York Steak House
York Steak House was a national chain of restaurants in the United States that specialized in steaks and potatoes. It was among several chains then owned by cereal manufacturer General Mills. By 1982, there were nearly 200 restaurants in 27 states from Texas to Maine. Though popular in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the majority of its locations shut down in 1989.
Last remaining York Steakhouse in Columbus, OH in March 2017
|Fate||Ceased operations as a chain (independently-owned franchises continued on after 1989)|
|Founded||1966Columbus, Ohio, U.S.in|
|Founders||Eddie Grayson and Bernie Gros|
Number of locations
|Midwestern and Eastern United States|
|Parent||General Mills (1977–1989)|
Independent franchises (1989–present)
The fate of the rest of the chain after 1989 still remains unclear. One source reported that the remaining York Steak House chain was eventually purchased by Uno Restaurant Holdings Corporation while other sources reported that the remaining York Steak House chain was sold in 1989 to U.S.A. Cafes Inc., a major franchisee of Bonanza Steakhouses for conversion to the Bonanza brand.
The restaurants, located primarily in shopping malls, generally had a floorplan of a cafeteria (cold items on one side, hot items on the other with the cashier at the end). This combined with a decor composed of subdued lighting, heavy wooden furniture, and iron chandeliers.
The restaurants were run cafeteria style, with a-la-carte pricing of items. Tipping was not allowed at any of its restaurants. There was an extra charge for pats of butter and sour cream.
The first York Steak House was opened in 1966 by Eddie Grayson and Bernie Gros in Columbus, Ohio. The second unit of the chain was built and operated by Grayson's brother Howard inside the Maine Mall in South Portland, Maine, when the mall first opened in 1971.
In April 1977, York Steak House was purchased by General Mills. At the time of the acquisition, York had 47 units. Another source claimed that York had 150 at the time of its sale to General Mills.
In the early 1980s, many of the York Steak House locations were converted into a New Concept called York's choices which featured a round Bakery case/ Kiosk that sold its signature cakes and pies at the front of the store.
Although it is not very clear when General Mills disposed of the York Steak House chain, it is known that York Steak House was not part of General Mills' portfolio of restaurant chains when Darden Restaurants was spun off in 1995.
After General Mills sold the chain, a limited number of York Steak Houses continued to operate for several years as independent restaurants. As of 2017, only one restaurant is known to remain in operation using the York name, in Columbus, Ohio, near the now defunct Westland Mall, which became an independently-owned franchised operation in 1989. It largely retains the signature look and cafeteria-style format of the former chain.
- GM Restaurants sprints for next summit[permanent dead link], Nation's Restaurant News, December 18, 1989, by Rick Van Warner (accessed December 25, 2007)[dead link]
- How to succeed through failure: the General Mills Restaurants story[permanent dead link], Nation's Restaurant News, December 18, 1989, by Charles Bernstein (accessed December 25, 2007)[dead link]
- A review of the Columbus, Ohio York Steak House, written in 2007 (accessed August 14, 2015 via archive.org).
- Morona, Joey (May 19, 2016). "The last York Steak House: Columbus restaurant serves up nostalgia with your sirloin". Cleveland Plain Dealer.
- Mont, Joe (August 15, 2011). "10 Brand Names Gone, But Not Forgotten". MainStreet.com. Retrieved November 22, 2019.
- Arnold, Kyle (March 1, 2015). "Once a busboy, he's now in charge at Darden". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved November 22, 2019.
- Suris, Oscar (February 3, 1990). "General Mills Gives Chinese Food A Go With Model Orlando Eatery". Orlando Sentinel.
- Jackson, Jerry W. (December 20, 2002). "Grayson to Be State Group's Numero Uno Official In '03". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved November 22, 2019.
- Moorhead, Jill (March 28, 2018). "Icons: The Last Stand of York Steak House". Columbus Monthly.
In 1966, prompted by Ponderosa's success and a realization that they had the know-how to pull off something similar, Eddie Grayson and Bernie Gros opened a steakhouse on Morse Road
- Graham, Dave (September 26, 2000). "Ed Grayson". The Columbus Jewish Historical Society.
- Byrne, Harlan S. (May 24, 1977). "General Mills Sees Further Profit Gains From Stepped-Up Ads, Capital Spending". Wall Street Journal. p. 10.
A major move was the acquisition in April of the York Steakhouse chain with 47 units. Plans call for 15 more Yorks in fiscal 1978.Alternate Link(subscription required) via ProQuest.
- "General Mills Dips As Spinoff Opens at Low Price". New York Times. May 10, 1995. Retrieved November 22, 2019 – via Bloomberg News.
- "York Steak House Nostalgia". York Steak House Ohio.