49 oz Cut Above01 October 2019 Written by By Glenn Castro
Published in October 2019 Articles
In December of 1993, Vic Stewart’s Steakhouse opened its doors for the first time in Walnut Creek, CA. The creation of John and Lois Herrington, Vic Stewart’s brought the philosophy, quality and atmosphere of the classic “old-school” style steakhouse to life. Located in Walnut Creek’s original 1891 Railroad Station, Vic Stewart’s Steakhouse helped set the standard for fine-dining steakhouses in the Bay Area, winning awards and accolades for well over 20 years. In 2008, John and Lois Herrington opened the doors to the second Vic Stewart’s, located in the rapidly growing community of Brentwood, CA. John Herrington loves all things California, especially its history. Over the years he has routinely named menus, menu items, even entire rooms in his restaurants after California heroes like John Muir and John Steinbeck. Built from the ground up, Vic Stewart’s Steakhouse: Brentwood combines the “old-school” philosophy of a fine-dining steakhouse with the “western” small town roots of Brentwood.
All our dining rooms feature luxurious leather and rich wood accents. Roaring fireplaces and even a tree, are a charming part of the interior décor. The Bar/Lounge is decorated with a giant bull’s head along with the championship saddles and photos of local rodeo legend Jack Roddy, who is a close friend of John Herrington and frequent guest of Vic Stewart’s. In celebration of his friend’s accomplishments, the Bar/Lounge is named the “Roddy Room.” For over 10 years, Vic Stewart’s Steakhouse: Brentwood has continued to pursue John and Lois Herrington’s love and passion for steak, wine, service, and community to the Bay Area.
As philanthropists, the Herringtons pour their support for local youth into The Lois Haight Foundation for Foster Children. “Haight” is Lois Herrington’s maiden/professional name, and one she uses as a long-standing judge of the juvenile court system in Contra Costa County. The foundation was created by Lois and John in 2001 and grants scholarships to foster children of Contra Costa County. For the past two years, in support of the special needs community, Vic Stewart’s has hosted the “Unified Prom” for the Life Skills students in the Liberty Union High School District. John and Lois, through Vic Stewarts, have been active sponsors of fundraisers for California’s public servants ranging from Brentwood city council persons to California state governors.
“WE HAVE A FAMILY-STYLE DINNER THAT WE LIKE TO CALL ‘THE BOARD.’ IT WILL SERVE 4-6 PEOPLE AND COMES WITH A 49 OZ. PORTERHOUSE STEAK AND A 32 OZ. COWBOY CUT RIBEYE, ALONG WITH 2 FAMILY STYLE SIDE DISHES.”
Having served as general manager at both the Walnut Creek location, which closed in 2018 and now the Brentwood location, I have had the pleasure of providing a fine dining experience that makes us a true destination when considering a special night out. We are a little off the beaten path. That is how we like to do things. Our local retirement communities have made us their frequent hangout. We also have a very popular Happy Hour each day from 4 p.m. until closing, with the addition of great entertainment options of live country and contemporary music on Wednesday and Thursday evenings from 6-9 p.m. All enticing décor and ambiance aside, it’s our food that drives people to our door. Our best-selling menu item for lunch is our French dip sandwich. For our dinner menu, we have a daily seasonal seafood menu, but our most popular offering in the evening is our 8 oz. filet mignon beef tenderloin. Vic Stewarts sources our grain-fed and free-range beef from the mid-west; its quality is apparent with each bite. Weekend brunch here is an indulgent and elegant feast. To top it all off, our wine selection is cultivated from the very best California vintners.
Vic Stewart’s Steakhouse: Brentwood is a spectacular location to hold any unique and elegant private event. We offer five individual rooms designed to accommodate large parties. Our world-class chef will provide a top-notch experience by working with clients to create menus that fit budget, desires, and needs. Our largest event to date has been a reception for 220 people, they rented out the entire restaurant. Right now, our in-house event coordinator is working on an upcoming event for 75 people that will take place on our outdoor patio and have a drummer and a hula dancer entertaining for 45 minutes. The setting, the food, the service — all these elements combined, make for an unforgettable affair, sure to be savored for years to come.
Specialties of the house make us stand out from the rest. We have a family-style dinner that we like to call “The Board.” It will serve 4-6 people and comes with a 49 oz. porterhouse steak and a 32 oz. cowboy cut ribeye, along with two family style side dishes. This feast is served on a huge, Vic Stewart’s labeled wood plank and it is under $200. Our 49 oz. steak has a story all its own. The 49er Challenge has been going on since the first days of Vic Stewart’s Steakhouse in Walnut Creek in 1993. We created it as a tribute to the thousands of people who flooded the San Francisco Bay Area during the Gold Rush of 1849, arguably one of the most significant events to shape the history of California. Weighing in at 49 ounces, this monster Porterhouse challenge has been attempted by well over 10,000 people in more than 25 years. One participant has remarkably achieved eating two 49 oz. steaks in one sitting, another eagerly attempted three, but didn’t quite make it. steaks in one sitting, another eagerly attempted three, but didn’t quite make it. Many people have completed the challenge but many more have not, going home with nothing more than full bellies and a story of their attempt. The winners of the challenge receive a certificate of completion along with their name on one of our “49er” plaques, which are displayed within the restaurant. This challenge is what attracted a very special guest to Vic Stewart’s Steakhouse on August 22, 2019.
“MAN V. FOOD IS AN AMERICAN FOOD REALITY-TELEVISION SERIES APPEARING ON THE TRAVEL CHANNEL.” WE WERE HONORED TO BE CHOSEN AS THE NEXT DESTINATION FOR THEIR HOST, FOOD ENTHUSIAST CASEY WEBB.”
Man v. Food is an American food reality-television series appearing on the Travel Channel. We were honored to be chosen as the next destination for their host, food enthusiast Casey Webb. Casey tours the US, visiting many locales and restaurants, trying to defeat mass consumption food challenges. On August 22, he was putting himself up against our 49 oz. steak and a side of broccoli. The crew set-up in our restaurant and filmed for about 12 hours total that day. The place was buzzing with patrons. Lights lit, cameras rolled, the crew started firing up the guests surrounding the table that Casey was being led to, and it was on! That rowdy crowd clapped and cheered, constantly encouraging Casey with, “you’ve got this,” and chanting “eat that steak!” Within about 25 minutes, Casey had devoured every bite. What a feat! I have never seen someone tackle the 49er challenge so quickly! Working with Casey was a lot of fun and a total privilege for everyone involved. He was incredibly kind and approachable, funny, and relaxed. He took time to socialize and take photos with anyone who wanted to. The crew was amazing as well. This being my first experience with a television crew, I was very impressed with how quickly they worked and how effortless it seemed for them. They set up some amazing “beauty shots” of our food. One crew member literally gave a young fan the shirt off his back as a souvenir of the event. They even stuck around after to hang out with the restaurant staff and guests. It was quite overwhelming and the greatest part of the experience, was to see the number of people who came out to support the restaurant at this unique event. We had so many long-time, wonderful guests who changed their schedules to make sure they could be there for us. One participant from Oakley said, “I cannot believe I got to be part of the filming, it’s so cool that we’re putting Brentwood on the map. Casey is the ultimate carnivore!” The entire staff had a great time watching everything happen and were excited and eager to do anything needed to help, and they just loved Casey and the crew. So many folks involved have come back to share how excited they were to have been part of something special here in Brentwood! The number one question now is, “When will this episode air on TV?” For that, we will all just have to stay tuned.