Goodbye to a great dive: A 1960s cowboy steakhouse closes near Fort Worth Stockyards

The M & M Steak House, an old-time dive known for cold beer and 2-pound steaks laced with garlic, is officially closed and for rent, owner Keith Kidwill said this week.

The M & M, a landmark for Stockyards visitors since 1965 at 1109 N.W. 28th St., had not reopened since the early 2020 onset of the pandemic.

But Kidwill held out hope to reopen the tiny, dimly lit West Texas-style cowboy steakhouse with its jukebox loaded with 1950s country songs and cinder-block walls covered in neon beer signs and taxidermy.

“We’re best known for being a dive,” Kidwill said this week.

In a 1995 Star-Telegram review, he said: “We ain’t no tourist place. Nobody stops here unless you know us or somebody sent you.”

A 2-pound sirloin dinner at the M & M Steak House Aug. 5, 2008.
A 2-pound sirloin dinner at the M & M Steak House Aug. 5, 2008.

The restaurant was originally a Czech-style steakhouse, Papa Joe’s.

In 1965, restaurateur Joe Hubenak opened the steakhouse featuring cowboy-sized sirloins laced with garlic, calf fries and frog legs.

After Hubenak’s passing in 1976, restaurateurs Mike Mabry of Mike’s Diner in Haltom City and Marie New of Marie’s Diner downtown partnered up to rename the steakhouse “M & M.”

Kidwill is known mainly as a West Exchange Avenue investor. Some of his properties were recently used in 6666 Ranch owner Taylor Sheridan’s TV series “1883,” a prequel to “Yellowstone.”

M&M Steak House owner Keith Kidwill serves up a 2-pound sirloin with baked potato, salad, and a cold beer Aug. 5, 2008.
M&M Steak House owner Keith Kidwill serves up a 2-pound sirloin with baked potato, salad, and a cold beer Aug. 5, 2008.

Kidwill, 63, started at the M & M and bought it when he was 17, he said.

“I was as dumb as you can get and had no idea about running a restaurant,” he said.

The location on the outskirts of the Stockyards is still good for a small steakhouse, he said.

“It’s just time for me to stop running two restaurants,” he said.

The M & M Steak House in Fort Worth as seen June 27, 2019.
The M & M Steak House in Fort Worth as seen June 27, 2019.

He also owns the even older Margie’s Original Italian Kitchen, 9805 Camp Bowie Blvd. West.

In a 2008 review of the M & M, the Star-Telegram wrote: “If you’re not picky about the decor, or the atmosphere, or the side dishes, the M & M is a great place for steak.”

The “dusty old cafe feels like the setting for a western,” the reviewer wrote.

A ribeye steak at M & M Steak House Jan. 14, 2011.
A ribeye steak at M & M Steak House Jan. 14, 2011.

The review touted the hamburger steak, a pound of chopped sirloin loaded with garlic and grilled onions.

Even the chicken-fried steaks were battered with extra garlic.

The only side dishes were baked potatoes or fries, plus an iceberg lettuce salad with ranch dressing.

The M & M took a jolt in 2003, when a driver crashed a Honda Accord into the west wall at 3 a.m. one night.

Stuffed animal heads and neon beer signs were sent flying. The original jukebox was crushed, along with 45-rpm country singles by Willie Nelson, Patsy Cline and Hank Thompson from the 1950s and ’60s.

The M & M remodeled and replaced the jukebox and updated the restrooms.

Commenters on Yelp.com described it as “a taste of real and classic DFW” and “the perfect hole in the wall.”

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