Longtime Arlington eatery, Arlington Steakhouse, will become a Jambo’s BBQ Shack with the changeover beginning Feb. 1.
“Arlington Steakhouse will remain open during the transition. Within a short period of time, the signs will change, the décor will change and the menu will change,” says Chris Mendez, vice president of Coldwell Banker Commercial Alliance DFW.
Coldwell Banker Commercial Alliance arranged the lease-purchase agreement between the two parties.
The family-owned Arlington Steakhouse at 1724 W. Division St. is the oldest continuously operating restaurant in the city, serving home-cooked steak, chicken-fried steak and mile-high hot rolls to a devoted following of customers for generations. It started as the Triangle Inn in 1931.
Arlington Steakhouse’s longtime owners Lynn and Dick Brink handpicked their successors, Paul and Ashton Lovato, who opened their second barbecue location in May at 2500 Little Road, also in west Arlington.
“It is important to both sides to not lose the nostalgia and history of Arlington Steakhouse,” says Mendez, the deal’s sole broker. “The new owners are going to embrace it with their menu and service.”
The Lovatos have preserved an established brand before, buying Jambo’s BBQ Shack from TV’s BBQ Pitmaster Jamie Geer in 2014. The couple has maintained the founder’s recipes while expanding the business in Tarrant County. The original barbecue restaurant is located at 5460 E. 1187 in Rendon, southwest of Arlington.
Jambo BBQ’s new location will be a 3,764-square foot restaurant on a 9,148-square foot lot on a curve near the railroad tracks, a feature that in days gone by would entice Arlington Steakhouse diners to sit in front of its large windows to watch passing trains.
Arlington Steakhouse’s history goes back to the days of early area transportation. It is one of 2,700 road-related historic sites along the 850-mile Texas stretch of the Bankhead Highway, one of the nation’s earliest transcontinental arteries starting in Washington, D.C., and ending in San Diego, according to the Texas Historical Commission, which is making plans with municipalities, including Arlington, to celebrate the highway’s 100th anniversary this year.
The documented sites include auto repair garages, gas stations, tourist camps, auto courts, motels, road markers, paving, traffic signs, bridges and diners/restaurants like Arlington Steakhouse that offered home-cooked meals to road-weary travelers.
During the 1930s, the restaurant’s clientele included gamblers from the nearby Top O’ Hill Terrace Casino, an oft-raided local nightspot featuring an escape tunnel and secret room to hide gambling paraphernalia from authorities. The casino site, 1.3 miles west of the restaurant, is now home to Arlington Baptist College.
In 2014, the Arlington Landmark Preservation Commission presented historical medallions to Arlington Steakhouse and Top O’ Hill Terrace Casino. The honor is reserved for structures at least 50 years old that have played a significant role in the city’s history and culture.