We arrived at the office this morning and heard the bad news that the Broiler restaurant had unceremoniously closed sometime over the Labor Day weekend. A look at its website, www.thebroilersteakhouse.com, confirmed the rumor: “The Broiler is closed” is the announcement. Pretty straightforward.
We tried to reach owner Larry Lords, with no success. So we drove downtown to take a first-hand look. Hmm. The sandwich board for the Broiler and its “sister” bar-lounge, Gallagher’s, was out on the sidewalk. So were a cluster of chairs and tables, but the red umbrellas that shade them were folded and secured.
We walked into the 32-foot-high rotunda lobby of the 19-story 1201 K Street building. Sure enough, the doors to the Broiler and Gallagher’s were locked, the rooms dark.
A security guard was at his station. Could he fill us in? Well, no, so he phoned the property manager for a brief chat. He hung up the phone and said firmly, “We have no information.” How about the phone number for the property manager? “We have no information,” he repeated. “Have a good day.”
Hmm. Curious. But it does appear that another iconic Sacramento restaurant has left the stage, along with its “Irish pub” bar-lounge.
The Broiler opened at J and 10th streets in 1950, quickly becoming the steak-and-cocktails destination of choice for the politicians, lawyers and lobbyists who inhabited the nearby state Capitol.
The Broiler changed hands in 1962 and again in 1985, when its last owners — Lords and his late wife, Marilou Lords, teamed with Walter Harvey and his late wife, Gloria Harvey, in the Broiler operation. They also partnered in Gallagher’s Bar & Grill in east Sacramento. In 1999, the two restaurants moved to new quarters at 1201 K St. The Harveys sold their interest, leaving the Lords as sole owners.
Part of the Broiler’s charm was its sense of retro, on the menu and in the decor. For instance, the dining room looked as though it had been transported from another era; the wall sconces from the original restaurant help that vibe along.
Until the day it closed, the Broiler specialized in old-school dinner dishes such a crab-and-shrimp Louie, beef Wellington, steak Diane, Maine lobster and bacon-wrapped duck breast, though its lunch menu veered toward lighter fare such as Asian fish tacos, blackened salmon salad and panko-crusted portobello mushroom. There was even a “lite lunch” of sirloin steak, cottage cheese and fresh fruit. If you wanted dessert, you could choose from the Two Bite Desserts list or go big with a wedge of chocolate-cherry cheesecake.
We’ll miss the Broiler mostly for its sense of local history, but also for its prime rib. If we hear from Lords, we’ll let you know.