After 40 years on Putney Road, Steak Out closes abruptly

BRATTLEBORO — The long list of restaurants in town which have gone defunct in recent years just got a bit longer.

The Steak Out, which has operated on Putney Road since 1972, closed abruptly on Sunday.

The restaurant was well-known in the area for its soup and salad bar, as well as an all-you-can-eat dessert bar. The French onion soup, prime rib, and the big bowls of all-you-can-eat shrimp were among its signature dishes.

Owner Sean Henry, who bought the steakhouse from his father, Mike, four years ago, blames a sluggish economy and increased competition for the closure.

In a message posted on Facebook on Monday night, Sean Henry wrote that the ultimate decision “all came down to money. The bills and debt just kept piling up."

Henry's purchase of the Steak Out came right at the time that the nearby 99 Restaurant opened for business and the global economic collapse struck. He said sales dropped 40 percent since he bought the restaurant.

“It became too hard to compete with a chain located right in front of the Steak Out getting all the people off the highway we used to get,” he wrote. “We were so tucked back and hidden, which made it even more difficult to reach those customers.”

“If the 99 was not there, we would still be doing just fine,” Henry wrote.

For the past two years, he wrote, “nearly every month I was faced with the decision of whether I should close or stay open. I chose to try and stick [with] it again and again.”

“There were at least four times over the last two years that I told my parents I would be closing, but somehow made it through.”

But he admitted that juggling the finances only postponed the inevitable.

“It just got to the point where I could not push my bills back any further and I didn't want to keep borrowing money making the situation worse,” he wrote. “I had to make the difficult decision to close and, this time, actually do it.”

Telling his staff was the hardest part, he wrote, and not being able to tell them until the last minute only made it harder.

“If I could have told them earlier, I would have, but things would have got very complicated or, heck, I might have stayed open like the last four times I thought about closing,” Henry explained.

Sean wrote that he hopes his former patrons support the other local restaurants in Brattleboro.

“They definitely need the support of all the great Steak Out customers during these difficult times,” he wrote.

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