If you're in Texas, you'll be tossing your fears about high cholesterol levels out the car window. This is cattle country, after all, and nothing is as good as a steak cooked on a hot-as-hell grill or a breaded piece of beef that's been fried to perfection. A favorite of locals in the area and always crowded, the Beehive Restaurant has locations in Abilene and nearby Albany.
Primarily a steak house with steaks cooked on an open pit, mesquite fired grill or as chicken fried steak, the Beehive has an upscale, clubby feeling, the kind of place that attracts friends wanting a big meal and some cocktails, families with their kids, and couples out on a date. 10-14 ounce filets, ribeyes and New York strip steaks are grilled with smoky flavor on the blazingly hot pit in the kitchen.
Owned by the Esfandiary brothers, Ali and Neiman, who arrived from Iran decades ago and, incongruously, decided to open an American-style country cafe.
The story goes that the day before they opened the original restaurant in Albany, an elderly woman came in to eat. Sorry, they told her, they weren't open until tomorrow.
Before she could leave, they asked if she could settle an argument they were having. Which part of the chicken, they wanted to know, did you use to make chicken fried steak?
As Ali tells the story, the woman said they were idiots and dragged them to her house for a lesson in Texas-cooking. Chicken fried steak, as everyone knows, is made with beef.
From the long lines waiting to have lunch and dinner, they were clearly quick learners.
Beehive Restaurant, 442 Cedar St., Abilene, TX 79601
David Latt is an Emmy-award winning television producer who turns to cooking to alleviate stress. He shares his experiences with food and his favorite recipes on his blog Men Who Like To Cook.