Wednesday, March 05, 2014

French Fry Diary 562: Rustler Steakhouse

From 1968 to about 1985, Gino's had an upscale restaurant partner called the Rustler Steakhouse. It's a thing of the past now, but where they had a Gino's, somewhere pretty close by there'd be a Rustler Steakhouse. That was the case in the 1970s during my childhood, the local Gino's by the Lindenwold Speedline had a Rustler about a hundred feet away.

I remember going, twice. I confess, I didn't really grow up in a normal family. We hardly ever went out to eat, ever. When I was eight or nine, I spent a few weeks of the summer with my cousins, and got a taste of a semi-non-dysfunctional home. One night they went out to dinner at the Rustler Steakhouse, and they took me with.

Rustler was very similar to other steakhouse restaurants of the day like Bonanza, Sizzler, Ponderosa, and even the fondly remembered York. Classier than a fast food place, it was run cafeteria style, you ordered your entree then picked up your side items and then your steak was brought out to your table.

I don't recall what kind of fries they had, but I know they had killer baked potatoes. I especially remember the chocolate pudding for dessert. Anyway, once I was home, I must have raved about the Rustler Steakhouse so much that my parents took me. I remember my dad hating it so much we never went back.

When Marriott bought Gino's in the 1980s, they didn't do the same for Rustler, and they slowly faded away. Anyone else out there remember the Rustler?


Heironymous said...

Yes, but unfortunately I would have to side with your dad. I loved Gino's but I did not like Rustler.

I was raised on South Jersey "Steakhouses" like Chubby's and The Pub.

Ray Cornwall said...

Oh boy, do I remember Rustler. I *loved* that place. We're going to have to talk about it on tonight (hint hint plug plug).

But yeah, they had the BEST chocolate pudding with whipped cream. Still remember that from my childhood (and I'm younger than you). And that exterior was cool as heck as a kid- much cooler than Chuck E Cheese ever was.

These sort of restaurants (Ponderosa, Sizzler, Rustler) seem to have faded from the NJ landscape. There's apparently Sizzler in NY, but that's it. Damn shame. I spent many a day eating medium-priced steak, hitting the salad bar, and wolfing down dessert at Ponderosas (soft serve). Gourmet? Heck no. Tasty? Yep.

Anonymous said...

They were great! They also had an all you can eat shrimp basket. You didn't have to ask they just kept bringing you more.

Unknown said...

Worked there during high school. Dishwasher, cook. I know alot about rustler.

Unknown said...

Worked there during high school. Dishwasher, cook. I know alot about rustler.

Unknown said...

I loved the exterior and the wood seats has a butt imprint that I thought was so cool. My mom hated the seats, said they were uncomfortable, but she preferred booths usually. I think the one in Annandale Virginia we went to closed by time I got to middle school, so it really is a child's recollection of the food, but I liked it for sure!