Doron Jensen

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Doron Jensen
Doron Jensen.jpg
Jensen in 2010.
President of the Minnesota Restaurant Association
In office
President of Timber Lodge Steakhouse
In office
Preceded by position established
Succeeded by Peter S. Bedzyk
Personal details
Born (1958-09-01) September 1, 1958 (age 59)
Dubuque, Iowa, U.S.
Parents Richard A. Jensen
Bonnie L. Jensen
Profession Restaurateur

Doron Richard Jensen (born September 1, 1958) is an American restaurateur and principle founder of Timber Lodge Steakhouse, Homestyle Buffet, and Old Country Buffet.

Early life[edit]

Doron Richard Jensen was born in Dubuque, Iowa, to pastors Richard and Bonnie Jensen. Jensen spent much of his formative youth in Addis Abba, Ethiopia before returning to the United States in 1965. He dropped out of a secondary school at the age of 16. Influenced by his grandfather's cafe, Jensen's Cafe, Jensen entered the restaurant business as a busboy.[1] Jensen's parents were supportive of his endeavors from an early age. Jensen started his buffet career working as a manager at Sirloin Stockade and Ponderosa and Bonaza Steakhouse in Iowa in the 1970s. After the death of his grandfather, 20-year-old Doron felt ready to take over his grandfather's cafe in Fremont, Nebraska.[2] His parents helped arrange the takeover of the restaurant, but was blocked by other relatives that thought he was too young for the responsibility. Jensen briefly attended the University of Minnesota.


Jensen Companies
Jensen's restaurant chains included Old Country Buffet and Timber Lodge Steakhouse.

Jensen was brought into Old Country Buffet by Roe Hatlen and C. Dennis Scott in 1983. Disagreements within the company, in regards to southern United States expansion, inevitably caused Jensen and the initial investor Dermot Rowland to leave the company to start their own spin off of the company, Homestyle Buffet.[3] Buffets Incorporated eventually became the largest buffet chain in the country. At just the age of 28, Jensen opened Homestyle Buffets Inc. and incorporated them in Clearwater, Florida in 1986. He took the company public on December 1, 1988.[4] Jensen expanded the reach from Florida to New England. However, Jensen left the company after 40 restaurants to return to the Midwest to pursue other ventures.

While in Florida, Jensen was influenced by the developing steakhouse concept that would eventually become Outback Steakhouse. Jensen decided to return to Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he founded the company Q-Steaks Inc as the umbrella company for Minnesota Steakhouse in January 1991.[5] Again, Jensen took his company public. Timber Lodge Steakhouse went public on January 1, 1993.[6] Jensen changed the name to Timber Lodge Steakhouse in 1994 when the company's reach expanded outside of Minnesota, with the exception of Paul Bunyan's in New York.[7] In 1995, he resigned as President of the company, again leaving a company that he had founded.[8] Later, Jensen along with Outback Steakhouse founder, Chris T. Sullivan, would be attributed with rebooting the American steakhouse concept.

Later career[edit]

Jensen circa 1996 in Eagan, Minnesota. In the late 1990s, Jensen's career shifted towards a more signature style of restaurants.

Since Timber Lodge Steakhouse, Jensen has primarily focused on signature restaurants over large-scale restaurant chains.[9] Jensen developed the signature restaurant Q-Cumbers in Edina, Minnesota and later developed his own personal brand of self-titled restaurants Jensen's Cafe, Jensen's Supper Club, and Jensen's food & cocktails. Jensen's Cafe is named in honor of his grandfather's Jensen's Cafe in Fremont, Nebraska.

Jensen's concepts and designs have been cited as influence for other restaurant brands such as Minervas food & cocktails and Hazelwood food & drinks.

Jensen was elected as the President of the interest group the Minnesota Restaurant Association in 2000.[10] Jensen's career has also included lobbyist efforts representing the National Restaurant Association in Washington, DC. He has also served on various commerce boards in Minnesota.

Personal life[edit]

Doron Jensen is the son of American theologian Richard A. Jensen and Bonnie L. Jensen. Jensen was also a relative of writer Moritz Thomsen. Jensen is the older brother of fellow restrauteur Derek Jensen. Jensen currently owns and operates a small collection of restaurants in the Twin Cities.[11][12][13][14]


  1. ^ Miller, Alan. "Access to Democracy featuring Doron Jensen of Jensen's restaurants". Access to Democracy. Retrieved June 7, 2014.  External link in |website= (help)
  2. ^ Miller, Alan. "Access to Democracy: Doron Jensen & Paul Richards". Access to Democracy. 
  3. ^ Kennedy, Patrick. "Builder Dermot Rowland had appetite for restaurants business". Retrieved September 24, 2014. 
  4. ^ Kamm, Dave. "Florida firms hold their own". Ocala Star Banner. Retrieved June 18, 2011. 
  5. ^
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  7. ^ Phelps, David. "Timber Lodge Steakhouse finally doing better with name change". Minneapolis Star Tribune. Retrieved August 12, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Q-Steaks announces management changes, as founder leaves company". PR News Online. Retrieved August 23, 2011.  External link in |website= (help)
  9. ^ Gessner, John. "Jensen's to open Cafe Bar". 
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on July 26, 2011. Retrieved 2011-02-16. 
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  14. ^ Helgeson, Baird. "Public pay sets of new 'civil war'". Minneapolis Star Tribune. Retrieved March 29, 2011.