Whether you like your steak well done or medium rare, this Cowtown could offer a fine dining experience “where the steak is born”.
The Golden Ox, located on the first floor of the Kansas City Livestock Exchange Building, opened in 1949, just down the block from the stockyards, where cattle arrived and waited for their next trip to the meat processing plant.
The stockyards covered 260 acres and housed not just cattle, but sheep, horses, hogs, and mules. Farmers and ranchers in Kansas City for business turned out to be built-in customers for the new cut of meat named the “Kansas City Strip” steak offered at the Golden Ox.
Kansas City Stockyard President Jay Dillingham founded the restaurant and brought in restauranteur Ralph Gaines from Chicago to handle the day-to-day operations. Gaines later opened his own steak house and his Gaine’s Colony Steakhouse and Lobster Pot restaurant operated in Kansas City for many years afterward.
Just like the stockyards, the restaurant was besieged by the Great Flood of 1951, but reopened and even expanded. Dillingham opened Golden Ox locations in Denver, Washington D.C. and Nashville but the Kansas City location stayed opened as each of those eventually closed. The unique decor featured light fixtures and carpeting adorned with cattle brands, and golden steer heads.
The restaurant, faced with changes in dining habits, closed its iconic doors in December 2014. New owners divided the restaurant space and currently three new businesses occupy the location at 1600 Genessee: Stockyards Brewing, The Ox Cafe & Bakery, and an updated version of the Golden Ox.
The steak marker’s opposite side reads ” I have been to the Golden Ox in the K.C. Stock Yards” and is one of many mementos diners could take home to remember their dining experience. The stock yards ceased operations in October 1991.