This year Susie’s Branding Iron reaches the good old age of 30 years! What are the ingredients for a restaurant’s success and long life? In this very popular Moab establishment, tasty home-cooked cowboy cuisine and real hospitality are right at the top of the list.
Always a family-run outfit, the restaurant came into being in 1989, when Karl Tangren set up two double-wide trailers on the corner lot of Highway 191 and Spanish Trail Road and opened for business. Moab’s uranium days were over by this time, and serious four-wheel driving was bringing more and more folks to Moab. The mountain bike craze which began in the early 1980s was expanding quickly. Tourists were also being attracted to the area in increasing numbers by the cowboy movies filmed among Moab’s now famous red rocks. Good time to start a restaurant!
Karl not only named his restaurant the “Branding Iron,” but he burned the Tangren brand right into its bar. So lively and successful was his venture that in only its eighth month of existence it was sold to a visiting guest from Salt Lake! She had such a fine time there one weekend that she offered Karl double what he had in it, and it became hers for the next four years.
In 1994 the Branding Iron was sold back to the Tangren family, now to Karl’s daughter Susie Taylor. Over the next ten years, Susie established a solid business that catered to locals and tourists alike. Around 2004, a new owner took over. The trailers burned to the ground about two years later, and the restaurant’s current building was constructed. In 2012, Susie resumed ownership and gave the business a slightly expanded name, Susie’s Branding Iron.
Three years ago the McKenzie family became the owners of Susie’s Branding Iron. Their philosophy: if it works—don’t change it. The local clientele is as welcome now as ever. The menu established by Susie, hearty cowboy comfort food, remains the same, and folks love it that way. Country fried steak is probably the most popular entree. Baker Karen Green, a senior who lives 30 minutes to the southeast in La Sal, comes in early mornings three days a week and bakes the same delicious pies that she baked for Susie, pies that out-of-town customers request on every return visit.
The decor is authentic ranch. Real antiques—cowhides, clocks, cowboy hats, a surprising brass horn, old wooden toys, a tractor seat, lots of “Texas” stars, and a beautiful pair of brocade heels (in the ladies’ room), are among the eye-catching treasures that line the walls. New tables and chairs blend in smoothly with the establishment’s cowboy theme. Nothing is overdone. Strings of colored lights add a festive touch, and soft country music in the background makes for easy conversation and relaxation.
Looking for a satisfying taste of the West? Susie’s Branding Iron is the answer. Come on in with a birthday greeting, and experience this Moab classic for yourself!
Open year round, Tuesday through Sunday, 11:30 am to close. 2971 South Highway 191, just 3 minutes south of Moab. 435-259-6275; www.susiesbrandingiron.com