Having gathered around the turkey with your loved ones on Thanksgiving last week, we know that this season is all about family togetherness–and food! Rawhide Western Town & Steakhouse, now located in Chandler, knows this all too well and is offering new ways to have family-friendly and steak-filled fun this and every season. This Valley treasure originally opened in 1971, and re-located to the Wild Horse Pass/Gila River Indian Community in 2005.
Recently, I had the chance to experience Rawhide, starting with an amazing dinner at its award-winning steakhouse, set to music from a live band and plenty of line dancing. Rawhide’s consulting chef Michael Cairns (formerly of Arizona Biltmore) and Executive Chef Jon Anderson use many indigenous ingredients, many from the Gila River Indian Community and Rawhide’s own Akimel Basho Farm. (This fresh produce can even found at Rawhide’s new Saturday morning farmers markets, following by a yummy breakfast.) The restaurant’s famous rattlesnake and Rocky Mountain Oysters, both of which are accompanied by a commemorative Rawhide certificate of achievement, are must-tries. And you can’t go wrong with a hearty steak–whether you can handle a 6-ounce Gunsliger (my favorite) or a more meaty 20-ounce Cattle Barron rib eye. Even if you go for the smaller steak, you’re sure to leave full as each dish comes with a heaping salad, delicious potatoes and a farm-fresh vegetable side. And there are the endless mini cornbread-chili muffins and a jar of homemade pickles to go…
And the fun doesn’t end with Rawhide’s top-notch steaks. The new Wagon Wheel Plaza outdoor band pavilion is located just outside the Steakhouse on Main Street. Surrounded by picnic tables and firepits, the Plaza provides a central gathering place for dining and dancing. In addition to the Rawhide Roughriders who have entertained Rawhide guests for more than 30 years with their Main Street mayhem, The Widowmaker Mechanical Bull, the Butterfield Stagecoach, the Shootin’ Gallery, gold panning, the Spirit of the West comedy theater, roping and Deadman’s Drop Rock Climbing are all available for your entertainment. Main Street shops include the Rawhide General Store (great stop for some unique holiday gifts), Old Time Photo Emporium, Sweet Sally’s Confections (where I spied some fun old-fashioned candies), Silver Spur Western Wear and the Blacksmith, Devin Mace. Special events for the whole family include Friday night bull riding at 7:30 p.m. and again at 9:00 p.m. with R. C. Mercer Livestock’s pro and amateur riders. Kids six and under can even ride a sheep for just $1.
Saturday nights call for the Sundown Cookouts (October, November and March through May, weather permitting). The fun event offers an authentic chuck-wagon cookout under the stars. A mule-drawn hay wagon ride takes guests to the cookout area where activities include a live country band, a delish dinner and marshmallow roast to cowboy games, storytelling and line dancing. To learn all about the activities and eats at the new-and-improved Rawhide, visit www.rawhide.com.