Restaurant owner revives Texas Cattle Co. eatery

So much for a soft opening.

Texas Cattle Co., a fixture on Riverside Drive for almost 20 years before it closed in 2006, was revived Tuesday at a new location on Houston Road. By the time workers installed the old Texas Cattle Co. sign outside the new restaurant, folks were lined up at the door.

“There was so much buzz in the community,” said proprietor Mark Coley, a part-owner at the old restaurant. “We tried to have a sneak opening to give our people some training, but we ended up doing very well on the first day. Folks here are hungry for a nice restaurant.”

Things were hopping again Wednesday. Diane Sanders, who lives nearby and was a loyal patron of the restaurant when it was across town, ate lunch at the new location with her family.

Her husband also ate there Tuesday night.

“We started taking our son there when he was 2, and he’s 15 now,” she said. “The food was great. It was just like we remembered it.

“I think it’s going to be great for the community. There’s nothing over here as far as a sit-down restaurant.”

Coley started working at the Texas Cattle Co. on Riverside as a bartender in 1989 and worked himself into an ownership position before leaving for another steak restaurant in 2001. Texas Cattle closed after the death of owner Bruce Ibs.

Coley and his wife, Renee, recently decided to open another steakhouse, and the former Whistle Stop Cafe building on Houston Road seemed like “a great fit,” he said.

“The community wanted to get something here in south Macon,” said Coley. “If I had been building a new building for a steakhouse, it couldn’t have been better than this.”

The restaurant is a family operation.

The staff of fewer than 25 includes the Coleys’ four children.

Oney Hudson, who co-owns the building with Eddie Parker, said people are excited to see the Texas Cattle Co.’s return.

“We hope that something big will happen,” Hudson said.

The building required little renovation. Coley added some televisions and brought over much of the original artwork. Patrons of the Riverside restaurant might recognize the prints of Southwestern desert scenes, John Wayne and whimsical, cow-faced takes on the Mona Lisa and other masterworks.

The new Texas Cattle Co. will be without one noted feature of the old place — the brewery. The restaurant, however, expects to eventually serve beer and wine.

“The service is the same. The menu’s the same. The attitude’s the same,” said Coley.

To contact writer Rodney Manley, call 744-4623.