I have always been a fan of Outback Steakhouse. Perhaps it's that dang Bloomin' Onion , which I can never pass up whenever I go there. Or perhaps I remain nostalgic from my days in grad school many years ago when going to Outback (and dealing with a likely 2 hour wait drinking Fosters at the bar) was considered a splurge. Or perhaps it's because I realize now with a 2 year-old that a night at Outback is up there with the best of them in terms of a fun and fulfilling dinner out with the family. And so while my reasons for Outbacks appeal may have changed over the last 15 years, the restaurant itself really hasn't. But that is about to change.
I was recently invited to check out the new Outback in Johns Creek, for what they are dubbing as the new prototype of Outback restaurants. While there are a few new items on the menu, its pretty much the same at first glance- Bloomin' Onions, steaks, shrimp on the barbie- you know the routine. What is different is the look of the place. The Johns Creek location, which just opened this week, is one of 4 locations in the country to sport the new look.
As you will see from a couple of pictures below, they have gone with almost a Southwestern motif- lots of earth tones, and nice use of wood, stone and metal. In fact, when you look at the outside, it has more of the look of a Santa Fe saloon than the ranch house style of the traditional restaurant. Speaking of saloon, the bar is now separated from the main dining room, with the idea of keeping the TVs away from the dining room experience. There is still plenty of seating in the bar area and they still have Fosters, so for those looking to watch a game, eat and have an oil can, no worries.
I'll be curious to see how long it will take them to retrofit the existing Outbacks to this theme, and when my more local restaurant in Dunwoody will get the upgrade.
The New Outback in John's Creek
The New Outback Dining Room
The new Outback bar.