 8th Street and Pine, this steakhouse carries on a nearly spotless record for high-quality food and service.
As one relative told us, “… I've been coming here for 35-years, and I've had only one bad steak. And that happened when the place was between new and old owners …”.
When To Go
Tuesday through Saturday. Make reservations. This place fills up fast Friday and Saturday nights.
Hours: 5 pm to 9 pm.
Quick Distance and Time Estimates
If you're driving through Arkansas and want to stop by, here's some quick estimates from major cities or highways.
From Little Rock on I-40 to Pine Bluff via I-530 South: 47 minutes.
From Hot Springs to Pine Bluff on US-70 East: 1.5 hours
From Monroe, LA on I-20: 2.5 hours
Colonial Steakhouse Links
Wine list: http://thecolonialsteakhouse.com/wine_list