The Cuisine Scene
Brenda Hill

Tony's Spunky Steer
Redlands, CA

I heard about a great restaurant in Redlands, The Spunky Steer. The meals were supposed to be good, priced for a family, and it was open seven days a week.

A perfect place, I thought, so, I called Kathryn, my fellow adventurer. Located in the Tri-City Shopping Center close to Mervyn’s, The Spunky Steer was easy to find and parking was a breeze.

Since we were going to have an early dinner, we arrived around five-thirty and were immediately seated. We had our choice of tables or booths, so we sank onto a big, comfortable booth.

I thought the green chandelier shades and brown booths added a sense old-fashioned comfort to the casual atmosphere. After the server took our drink orders, Kathryn and I looked over the menus and thought about an appetizer. We could have potato skins with six cheeses, bacon and onion, half order for $3.50, full for $6.00, fried zucchini sprinkled with parmesan cheese, half for $2.50, full for $4.00, or mushrooms, onion rings, or even a six-shrimp cocktail for $8.75, or clams and scallops. But we thought we’d save room for dinner.

Family owned and run, The Spunky Steer makes their chili bean soup from scratch as well as their blu cheese, thousand-island, and honey mustard dressings.
Six salads are offered, including steak salad for $8.25, chef’s salad at $7.00, tuna, chicken breast, tossed green, and a Susan Salad, which include fresh greens, tomatoes, cucumber, mushrooms, pickles and egg for $5.25.

Sandwiches are next, and include some of the standards such as chicken breast, grilled cheese, BLT, roast beef, and tuna, all offered on sourdough bread, most with fries and Cole slaw, all under $9.00. Then there’s the Mexican green chile melt, a 1/2 pound ground beef patty with blended cheeses and green chile, served on grilled sourdough with fries and Cole slaw for $8.00. A Spunky Delight is sliced roast beef on sourdough, with melted cheese and Ortega chilis. Served with fries and Cole slaw for $7.45.

Then the menu says their burgers are made with high quality fresh ground beef, and offer bacon ‘n’ cheeseburger, and a Spunky Burger, a 1/2 pound of premium ground beef on grilled French bread, 1000 island dressing and mayonnaise, and salad or soup, and fries, for $8.45.

Their steaks are what Debbie raved about. She said their bacon wrapped lunch filet is a tender filet mignon offered for under ten dollars. According to the menu, their lunch filet is 5 oz, and includes, as with all their steak dinners, homemade soup or salad, choice of potato and hot grilled garlic bread. But if you’re hungry for more, they also offer 10 oz for $11.25. I believe it’s served as two filets instead of one large steak.

Other steaks include a 16 oz rib eye for $13.50, beef kabob teriyaki, skewered with pineapple, onion, and bell pepper for $9.00, and the old favorite, country fried steak, which is sirloin dipped in egg, lightly floured and deep fried, served with country or chicken gravy for $8.75.

If we weren’t hungry for steak, we could have liver ‘n’ onions for $7.50 or orange glazed baby back ribs, a half rack for $11.50 and a full for $14.00. I love those, so I’ll be back to try them. Then there's the 16 oz T-bone for $14.00, plus a selection of other favorites including a French Dip, sliced roast beef dinner, chicken selections and seafood. They even have clams, shrimp, and scallops, all under $13.00

I selected the pepper steak, an 8 oz sirloin, grilled and topped with onions, bell peppers, tomatoes, and mushrooms for $10.25. And after I finished my salad, they brought my dinner on a sizzling platter. Talk about generous portions. My steak was piled high with vegetables, and I couldn’t wait to dig in.

Kathryn ordered the broiled halibut steak, and, as with all the seafood selections, it was offered with soup or salad, potato and hot garlic bread.

The baked potato looked so good and plump that I lightly buttered it and added the sour cream and chives. Kathryn tried the cheese sauce. We each took a bite of our potatoes and both commented on how good they tasted. The server later said that all their potatoes are actually baked and not zapped in the microwave. And it showed because they were delicious, well-done without that woody texture I’ve found in some.

The steak was good, but I loved the vegetables, highly flavored in natural juices with just a touch of butter. I loved the absence of heavy sauces.

Kathryn said her halibut was flakey and moist, not mushy like some fish, and the garlic bread was crispy.

We were so full after our dinners that we declined their desserts, which include hot apple dumpling topped with hot cinnamon sauce and fruit cobblers with ice cream for $3.60.

For those of you who like to eat early, they offer specials available after 3:00pm, and they also include soup or salad, potato and garlic bread.
Mondays offer fried chicken for $7.25
Tuesday, New York steak at $8.25
Wednesday, country-fried steak, $8.25
Thursday, pork chops for $8.25.

I’d advise you to come early if you can, because while we were there, the waiting area for seating grew crowded. Must be for the good food, ample portions and decent prices. That certainly did it for me.

They're also located in Chino and Riverside.

Tony's Spunky Steer
1350 Industrial Park Ave, Redlands, CA
Daily - 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Phone - (909) 792-6200