Through 67 years in business, five different locations and thousands of satisfied customer, three things have remained steadfast at Duke's Steakhouse - quality food at reasonable prices, a dedicated and friendly staff and a family atmosphere unrivaled in central West Virginia.
Those qualities - and many more - were on display Saturday as the famed Elkins eatery celebrated its 67th anniversary with a special day of throwback prices and a bevy of prizes for its faithful customers.
From noon to 2 p.m., prices for the steakhouse's signature sandwiches - the Sam Foster and the Jeannie and Pap - were rolled back to 1977, selling for just 85 and 95 cents respectively. In addition, Duke's signature homemade French fries sold for a mere 75 cents during the two-hour celebration.
The staff at Duke’s Steakhouse gathers outside the restaurant Saturday. The famed Randolph County eatery celebrated its 67th anniversary with a day full of special deals, giveaways and food. (The Inter-Mountain photo by Matthew Burdette)
Duke’s Delmonico streak — a hand-cut ribeye — is one of several signature dishes on the streakhouse’s menu. (The Inter-Mountain photo by Matthew Burdette)
"I just wanted to give back to our customers," said Duke's General Manager D.K. Golden. "Back in 1977 was when Connie and Dave Caudy took over the business."
The steakhouse was opened in 1946 by Pap and Jeannie McDaniel. Over the next 67 years, the restaurant changed locations five times, most recently in 2012. Duke's current location is on the Beverly Five-Lane in Elkins.
"We are a full-service, family, sit-down restaurant," Connie Caudy said. "If you come into Duke's, you are going to know someone."
That family atmosphere is what keeps customer coming to the steakhouse again and again. That's evident after a brief glance around the eatery. The walls are covered with photos of customers and Golden says new clientele keeps flowing into the restaurant.
"I've always taken photos," Goldens said.
I keep adding as we go. Some of my customers are here all the time. Duke's is really a special place."
What really makes the restaurant special is its litany of quality fare. Customer favorites include the trio of signature sandwiches offered at Saturday's celebration, its French fires and, of course, steak. The staff at Duke's hand cuts each steak and cooks them to order.
The No. 1 steak seller is the Delmonico - a healthy ribeye chocked full of flavor.
Other top sellers includes Duke's filet mignon and their special salmon entree, prepared with ginger spices.
"Duke's is an icon here in Randolph County," Golden said. "I started here in 1987. I've been here 26 years. I hope to continue with the business another 67 years and maybe continue it with my family. I've made a lot of friends here. It's more than just a restaurant. This is my family."
That family atmosphere extends to many of the restaurant's staff, as Golden points our that several employees have 20-plus years of service in at the famed eatery.
"We are just like a close little family gang," Golden added.
Duke's Steakhouse is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The restaurant is closed on Sunday. Patrons can order both lunch and dinner all day. The eatery also offers several specials throughout the week, including liver and onions on Tuesday and crab cakes or stuffed shrimp on Wednesday. Once a month, Golden even prepares prime rib as a special treat.
In addition to its extensive in-house menu, Duke's also offers catering services. Customers can build a menu of their liking and either hold events in the restaurant's banquet room - which seats 60 to 65 people - or have their gathering catered off site.
"We have good food and a good atmosphere," Golden said. "What more can you ask for?
"If you come into Duke's, you're never going to leave hungry," Golden added. "We don't just do a dab. You're going to get some fries. If you don't get enough, ask for some more, and we'll give them to you. This is just a great place to be."
- Executive Editor Matthew Burdette can be reached at 304-636-2121, ext. 120 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.