How old is Knott's Berry Farm's Steak House? The dining venue is now called Spurs and sits right across from the Ghost Rider rollercoaster. As you know, the Chicken Dinner Restaurant was wildly successful, but closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. It was the family's idea to open a second restaurant with a focus on beef that could overlap with the Chicken Dinner Restaurant's off days. That restaurant, aptly named the Steak House, was run by Marion Knott's husband Andy Anderson who sought out live buffalo, steer, and elk for his restaurant.
Designed by Paul von Klieben and built with adobe bricks made on the Farm, the main dining room was the Indian Room where guests sat on custom tom-tom seats surrounded by von Klieben portraits of famous Native Americans. For lunch and dinner, the Steak House drew in crowds just like the Chicken Dinner Restaurant and eventually grew to have a bakery (now the Ghost Town Bakery), Garden and Buffet Rooms, and a patio that became a secondary dining space.
The Steak House was briefly renamed Big Jakes, named after the John Wayne movie character, and hosted the likes of President Richard Nixon and his family for dinners. The popular restaurant finally closed when the California Marketplace was reshaped by Ghost Rider and the Steak House found itself within the Farm's ticketed gate. Cedar Fair transformed it into the pastel Auntie Pasta's eatery but the cartoonish design failed to draw any interest. The current Spurs redesign is far more appropriate to Ghost Town, but the venue is no longer a full-service restaurant and more of an events venue. Next year will be the adobe building's 75th anniversary. The Steak House opened in September 1946.
September 3, 1951, the five-year-old Steak House stepped up its game and served a record 1,645 steaks in a single day. By Labor Day, 1954, the record was crushed with 1,902 steaks served and 4,926 guests.
Few realize the 1941 Ghost Town Grill and 1946 Steak House (Spurs) at Knott's Berry Farm share a common kitchen. It's an enormous kitchen space designed to feed thousands of guests, but the building has evolved quite a bit as their dining rooms have shifted and grown. The biggest change was to the Ghost Town Grill and Steak House's shared open-air patio which had adobe walls made of Farm-made adobe bricks, an outdoor grill, and an antique ox cart.
The walled garden area caught fire on November 15, 1950, but the flames were quickly extinguished by the Ghost Town volunteer fire department. The patio was transformed and reopened just one week later with a new roof and clerestory windows in a space designed by Paul von Klieben. With novel experimentation, von Klieben designed the space with painted artwork of cacti that could be taken from the walls and used as table extenders for large parties. This patio space became solely for Steak House use and, by 1962, the whole restaurant received a makeover. The redesign added a vestibule with checkin desk and restrooms to the Steak House entrance but also installed a pitched roof to the patio as it was remade into the Walter Knott Room with a Flemish skylight and enormous chandeliers. That dining room has evolved tremendously, but the space and its adobe walls remain a part of Spurs in Ghost Town to this day.
Growing up in Los Angeles in the 70s/80s we visited Disneyland on a regular basis and often after school, before "Annual Passes".