At Colorado's first Steak 'n Shake, a lawsuit may be the least of the problems

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J. Wohletz
Welcome to the Centennial Steak 'n Shake--ewww!
When I walked into the Steak 'n Shake at 8271 South Quebec Street -- the first Steak 'n Shake to open in Colorado -- I was greeted by a host stand holding a dirty tray with trash on it, with no host in sight. And my visit only got worse from there. Steak 'n Shake Enterprises Inc. and Steak 'n Shake LLC are suing the local owners of the two Steak 'n Shake restaurants in Colorado, this one included, asking the judge to prevent them from operating the spots as Steak 'n Shakes and citing franchise-agreement failures.

Franchise agreement failures or no, the Centennial Steak 'n Shake is definitely failing customers big time with horrible service and sub-par food.

See also:
-Behold...Denver's first Steak 'n Shake!
-A second Steak 'n Shake opens in Sheridan
-Ho boy! Denver is getting a Steak 'n Shake!

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J. Wohletz
If by "steak" they mean thin, crusty hamburger, then, yes, it is a steak burger.
I stopped by the Centennial Steak 'n Shake early on a Monday evening, and after being greeted by nothing more than that cluttered, dirty host stand, I stood around for a while until a noticeably harried bus boy with a filthy apron hurriedly sat me in a small alcove in the back. Since there was no sign of a server for about ten minutes, I had plenty of time to look around the dining room.

Wadded-up wrappers and piles of food waste littered the floor. The occupants of the two-top next to me were pretty pissed that no one had brought them drinks, and they were ready to walk out. A party of six next to them had waited quite a while for their dinner, and then gotten all but one entrée. While a woman waited for the missing chicken salad, her companions finished their meals -- hope they shared some fries with her.

My server looked more nervous and harangued than the busser, and after taking my drink order -- a tropical banana shake for me, and a Hershey's Special Dark chocolate shake for my dining companion -- she disappeared into the ether. Twenty-five minutes later, a different server brought us two shakes -- a strawberry and a Heath bar -- and we told him they weren't ours. Ten minutes after that, our server brought us two shakes: the exact same ones we'd sent away before, only now wilted and melty. She re-took our shake order that she'd either screwed up or forgotten to write down the first time, and we ordered dinner before she disappeared again: an original Double 'n Cheese Steakburger with fries and one of SnS's new Jalapeno Crunch chicken sandwiches.

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J. Wohletz
A sub-par shake.
While we waited, I shared some of the Steak 'n Shake legal story with my companion. Local franchise owners Christopher Baerns, Larry Baerns, Kathryn Baerns and the companies they used to buy and run the restaurants (Globex Co. LLC, Springfield Downs LLC and Control LLC) are being sued in U.S. District Court by Steak 'n Shake LLC for, according to the Denver Business Journal, "breach of contract, trademark infringement and unfair competition." The parent company wants the Baernses to "de-identify" their stores and send back everything associated with SnS, and then pay unspecified damages of more than $75,000.

Steak 'n Shake was founded in Illinois in 1934 by Gus Belt, and gained popularity because of Belt's hand-dipped shakes and steakburgers, freshly-ground from T-bone, sirloin and round steaks. Today the chain is headquartered in Indiana and its 508 restaurants -- including 94 franchised locations -- are concentrated in the Midwest and Southern U.S. I grew up in Missouri, and was as big a fan of Steak 'n Shake as anyone. The brand is still very much beloved, even if the steak has been replaced with regular hamburger meat and the shakes are no longer hand-dipped. At least, not at the Centennial spot.

Location Info

Steak 'n Shake

8271 S. Quebec St., Centennial, CO

Category: Restaurant

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25 comments
milleralexjames
milleralexjames

Had it twice, won't go back a third time. My entire family is from St. Louis and I remembered S&S fondly, but that shit was gross. I have a relatively iron stomach and it made me feel like shit all day long.

Kris Call
Kris Call

This Steak & Shake had several employees walk out when headquarters shut down their computers & before the judge set the injunction.

Scratch
Scratch

Colorado has too many amazing burger joints for this place to exist in our marketplace.


Shawn Q Ahlers
Shawn Q Ahlers

what would one expect... firstly, the place is shite all around and secondly, minimum wage nets what you pay for. pay shite, get shite. not at all surprising.

Amanda Davis Buchanan
Amanda Davis Buchanan

Definitely not like the Steak and Shake in IL :( I was so stoked we had one here I got everyone up and in the car we were going to S&S. I was so excited... we got there and it was the worst meal I have ever had. Waitress was awful food was cold. I wont go back.

Shayne Barrett
Shayne Barrett

Use to eat at S&S when I lived in Atlanta, but that was almost 30 years ago. The one here is too far away and their are many other BETTER burgers closer to me in Broomfield, including Five Guys and Larkburger. :)

Steph Bailey
Steph Bailey

They wouldn't have to raise prices if they weren't comping every other meal. The only reason they don't end up comping ALL the meals is because not everyone is willing to speak up.

Mary Cicotello
Mary Cicotello

We had a bad experience at this Steak and Shake too. They brought out one of our orders, but never brought the other one. We wound up having to clean our own table too. When I went back to ask what happened to my order, they said they gave it to someone else. We got no napkins, no forks and a piss poor attitude from them. The manager comped the whole meal after we complained to him.

Legen Dairy
Legen Dairy

Ive Tried it in Vegas and I can tell you it did not look like that. I think They need to get there act together or Just Call it A Standard Burger Restaurant with Shit Fries. I was excited to try it but it seems as if they are disregarding the guidelines which to serve by. Ok if the supplier prices are a little higher out here maybe a little increase in prices are ok. They do still need to make a profit. But if Corporate says No raise in prices well deal with it I guess.

Sergei Krivenkov
Sergei Krivenkov

Why not eat at LarkBurger? Colorado based, better ingredients, flavor, and experience. Tried steak and shake multiple times at different locations and was let down each time.

Gwen Aldrich
Gwen Aldrich

I've never gone there when there hasn't been at least one problem w/my order.

Loghome Finishing
Loghome Finishing

good article. I went twice to the location on Hampton and Santa Fe. Once I had a good classic Midwestern experience. The second visit was more like you describe, more like the typical Colorado dining experience, disgusting, nasty, and rude.

Craig Hawkins
Craig Hawkins

I had the same experience and I wrote about it a couple months ago. That location is in shambles and it shows when you walk in. The manager on duty was slumped over the cash register with her hand on her chin for most of my visit there and the place was an absolute mess. The burger was cold, the milkshake was half melted, and the service took for EVER.

JPhine
JPhine

There is absolutely no excuse for this. Not event the fact that I experienced this at 95 percent of the Central Illinois Steak 'n Shakes I trolled in high school. Or the fact that our deprived Midwestern taste buds glorify what is a typically greasy, stomach-churning sub-par experience during visits back home. Or that it's fast food at a franchise that is obviously doomed. 

GFTW
GFTW

Hahahaha, funny article!

ScubaSteve
ScubaSteve topcommenter

@Sergei Krivenkov  

I don't care for LarkBurger simply because SmashBurger is better.

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