Shula's Steak House

By Cathy Kiley

Anyone who knows anything about football recognizes that Don Shula remains one of the most successful and beloved coaches in NFL history. After taking the Baltimore Colts to the 1968 Super Bowl, Shula not only brought the Miami Dolphins to five Super Bowls in his career; but to this day, he remains the only coach ever to lead an NFL team to a perfect 17-0 winning season (including Super Bowl VII) in 1972. After retiring from coaching, Shula went on to open his first steak house in Miami Lakes, Florida, in 1989. In his desire to bring the best possible meats to his steak house, he partnered with the Graham Angus Farm of Albany, Georgia. Graham Farm has long been recognized as one of the top Angus farms in the country. In 1994, Don Shula and his son Dave co-founded Shula’s Steak Houses, LLLP and the rest, as they say, is history.

Today, there are 30 Shula’s Steak Houses throughout the United States.  Now in its third year, Shula’s location at The Promenade Shops in Saucon Valley is the only free-standing Shula’s throughout the country, all others being in hotels.

Shula’s was packed last month when Tom and I visited. I wondered if this was due to curiosity about the man himself, or the quality of the dining experience to be had.  I quickly found out that it was a combination of both.

We started our night in the bar where Tim expertly prepared our drinks.  He and Scheryl professionally worked the bar with a touch of humor that was shared with everyone there. The ambiance at Shula’s bar is  attractive—softly lit with highly polished wood floors, black café tables, and leather-covered seats accenting the ebony colored bar.   It was obvious that many at the bar were relaxing following a busy day shopping at the adjacent stores or were fresh from a nearby movie.

We were shown to a circular, leather banquette in the dining room by restaurant manager and “Head Coach” Scott Craver.  Tom and I both admired the décor of this room—minimalist accents, muted lighting and extraordinary cleanliness. The ambiance of the dining room is comfortably formal, with booths and tables to accommodate parties of all sizes, all covered in white linens. The acoustics are marvelous at muffling busy conversations.

The tasteful photographic theme of Shula’s dining room is the 1972 “winning season” and those famed memories adorn the walls. We were introduced to Jackie and Tammy who would be our servers for the evening. Jackie explained Shula’s menu, showed us the evening’s steak selections tableside and provided us with background information on Shula’s cattle-producing partnership, their expertise in the cattle growing industry, and the high standards by which they select their cuts of meat. Our waitress was obviously well-trained in presenting Shula’s “product” and we allowed her to complete her total presentation before asking questions about specials and other items on the menu. Head Chef Edward Stratton leads the kitchen staff and has been at Shula’s since its opening.

Tom and I love calamari so we shared an appetizer of Calamari “Fries.” They were delicious—cut in strips instead of rounds, fried with Tempura breading and served with mustard aoli and tomato coulis.  The calamari was not at all greasy and, together with its accompaniments, extremely tasty and a perfect starter.

While waiting for our main courses to arrive we munched on excellent, hot sourdough bread and sipped Estancia Pinot Noir chosen from Shula’s award-winning international wine list. There are seven other appetizers in addition to the calamari including BBQ Shrimp, Lobster Cocktail, Oysters, and Lump Crab Cakes.  Four salad choices are on the menu as well.

Eight cuts of Shula Cut® Black Angus Steaks are offered including 8 and 12 oz. Filet Mignon, New York Strip Steaks, Kansas City Steaks and 24 and 48 oz. Porterhouse Steaks. Other menu selections include Boneless Prime Rib, Florida Red Snapper, Mahi Mahi, Crab Cakes, Loin Lamb Chops, Chicken Breast and Twin Lobster Tails.

I chose the Loin Lamb Chops as my entrée, which were tender and delicious, perfectly done to medium as requested. Tom’s 16 oz. New York Strip was ordered rare but arrived more medium than rare. When Tom voiced his concern to our waitress, she examined the steak and explained that the New York Strip was done perfectly according to Shula’s cooking standards.  I seldom order red meat so, for me, there is nothing better than when it is prepared well. An excellent steak or chop is a product of what the animal has been fed and how it had been treated while being raised. With both of our selections, Shula’s standards in the quality of their meats were obvious. It is easy to understand why Shula Cutt® Black Angus Steaks are considered among the best steaks money can buy.

And, don’t forget about the side dishes! Tom and I ordered sides of sautéed spinach and hash brown potatoes that perfectly accompanied our entrees. Other available sides include Grilled Onions, Double Baked Potatoes, Steak Fries and Sautéed Mushrooms, to name a few.

After dinner we both enjoyed freshly brewed coffee and desserts. Tom ordered a fabulous Mango Sorbet served in an edible glazed almond crusty “basket.” Tom savored every bite of his refreshing and light treat.  I picked out my dessert before I sat to dinner, The Seven-Layer Cake served with fresh berries, whipped cream and raspberry sauce, which was outrageously delicious.

Our meal at Shula’s was enjoyable on every level, and because the portions were  large, much of it went home with us. Stop in after shopping, enjoy a drink and share an appetizer or two with a friend at their lively bar.  Also, because their portions are huge, order a couple of sides and share the 24 oz. Porterhouse or Surf and Turf and enjoy Shula’s dining room ambiance. Create a meal to suit your pocketbook from their diverse menu and choose a glass of wine or specialty drink from their extensive listing. You will be well-fed in a pleasing environment with friendly patrons and even friendlier employees.

Real steak lovers should inquire about the infamous Shula’s 48 oz. Club. Finish a 48 oz. Shula Cutt® Porterhouse Steak and join over 36,000 other steak lovers who have been recognized for finishing this man-sized portion. The notoriety of this feat will surely stay with you!

The staff at Shula’s runs like a finely-tuned machine and it is obvious in every facet of the restaurant. I especially admire the cleanliness of the facility—right down to the immaculate ladies room and spotlessly shiny wood floors.  With a restaurant as busy as Shula’s, it is impressive that they go the extra yard to accomplish this goal.

Shula’s is open for dinner Sunday to Thursday from 4:00 to 10:00 PM. Friday and Saturday from 4:00 to 11:00 PM. Lunch is served Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM.  Reservations are strongly recommended.  Call 610-841-5600 or log onto for menu and other information.

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