The Big Texan Timeline – Chapter 2
July 1976 – A devastating early morning fire destroyed the Big Texan. Lost in the inferno was the main dining room, gift shop, antiques, artifacts, furniture and fixtures from original Route 66 location. Fortunately the disaster spared the 300 seat banquet hall, that served as a temporary Big Texan until Lee was able to rebuild the main dining hall.
January 1978 – RJ Lee rebuilt his new Big Texan in a fashion that can only be described as a Texas masterpiece. It featured two story seating for 480 guest, huge gift shop, arcade and many special elements from all his past Big Texans. He incorporated the 300 banquet hall as the main entrance. 72 oz challengers were now seated on a center stage, so that all patrons could watch the contestants take on the GREAT STEAK OF TEXAS.
November 1983 – RJ Lee opens Big Texan Motel across parking lot from steakhouse. Naturally, it featured “Disney-Style” old west facades, western themed rooms and a Texas shaped swimming pool.
February 1990 – The Big Texan founder R.J. Lee passes away, his sons Bobby and Danny take over operations. Their pledge is 100% commitment to keeping the Big Texan true to its unique Texas mystique, original recipes, quality in food-service, traditions and the addition of more entertainment.
January 1993 – The Big Texan expands its entertainment offerings with the debut of the Big Texan Opry, strolling musicians and dinner-shows. Successful publicity campaigns attract coverage from worldwide networks and several Hollywood movies are filmed at the Big Texan.
2008 – The Travel Channel premieres a new show that would become an instant worldwide sensation called Man vs Food. Its debut Show features the show host taking on the Big Texans 72oz Steak Challenge. The world wide success of the show established the 72oz Steak challenge as the top eating contest in the world.