Gilbert's Steak House - Jackson MI

Address: 2323 Shirley Dr
City: Jackson
State: MI
Zip: 49202
County: Jackson
Number of visits to this page: 1849

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General Information:

This place is now closed but the building was standing as of a few years back. The restaurant closed in 2006.

From MLive 2019

They're a staple of many a favorite Jackson meal eaten through the ages at places like the Brown Hut and Viking Steak House.

But, with its additional perks of Tiffany-style lamps, unique artwork, hot-fudge sundaes and a Sunday buffet with mounds of cold shrimp, Jackson's Gilbert's Steak House stood out to many as the go-to place for this meal for nearly 60 years.

"For entertaining anyone from visiting firemen to visiting aunt, you can't go wrong at Gilbert's," Citizen Patriot reporter Ed Hayman wrote in the "Dining Out" column in 1978. "Gilbert's is as dependable and, to most Jacksonians, as familiar as grandma's cooking and as comfortable as a favorite old sweater."

Gilbert's Steak House, 2323 Shirley Drive, started out as Gardner's Steak House, an eatery opened in 1946 by Keith and Dorothy Gardner at what then was 2323 Clinton Road.

In 1955, the Gardners' log-cabin restaurant caught the eye of the famous Jackson candy company created by John O. Gilbert. Gi

About a year after the 1960 deaths of John and Russell Gilbert, the company sold the restaurant to a group of investors that included Arthur Poole, president of Western Stamping Co., and Jackson restaurateur Bill Cones.

Cones, who's also noted for starting Jackson's popular W.C.'s restaurant, bought his partners out three years later. He created Gilbert's reputation for fine dining and expanded the restaurant's regional appeal to pull in visitors from miles away.

Of all the restaurants Cones opened, it's been said Gilbert's was his heart and soul. The decor was rich and dark, the menu was huge and Cones filled the place with Tiffany-style lamps and other antiques.

Every table of diners was offered a basket of garlic toast, sesame bread sticks and a dish of whipped cheese with a hint of horseradish. And, when Cones was at Gilbert's, he warmly greeted people at the door with a smile and a story.lbert's son Russell, who was in charge of the John O. Gilbert Chocolate Co. then, purchased the business and the name was changed to Gilbert's Steak House.

Gilbert's grew under Cones' ownership. In 1976, three new rooms, including a new cocktail lounge and dining room, brought seating capacity to more than 250. Engagements, anniversaries and retirements were celebrated there. Business deals were cut there and family dinners and civic-club luncheons served there.

Nightly entertainment and dancing also were added.

In 1980, as he was winding down his career, Cones sold Gilbert's to Roy Brown, a restaurant real estate specialist; Brown's son Tim; and Vince Veltman, a longtime Detroit-area restaurant owner. Tim Brown became the manager.

In 1995, after the death of Veltman and Roy Brown, Tim Brown, his brother Richard, sister Diana Young and Veltman's widow Susan became owners.

After 57 years in business, Tim Brown closed Gilbert's on Oct. 11, 2003, because of declining sales. It was purchased by DMA Food Group of Kalamazoo, which spent more than $1 million to remodel the building.

The Tiffany-style lamps remained, but more windows and brighter lighting replaced the dark atmosphere when Gilbert's reopened just before Christmas 2004.

Blaming the economy and that too many people came to the restaurant only for birthdays and anniversaries, DMA Food Group closed Gilbert's in 2006.

Info Updates:
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Gilberts Steak House - Old Postcard Photo
Old Postcard Photo
Gilberts Steak House - Old Postcard Photo
Old Postcard Photo
Gilberts Steak House - From Mlive
From Mlive
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