Zentner's Daughter Closing Steak House Marking the End of an Era


SAN ANGELO, TX – Betty Zentner teared up sitting in the booth near the front door of the legendary restaurant on Knickerbocker Rd. as she told me she was closing the iconic San Angelo fixture at the end of the year. 

There has been a Zentner running a steak house for almost 100 years in the San Angelo area and Dec. 31 will mark the end of an era.  

Betty Zentner opened the restaurant in 1974 at 1901 Knickerbocker Rd. after her father agreed to make sure the Zentner legend would continue.  John Zentner was there to make sure the same great steaks and hospitality were there for patrons. 

Betty Zentner's eyes lit up while she talked about her father and the many restaurants he started including the Lowake Inn in 1946.  Betty said John moved his family several times to open new restaurants in Lowake, Rowena, Del Rio, Buffalo Gap and Midkiff. 

Betty Zentner said she was in college at Angelo State University when George Alexander, who owns the Stadium Park Shopping Center where Zentner's Daughter is located, asked her to open a restaurant.  She said her father was against it at first until he actually walked into the building.  "He fell in love with the coolers and the fixtures." Zentner said.  John Zentner was in his 70s at the time and became a fixture in the restaurant where he would set by the front door and hand out apples.  

Betty Zentner told a story about one of her customers.  "I'll never forget.  I had the restaurant in Abilene at the time and dad was setting there in San Angelo.  He handed an apple to the customer who said he was going to Abilene in the morning.  John Zentner told the customer he would be at the restaurant in Abilene and hand him a banana so he could make a fruit salad."  She laughed.  The customer actually went to the Abilene location and asked Betty where her dad was.  

The Zentners had John Zentner's Steak House on Sherwood Way where the Boat restaurant was until it closed recently. 

In 1999 a fire heavily damaged the restaurant. "The fire was 20 years ago yesterday (Tuesday)."  Zentner said.  

Zentner's Daughter Steak House will close it's doors for good on Dec. 31, 2019. 

Betty Zentner said the location will reopen after it is remodeled under new ownership.  "I wanted to retire the name (Zentner) with me.  That was my decision."  Zentner said.  

Zentner said it was hard to say good bye to her customers, many of whom became friends.  Several local civic organizations have historically held meetings there including the Kiwanas Club, the Lions Clubs, the Tom Green County Bar Association and the San Angelo Pachyderm club.  

The new owners will be announced at a later date.  




Hopefully the new owners will try something new like sending food out of the kitchen worth eating when they take over......

Wow. Apparently, you're completely made of ass, unlike previous expectations of just 'mostly.'

Some years ago some work amigos and I were having lunch at ZD's. An out-of-town family, which included a teen-aged boy, wandered in and was seated at a table adjacent to ours. The boy promptly ordered two hamburgers. We thought this was going to be interesting.

The waitress attending this family blinked and said, "Young man, please understand. Our hamburgers are pretty big."

The kid bowed up and insisted on ordering two burgers. The waitress again recommended he reconsider his request. At this point the father said, rather rudely, "Bring my boy what he asked for!"

Okay, fine, turkey (as she clearly thought but didn't say).

The kid's eyes bugged out when the waitress lugged out two tribe-sized burgers and enough fries to feed a platoon of starving Marines after a week of doing exercises. He struggled to finish one of the burgers and about half of that burger's fries, and didn't touch the rest of the meal he demanded. The family paid out, hopefully leaving a big tip for the waitress, and left rather meekly.

My amigos and I found the whole experience richly amusing.

The food was so good, but the last 10 years it has not been good.

Z Z, Wed, 12/11/2019 - 21:25

We ate there many times over almost 4 lustrous. The food was always good and staff was courteous and friendly with smiles. I will miss their steak, fries, n onion blooms.

Hope Betty enjoys her retirement. Also hope who takes over can provide good beef at a decent price.

The onion ring bale was to die for. Sad to see a San Angelo landmark leaving, but Godspeed to Ms. Zentner. I always considered Zentner's to be a reflection of old San Angelo class, something lacking in today's local eateries.

Just because a place has been open for that long DOES NOT make it good. Yes the staff was nice but the food is horrible! I don't think the fry oil has been changed since the day they opened.
I hope they put another chicken restaurant there to round out Chickenbocker.

Z Z, Thu, 12/12/2019 - 18:52

Words can’t replace a lifetime of dedication and uh

We can all come up with something cheesy to say. But regardless, what matters most is depending on you. As far as I am concerned, offer great compliments and blessings.


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