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Cattlemen’s Steakhouse nominated for Best Steakhouse in Iowa

-Submitted photo
Chelsea Funk is the manager of Cattlemen's Steakhouse. The steakhouse transitioned owners in May of 2021 and continues to satisfy steak-lovers from miles away.

SAC CITY — Cattlemen’s Steakhouse of Sac County has been selected as one of five nominees for Cream of the Crop’s Best Steakhouse in Iowa. This is the inaugural year of the Cream of the Crop program.

Tracy Freese, business development executive of Lee Agri-Media, said, “I’m one of my company’s employees who happens to live in Iowa. We have lots of ‘Best of’ categories that our rural Iowa businesses fall into such as Best Trailer Dealer, Best Convenience Store, Best Brewery, and the list goes on and on.”

Freese had the honor of calling several businesses, including Cattlemen’s Steakhouse, to let them know that their fans voted them into the limelight.

“We were excited to be contacted by Cream of the Crop,” said Chelsea Funk, manager of Cattlemen’s. “Our customers are wonderful people, and it’s been fantastic to see that they feel the same way about us!”

Those who supported the pre-2021 version of the Cattlemen’s Steakhouse will be delighted with the newer menu under current owners Michael Hirst, Nick Carlson, and Geoffrey Phillipson. This Farm News reporter enjoyed a medium-cooked Ribeye Hearty Plate, an over easy egg, and the house fries — topping it all off with the warm Chocolate Brownie Trifle with Passionfruit and Dark Chocolate Mousse.

-Messenger photo by Doug Clough
Messenger reporter Doug Clough sampled the Ribeye Hearty Platter.

I’m big on savory protein with decadent dessert to follow, and the Cattlemen’s did not disappoint. As a bonus, my wife wasn’t there to share the perfectly seasoned house fries that she would have said she didn’t want.

The venue opened Memorial Day weekend of 2021, and Funk — whose parents own and operate the Storm Lake Bakery (another food and entertainment Cream of the Crop nominee) — remembers it well.

“My mom encouraged me to work here and get my restaurant experience directly with the owners,” said Funk. “I was originally going to attend culinary school, but I thought it would be great to learn from world-class restaurant owners. We also have a first-class mixologist in Ellie Rastetter who is phenomenal at mixing drinks as well as teaching others on our staff to do the same.”

Funk quickly acquired the waitress, food, mixologist, and hostess trade from good people around her at Cattlemen’s.

“One of the things that is great about the Cattlemen’s Steakhouse is that all of us have the goal of a great dining experience for the customer,” said Funk. “We’re all in it for a great experience for those that come through the door, so we have customers come back again and again from varying distances.”

-Messenger photo by Doug Clough
Messenger reporter Doug Clough sampled the Chocolate Brownie Trifle Dessert.

Funk said that it’s not unusual to see people enjoy dining at their restaurant after taking a ride with friends, or solo, on a motorcycle, from miles away.

While the Cattlemen’s Steakhouse doesn’t have a relationship with any culinary school in particular, the restaurant enjoys employing chefs with culinary education, focusing on what chef and owner Michael Hirst can also teach them after bringing their skillset on board.

Cattlemen’s Steakhouse also does its best to source from Iowa products. “We do our best to source all of our protein from the area,” said Funk. “We just started working with a high-quality, humble lamb producer by Twin Lakes, which is about 20 minutes away from us. Our pork tomahawk is another popular item, and it comes from LeMars. Phocas Gardens, right here in Sac City, provides herbs and other fresh produce.”

For those who would like to try different fare from steak, the Cattlemen’s Steakhouse provides an eclectic menu that includes such favorites as an ‘ABLT’ — an avocado, bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich, which also comes with their thin and crispy house fries.

“Besides our quality, fresh ingredients and amazing cocktails, we really enjoy promoting our hospitality,” said Funk. “Our staff enjoys taking care of our guests. People treat this as a special occasion place, and we want to be part of that experience.”

Online voting for all Cream of the Crop category nominees occurred from March 6 through March 27, securing the nominations for the various categories. Other steakhouse nominees include Jimmy Ds of Hawkeye, Twin Springs of Decorah, Gunder Roadhouse of Elgin, and Northwestern Steakhouse of Mason City. Voting for the best steakhouse of the five began April 20 and concluded May 19. The winner will be announced on June 28.


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