York Steak House
York Steak House was a national chain of restaurants in the United States that specialized in steaks and potatoes. It was among several chains then owned by cereal manufacturer General Mills. Though popular in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the majority of its locations shut down in 1989. The restaurants, located primarily in shopping malls, generally had a floorplan of a cafeteria (cold items on one side, hot items on the other with the cashier at the end). This combined with a decor composed of subdued lighting, heavy wooden furniture, and iron chandeliers. York Steak House was purchased by Uno Restaurant Holdings Corporation.
The restaurants were run cafeteria style, with a-la-carte pricing of items. A former Bloomington, Indiana York server, Caryn, recalls that tipping was not allowed. There was an extra charge for pats of butter and sour cream.
Other General Mills restaurant chains besides York included Betty Crocker's Tree House, The Good Earth (purchased in 1980), and Guadala Harry's. However, some chains that General Mills once owned, such as Red Lobster and Olive Garden, continue to this day under the ownership of Darden Restaurants, which General Mills spun off in 1995.
After General Mills sold the chain, a limited number of York Steak Houses continued to operate for several years as independent restaurants. As of 2011, only one restaurant is known to remain in operation using the York name, in Columbus, Ohio, near Westland Mall. It largely retains the signature look and cafeteria-style format of the former chain.
- GM Restaurants sprints for next summit, Nation's Restaurant News, December 18, 1989, by Rick Van Warner (accessed December 25, 2007)[dead link]
- How to succeed through failure: the General Mills Restaurants story, Nation's Restaurant News, December 18, 1989, by Charles Bernstein (accessed December 25, 2007)[dead link]
- A review of the Columbus, Ohio York Steak House, written in 2007 (accessed August 14, 2015 via archive.org).