Here's the Beef
The Red Barn celebrates 30 years as Silver City's favorite steakhouse.
When you eat at the Red Barn, Silver City's landmark steakhouse, it feels like you're family. From the friendly staff to the down-home food — steaks, of course, plus chicken, seafood, burgers, sandwiches and a sampling of superb Mexican fare — you might be settling in for lunch or dinner at an especially large ranch house. The oversized wagon-wheel lights overhead and ranching prints on the walls complete the effect.
Indeed, the Red Barn has been a family restaurant with deep roots in the local ranching community since its inception, 30 years ago. Hays and Patricia May bought the site of an old Conoco gas station and opened the Red Barn, with its signature "silo," on June 9, 1979. They also bought the Rio Mimbres Ranch to provide the Angus beef for their restaurant; although the Red Barn no longer raises its own, it's still the town's only eatery serving reserve Angus beef.
That meat is even better these days, part of a sweeping upgrade of the Red Barn by new manager Brian Dean. The prime rib is newly seasoned and slow-roasted, too, and the salad bar — still the area's biggest — has been taken up a notch.
Not that the Red Barn is forgetting its past as it upgrades for its future: This month, Friday, Oct. 16, the restaurant celebrates its 30th birthday with a special semi-formal, three-course dinner ($30). Cocktails and appetizers begin at 6 p.m., with microbrew and wine tasting, and dinner at 7:30 p.m., followed by after-dinner reflections on the past three decades. Seating is limited so reservations are required. The next day, Saturday, Oct. 17, swing by the Red Barn for a community celebration featuring treats for the kids, a pie-eating contest at 3 p.m., and Little Rancher Steaks at the original price of $3.45.
Prices on the Red Barn menu have crept up since 1979, but it's still a wallet-friendly eatery; a special senior menu makes it even more so for the 60-plus crowd. Appetizers, $4.99-$9.49, include buffalo chicken wings, shrimp cocktail, quesadillas and even such newfangled fare as fried green beans. The signature New York strip steak is $14.99 for 8 ounces or $20.99 for 12 ounces, including two sides (we recommend the tangy, barbecue-y ranch beans). Steak options, of course, range across the whole cow, from porterhouse to ribeye to the Rancher top sirloin and chicken-fried steak. Don't forget that prime rib. And there's even liver and onions (are you sure mom isn't back in the kitchen?).
But it's not all beef. Seafood includes catfish, shrimp and salmon. The Poncho Chicken ($11.99) caught our eye among the multiple chicken choices — it's smothered with chile and cheese — that also include classic fried chicken. But we wound up trying the chicken fajita — a huge, steaming platter of tasty, seasoned chicken and veggies that was plenty for dinner and a doggie bag.
Dessert, if you somehow still have room, offers such classic café fare as chocolate layer cake and coconut-cream pie. To wash it all down, the Red Barn serves a variety of domestic and imported beers, cocktails and a complete selection of Blue Teal wines, by the glass or by the bottle.
When the friendly waitress brings the check and says, "Y'all come back now," you know you will.
— David A. Fryxell
Red Barn, 708 Silver Heights Blvd., Silver City, 538-5666. 11 a.m.-9 p.m. daily. The Red Barn is also home to the Pinos Altos Melodrama Touring Company, performing every Saturday at 8 p.m. For reservations and information, call 388-3848.