We've been eating here once or twice a month for over a decade. Especially love Tuesday Kid's night because kids, (9 and 10) absolutely love the steak bites. Since about 2007 we've ordered their steaks medium, because that's how they like them. So for 7 years and across scores, probably hundreds of visits, this has never been a problem.
On our last two visits (including tonight's) we were told we cannot order the kid's steak bites medium or under....ONLY well-done. But we CAN order the Andy's steak or any other steak for the kids cooked any temperature we want. When we ask why and tell managers we've been ordering these items medium for 7 years, different managers have said:
1. It's state law (it's not...we've checked).
2. The Health Department requires it. (They do not, they can only recommend temps for steak and ground beef based on FDA guidelines). ONLY ground meats are mandated to be cooked a certain temperature, and it's ONLY for pre-school age kids at schools, camps and daycare...NOT commercial restaurants and ...NOT school age.
3. We can't cook it medium or less because it's cut up prior to cooking. Obviously this reason is utterly ridiculous.
4. We can't serve the steak bites medium but you can order the Andy's steak medium or a regular steak medium for your child. (Again...this is preposterous. The Steak Bites are STILL steak.)
5. It's company policy (Have also been told this in an email reply from the local restuarants managing partner...but she referred to the FDA rules, which as stated in #1 above, ONLY apply to ground meats to pre-school age kids at NON-RESTAURANTS. So schools, daycare, camps and the like).
To elaborate on the above answers:
I spent two nights and about 3 hours online on this subject. No state in the country has ANY laws on temperature of steaks. Nor does the FDA. You can get steak tartare in any state in the country (completely raw steak)...with no restrictions from lawmakers, the FDA or health departments anywhere. And it can be served to children, EVEN pre-school age if the customer requests it.
There are only recommendations by the FDA and some Health Departments on temperatures for steaks and some states require these be posted either on the menu or in a conspicuous location in the restaurant. Health Departments are not allowed to lower a restaurants score based on the temperature of steaks. Other foods, yes...steaks...nope!
Only one state, North Carolina has any law about the temperature that beef can be cooked IN RESTAURANTS, and it ONLY applies to ground beef, not steaks... and that law was relaxed about 3 years ago to allow medium. Remember, the FDA rules apply to custodial care facilities, like schools, daycare and camps. NOT restaurants.
Obviously, any rational person who reads all this would say, "this is nuts." So to rundown what all we've been told:
We can order the larger, more expensive kid's steak and get it medium or medium-rare, but we cannot order the Kid's special (steak bites), which is STILL steak, at medium or medium rare. I worked in restaurants for 8 years in high school and college and I'll bet my last dollar these steaks are cut into bite-size pieces AFTER they're cooked on the grill, so this "cut-up" reasoning is insane.
Health Departments also routinely recommend cooking steak to med-well or well for kids, but again, they cannot grade down a restaurant's health score for cooking a steak less than medium-well. If they're doing so (which is what one of your manager's told us would happen), then the Evansville/Vanderburgh Co. Health Dept. doesn't know what they're doing and you guys need to call them on it.
So unfortunately, our kids used to think Texas Roadhouse was the "bomb." Now they don't even want to eat there anymore because they can't stand the well-done, nearly inedible well-done steak bites. Again, this isn't a case of a parent ranting over something, it's a case of two kids who were unbelievably disappointed that they couldn't get their steaks the way they LOVE them...and the way they've been getting them since they both started eating steak in about 2007 when they were 3 and 4 years old. They both implored me to write to Texas Roadhouse and to Trip Advisor (my 10 year old loves this site). Believe me...it takes a LOT for me to contact a company about a problem. It's way easier to just go somewhere else. God knows there are tons of choices out there.
Texas Roadhouse used to be a twice monthly treat for our family. By my estimates, we've spent at least $400/year there since about 2004. That's over $4000! Our daughters literally used to beg us to go there. But unless this silly policy is changed, we'll now have to find another steak restaurant that our kids enjoy.
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