Raising the bar

A revamp polishes a classic Phoenix steakhouse

Steakhouse exterior

Michael Norton

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They shined the heavy copper doors, took out a few walls, and rearranged the historic photographs of Arizona cattlemen, but the new owners of the Stockyards Restaurant knew better than to mess with this beloved Phoenix eatery's retro ambiance and beef-centric menu.

Tom Lentz, JB Grantham, and Mark Wagner ― busboys here during college ― spent nearly a year giving the Stockyards, which reopened in spring, a gentle facelift. Founded in 1947 to serve cattlemen doing business at nearby feedlots, it still features prime rib, steaks, and ribs, but chef Spencer Haney freshened the menu with choices such as citrus-chile-glazed salmon.

For the total Stockyards experience, eat in the saloon, with its massive mahogany back bar, chandeliers, and tobacco-hued murals; ask about the calf fries.

INFO: The Stockyards Restaurant ($$$$; lunch Mon- Fri, dinner daily; 5009 E. Washington St., Phoenix; www.stockyardsrestaurant. com or 602/273-7378)

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