Last night we were invited to check out the latest edition of Quaker Steak and Lube, the casual dining chain hailing from Pennsylvania that is best known for their mountains of chicken wings and sauce choices. There were sampled most of what the restaurant had to offer and had a chance to visit with the CEO, John H. Longstreet.
The chicken wings recently became famous when Travel Channel’s Man vs Food host Adam Richman tackled the Triple Atomic challenge by devouring wings sauced with a searing 500,000 Scoville rated madness. That ventures well past the Scotch Bonnet and Habanero territory, and can be quite maddening on the palate.
In addition to wings, Quaker Steak and Lube also offers up some fairly remarkable baby back ribs, salads, sandwiches and steaks. In fact, when the restaurant first opened their doors it was as a cook-your-own-steak theme. Now the big attraction is the Tuesday night special which offers an all-you-can-eat rib and wing option for under $14.
We sat with Longstreet for a few minutes to find out more about this new addition to the North Texas dining scene. Stay with us to the end where we give away several beefy gift cards.
Tell us how the concept first started.
This concept started in 1974 when the original owners found an abandoned gas station and turned it into a restaurant. They came up with the catchy name Quaker Steak and Lube partially because many of the first customers were execs from Quaker State. They got to talking about it and came up with this name and it has been a great association outside the occasional time when someone pulls up honking their horn wanting an oil change.
How did you personally get involved with the restaurant?
My association started years ago when the founders started their first restaurant in 1971. I was a cook and dishwasher. Many years later as they expanded they called on me to serve on their board. This was seven years ago. Just over two and a half years ago the board asked me to take over the CEO position.
So you live in Sharon, Pennsylvania?
I do, but I lived here [in Dallas] for about thirty years. When they asked me to take over I had to make the decision to move.
Why are you setting up in the Dallas area now after opening fifty other restaurants?
There are a few reasons. The most obvious is because of my ties here, living most of my adult life in Dallas. I also believe in it as a restaurant market. It is one of the most competitive restaurant markets and we have one of the most competitive concepts.
It is also considered a Tier One Market [the top demographic and socioeconomic rating] and it is important for us to move into a Tier One to prove we can do it. I believe we will be well received here.
What are your expansion plans for this market?
We open Waco next week, then in January we open Plano. Then a few months after that we are back in Dallas, and two in Houston next year.
What locations in Dallas?
I am looking at two sites, but cannot divulge those just yet as it might affect my ability to negotiate. But the Plano location is being built now at Parkwood and 121.
What is your favorite item on the menu?
Of course I like the wings, but we have 103 items on the menu. People think of us as a wing joint because we won the title Best Wings USA. We have 21 sauces that have won 100 awards, so I like the wings. I really like our Lube Burger which incorporates one of our sauces.
How hot of a sauce can you manage?
I did the Atomic, which is our second hottest sauce and it is… uh, difficult. We have a lot of people that do our wing challenge, but I would be hard pressed to do one. The only reason I had the atomic is because I had a prospective franchisee challenged me and I wanted to close the deal.
How many wings can you eat at one sitting?
I am not a big eater and don’t go for volume, but I can probably eat a dozen wings at one sitting.
We appreciate John Longstreet chatting with us today and he wants to offer a few craveDFW readers a chance to try the new restaurant on him. So we have two $50 gift cards to offer as a special prize to our readers. Make a comment below and tell us how many wings you could eat and we will select one commenter at random this Friday.Quaker Steak and Lube 4109 Hwy 121 (at Hebron)