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Stuart Anderson (November 27, 1922–June 6, 2016) was an American restaurateur and founder of the Black Angus Steakhouse restaurant chain, first established in Seattle in 1964.

Early life[edit | edit source]

Anderson was born in Tacoma, Washington, and raised in Seattle in well-to-do circumstances. His father was a successful orthopedic surgeon during the Great Depression. Anderson would joke that his difficult circumstances included having to walk all the way across the Broadmoor golf course to school.[1] He left Seattle to join the United States Army during World War II, driving tanks in General George S. Patton's Third Army,[2] and returned to Seattle in 1949.[1][3]

Career[edit | edit source]

In Seattle after the war, Anderson bought a hotel, The Caledonia, in order to circumvent the state's blue laws and sell alcohol in the hotel bar which he called the Ringside Room.[1] Anderson would later say in his book Here's the Beef! My Story of Beef that "Hookers, seamen, hustlers and wrestlers made up most of my trade."[4] Around 1960,[5] he opened a restaurant there and called it The French Quarter. In 1962 it was remade with a Klondike Gold Rush theme for the 1962 World's Fair and renamed to The Gold Coast.[6] Finally in 1964 it was renamed again to Stuart Anderson's Black Angus before moving to Seattle's Elliott Avenue in the Denny Triangle.[7]

Eventually Black Angus became a chain with over 100 restaurants which Anderson sold in 1972.[2]

Anderson's 2,600-acre (1,100 ha) ranch in Thorp could be seen from Interstate 90, and was featured in commercials.[8]

Anderson came out of retirement in Rancho Mirage, California to re-open a struggling Black Angus restaurant under the name Stuart's Steakhouse in 2010. It closed in 2012.[5][9] He died from lung cancer at his home in Rancho Mirage on June 6, 2016, at the age of 93.[4][9]

Legacy[edit | edit source]

Anderson and his restaurants are credited with launching the western-theme restaurant concept (Ponderosa Steakhouse and Bonanza Steakhouse, Texas Roadhouse) and the careers of other successful restaurant businesspeople like Julia Stewart, DineEquity CEO.[2]

His wife Helen said that despite his success in business, he could not cook steak, and "the best he could do would be peanut butter sandwiches or frying eggs".[4]

Anderson was inducted to the Ellensburg Rodeo Hall of Fame[10] in 2008 for his support.[8]

Bibliography[edit | edit source]

Anderson wrote two books about his life in the restaurant business. The second, Corporate Cowboy Stuart Anderson: How a Maverick Entrepreneur Built Black Angus, America’s #1 Restaurant Chain of the 1980s, was written in 2014 shortly before his death.[11]

  • Anderson, Stuart (1997). Here’s the Beef! My Story of Beef. Seattle, Washington: Hara. ISBN 1883697948. 
  • Anderson, Stuart (2014). Corporate Cowboy Stuart Anderson: How a Maverick Entrepreneur Built Black Angus, America’s #1 Restaurant Chain of the 1980s. San Bernadino, California: Stuart Anderson. ISBN 0692200630. 

Personal life[edit | edit source]

Anderson was married to Helen Anderson, née Fisher, from North Dakota.[12]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Mike Seely (April 26, 2011). "Stuart Anderson's Filthy Rich Seattle Roots". Seattle Weekly. http://archive.seattleweekly.com/2011-04-27/food/bottomfeeder-stuart-anderson-s-filthy-rich-seattle-roots/. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Peter Romeo (June 9, 2016). "STEAKHOUSE PIONEER STUART ANDERSON DIES AT AGE 93". Restaurant Business. http://www.restaurantbusinessonline.com/news/steakhouse-pioneer-stuart-anderson-dies-age-93. 
  3. Tu, Janet I. (June 9, 2016). "Stuart Anderson remembered as 'a legend' in Northwest restaurant industry". http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/obituaries/stuart-anderson-a-legend-in-northwest-restaurant-industry/. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 "Stuart Anderson, Founder of Black Angus Steakhouse, Dies at 93". June 9, 2016. https://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/10/business/stuart-anderson-founder-of-black-angus-steakhouse-dies-at-93.html. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 Tamara Damante (April 19, 2012). "Black Angus Founder Closes Desert Restaurant: Stuart Anderson gives retirement another try, at 89". KESQ. http://www.kesq.com/Black-Angus-Founder-Closes-Desert-Restaurant/11690050. 
  6. Bernstein, Charles (1981). "Great Restaurant Innovators: Profiles in Success". Lebhar-Friedman Books. ISBN 9780867302394. https://books.google.com/books?redir_esc=y&id=Mt5XAAAAYAAJ. 
  7. Humphrey, Clark (2006). "Vanishing Seattle". Arcadia. ISBN 9780738548692. https://books.google.com/books?id=gz45oqzIJI4C&pg=PA51. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Stuart Anderson left a lasting legacy in Ellensburg". Ellensburg, Washington. June 9, 2016. http://www.dailyrecordnews.com/members/stuart-anderson-left-a-lasting-legacy-in-ellensburg/article_7b385962-2e61-11e6-9baf-af8e7d4a637b.html. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 "Steakhouse chain founder Stuart Anderson dies". Riverside, California: Inland Empire News Radio. June 15, 2016. http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/story.php?s=42511. 
  10. "Stuart Anderson | Ellensburg Rodeo Hall of Fame" (in en-US). http://erhof.com/inductees/stuart-anderson/. 
  11. Mike Flynn (April 5, 2014). "Stuart Anderson reflects on steakhouse business". Palm Springs, California. http://www.desertsun.com/story/life/entertainment/2014/04/05/stuart-anderson-steakhouse-business/7369307/. 
  12. "Joan O'Connor obituary". January 22, 2009. http://www.minotdailynews.com/page/content.detail/id/523438.html. 

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