Steakhouse to open Dec. 18


John See, left, owner, and Shawn Ullom, chef, are ready to welcome diners to the Cordell Steakhouse at 333 E. 4th St. when it opens Dec. 18. The two spent months transforming the former Heritage Inn into a “classic steakhouse” with seating for 150, including a 24-seat bar. The two are 2005 Salem High School graduates with extensive restaurant experience. See spent years at his parent’s Sunny’s Chinese Restaurant in Salem and Ullom, the son of Mary Ann Mason, was the head chef at Mason’s Steak House, owned by his mother. (Salem News photo by Larry Shields)

The new Cordell Steakhouse will open Dec. 18, owner John See said Wednesday.

The restaurant is located at 333 W. 4th St., the former home to the Heritage Inn.

See, along with classmate and fellow 2005 Salem High School graduate, Shawn Ullom, decided to combine restaurant experience and acumen to bring Salem casual, family oriented dining enjoyment in a classic steak house.

“That’s what we want to provide people in Salem with,” said See, whose experience in dining is associated with Sunny’s Chinese Restaurant in Salem, while Ullom’s mother, Mary Ann Mason, owned Mason’s Steak House just east of Salem for years.

Ullom was the chef at Mason’s for 11 years.

After high school See lived in Hong Kong but returned to Salem with a idea of opening a restaurant.

“I was looking for something with 1,000 to 2,000 square feet. Something small … and found this place and said, ‘wow this is big.’ So we knew we had to go bigger.”

He explained, “I came into this knowing Shawn was in the business a long time. Having Shawn stick with me … this wasn’t easy.”

Ullom said, “This was not a turnkey operation, there are rules, requirements and we would have loved to have opened last February.”

See noted, “My parents ran the Sunny Chinese Restaurant for 10 years, so we thought we’d give Salem a steakhouse.”

But there was 4,000 square feet of indoor space that need renovation before they could even think of the 3,000 square foot outdoor deck in the back. That will come later, they said.

The indoor renovations saw the “a lot of kitchen updating,” a new cherry-red, floating vinyl floor installed in the dining room along with all-new tables and chairs, while a small punch list of decorative repairs was topped off with a fresh coat of paint.

The Cordelll Steakhouse will seat 150 guests and that includes 24 at the bar. There are four large televisions and casual, family-dining music is constantly playing.

“It’s not too fancy,” See said.

The two-page menu spotlights a variety of steaks from regular strips to ribeye, porterhouse, filet mignon and every Firday and Saturday it features “fresh roasted prime rib.”

Chicken, grilled pork, grilled salmon and some pasta dishes are also on the menu and Ullom pointed out, “there is also liver and onions as well … sometimes people have a hard time finding that.”

For Ullom, the magic is in serving the customer’s taste.

“People know the difference between a good steak and a great steak,” he said and See added, “to me a steak stands on its own, and we have our own marinade and seasoning.”

Ask Ullom about an American steak.

“If it’s a good meat, it’s going to be a great steak,” he said, adding that whatever the customer wants is what goes.

“I’m here to serve people … it all comes down to reasonable requests,” he said adding “there aren’t many options for sit-down dining.

“I’m anticipating being busy from the beginning because Salem likes new places.”

The Cordell Steakhouse is looking for servers, over 18-years of age, and dishwashers, who can be high school age. They expect to employ 10 people.

The Cordell Steakhouse will serve mixed drinks, American bottled beer along with selections from a limited wine menu.

The restaurant is also available for large parties by advance request.

Hours are Monday to Thursday from 3 to 10 p.m. and from 11:30 a.m to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, closed Sunday.

For dining and employment information, call 234-575-0226. The Facebook page is under construction.