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Steak your claim at the Timbermine in Ogden

By Valerie Phillips - Special to the Standard-Examiner | Dec 14, 2022
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Mike Hill, Karen Hill, Julie Roylance, Linda Tanner and Brenda Crossley run the Timbermine Steakhouse together.
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A Prospector (ribeye) steak and deep-fried shrimp at Timbermine Steakhouse.
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Old ore cars greet guests at the Timbermine Steakhouse entrance.
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Prime rib is a top-seller at Timbermine Steakhouse.
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Deep-fried mushrooms are the most popular appetizer at Timbermine Steakhouse.

The Timbermine's owners -- Karen Hill, Brenda Crossley and Carl Jorgensen -- credit their 37-year success to juicy steaks, loyal customers and hard-working staffers. But credit can also go to family members all working together over the years.

"All my children have worked here," said Karen Hill, who founded the restaurant with her late husband, Dean, along with partners Carl and Pat Jorgensen. "On Saturdays, I have my granddaughters and even my granddaughters' husbands here waiting tables."

Crossley's daughters work in the office and cook alongside their dad on the weekends.

Dean Hill passed away in 2011. Over the years, more of the operational reins have been turned over to the next generation: son Mike Hill, daughters Julie Roylance and Linda Tanner, and Crossley, who is Carl Jorgensen's daughter.

"We all make the decisions together," Roylance said. "In a family business, you become a hard worker. Because when it's your own place, you take pride in it."

Ogden has changed a lot since 1985, but time seems to stand still at the Timbermine.

In the parking lot, you're greeted with rusted mining equipment and ore cars. Inside, you could call the decor weird and wonderful Wild West: old claw-foot bathtubs, an antique sewing machine, wood-burning stoves, Victrola record players, a wringer-washing machine, vintage flour and sugar bags, old license plates, a curio cabinet crammed with hundreds of dolls and figurines, mannequins and a mounted elk head on the fireplace (wearing a Santa hat on its antlers this time of year).

"Karen had a vision of what she wanted, and my dad and Dean (Hill) would go out and find all kinds of antiques and decor," Crossley said.

The dining booths have a mine-shaft ambiance, with rough-hewn wood dividers creating a feeling of privacy from neighboring tables.

The simple menu of steaks, seafood and a chicken entree hasn't changed much either -- although a ribeye steak was added several years ago, Crossley said.

At least 80% of their customers order steaks or prime rib, said Mike Hill. The beef is USDA Choice "or higher," he said. "And we age our own meat here."

The menu is liberally sprinkled with mining terms. For instance, the Gold Rush is a filet mignon wrapped in bacon. The Prospector is a ribeye. The Gold Pan is a plate of shrimp, either deep-fried or scampi. A Double Strike is a steak and seafood combo of shrimp, lobster or crab.

Prime rib is the top-selling entree. It requires a long, slow cooking time and sometimes sells out.

"We cook so much of it daily, and we try to plan for busy nights, but sometimes we run out," Mike Hill said. "We can go back and cut more steaks, but we can't get more prime rib."

(Word to the wise: To be sure of getting prime rib, come early in the evening.)

Most of the steaks come in a choice of portion sizes. For instance, the Prospector comes in either 10- or 16-ounce sizes. Prime rib comes in 10-, 16- or 24-ounce portions.

All entrees come with a green salad, French bread and a choice of baked potato, fries or steamed broccoli.

Consistent, friendly service is an important factor.

"A lot of people keep coming back because we've had the same servers for years, and they like the staff and the service," Roylance said. "We have very low turnover. Some of the servers started when they were 16 and now are in their 40s and 50s."

Karen Hill has seen romance blossom among employees, with "eight or nine" couples who met and married each other while working at the restaurant, "and now their kids work here."

Mike Hill said some young staffers who worked there during high school and college went on to become doctors, dentists and airline pilots.

"Our employees are what makes the Timbermine," Mike Hill said. "We couldn't do it without them."

Before the Timbermine, the Hills ran the Pioneer Café in downtown Ogden. With a partner, Neil Rasmussen, they also opened the Prairie Schooner, which moved to its present location in 1978. After Rasmussen passed away, the Prairie Schooner was sold and the Hills left and founded the Timbermine in 1985 with Carl and Pat Jorgensen, who farm in Grace, Idaho.

"We started out with just two dining rooms," Karen Hill said. "But we realized we needed to have space for larger groups."

Adding banquet rooms enabled them to cater company parties, weddings, class reunions and other events. Especially during the holiday season, the rooms are in high demand and booked well in advance.

The largest room, known as the Copper Queen, can seat up to 330, "and it's so pretty," said Karen Hill. "You can see the mountains from the windows. Christmas is such a fun time to come, because we have everything decorated for the holidays."


IF YOU GO

Timbermine Steakhouse

Location: 1701 Park Blvd., Ogden

Contact: 801-393-2155

Hours: 4:30-8:30 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday; 4:30-9 p.m. Friday and Saturday

Price range: Average entree prices, $25-28.

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