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I don't wear a lot of ties, but I learned a long time ago not to wear one in here," declares Steve Holy with a laugh as he walks into the Trail Dust Steak House in Arlington, Texas.
"We have a policy of no neckties allowed," explains Doug Parker, the restaurant's co-owner and Steve's longtime pal. "You can take the tie off - or," he chuckles, "we'll cut it off for you!"
No joke. The proof is displayed on the walls of Trail Dust restaurants in Denver and three Texas locations - Dallas, Mesquite and Arlington.
"Some guys get a little miffed if we happen to cut off an expensive tie," admits Parker, "but most go with it in the spirit of good fun."
Sitting at a table next to a row of half ties, Steve orders his usual. "Being born and raised in Texas, I've eaten a lot of incredible steaks - and I've enjoyed steaks all over the U.S. The steaks here are at the top of my 'great steaks' list."
At the top of a lot of fans' "great listening" lists is Steve's debut Blue Moon CD with its hits "Don't Make Me Beg," "Blue Moon" and "The Hunger." Now his new single, "Good Morning Beautiful," is moving up the charts.
"I was eight the first time I ate at a Trail Dust," recalls Steve. "I loved the food, but" - he adds with a grin - "the huge indoor slide was awesome!" Steve watches a wide-eyed boy zip down the slide. "That still looks like fun," he confesses.
Steve licks his lips as the waitress sets down his savory steak, a 30-ounce, house-classic slab of Porterhouse called The Stud. "Don't read anything into that name - I just love this cut of beef," declares Steve.
Though The Stud is a hefty steak, Steve's selection actually shows a bit of restraint. "Heck," he acknowledges, "I could've chosen The Bull Shipper - a massive, 50-ounce 'ultimate Porterhouse.' "
After dinner Steve heads to the Texas-size grill on the other side of the restaurant to do some cooking of his own as his sister Meg looks on. "I've always wanted to see how this jumbo grill works," reveals Steve as the steak sizzles.
Billows of smoke roll up from the mesquite logs as Steve flips the steak. "The mesquite smoke gives the beef a mouth-watering taste that's outta this world!" he says.
"Hey," he adds, "could I take this one 'to go'?"
- Larry Holden