LongHorn Steakhouse Vs Texas Roadhouse: Which Is Better?

Though the once-mighty steakhouse has declined in popularity over the years in the United States, a few remaining chains are still going strong. Depending on where you live, you are likely not too far away from the familiar sights of these popular restaurants, with their dinner rolls, steaks, and twice baked potatoes beckoning us to stop by for dinner. In the world of steakhouse chains, you will find a lot of similarities, particularly between LongHorn Steakhouse and Texas Roadhouse.

Both chains offer fairly similar menus, and if you have not dined at either establishment, you may be led to believe that the restaurants are nearly identical. However, there are quite a few differences that have led to loyal followings and heated debates online over which restaurant does "steak" better. If you live in an area where there is both a LongHorn Steakhouse and Texas Roadhouse, it may be tricky to decide which restaurant is the better option. So, let's take a look at the differences between them and decide once and for all which is the reigning steakhouse chain.

They offer different atmospheres

You will immediately start to notice a difference between LongHorn Steakhouse and Texas Roadhouse the moment you step inside. Before you even reach your table, you are immersed in a completely different atmosphere, depending on which restaurant you are visiting. Over at LongHorn, guests are greeted by more sophisticated dark colors and sleek vibes, as one visitor shared for Business Insider. The cowboy aesthetic seems to strike a balance between casual dining and something that's a step above your typical chain. And as one reviewer on TripAdvisor pointed out, it's well suited for a quiet date night.

Texas Roadhouse, on the other hand, has a more rowdy, rustic vibe. From birthday guests riding on top of saddles to country music playing and the floor scattered with peanut shells (via Yahoo Finance), Texas Roadhouse may give off more lively party vibes than candlelit romantic vibes.

This may come down to your personal preference. If you are looking for a more quiet atmosphere (perhaps for a date or just for calmer vibes), then LongHorn may be the right choice. But if you are looking for a fun family outing or you prefer a more lively atmosphere, then Texas Roadhouse may be more up your alley.

Fans are very loyal to their preferred dinner rolls

The complimentary bread you receive before your meal arrives plays an important role in steakhouses. Rather than just serve ordinary bread, both chains have committed to serving rolls that have a cult following in their own right. In fact, in a ranking of Texas Roadhouse's menu items, we put their rolls right at the top as the number one item to eat there, thanks in large part to their accompanying cinnamon butter. Insider also mentions that the rolls served at Texas Roadhouse are legendary with fans.

Not everyone seems to see eye to eye when it comes to those buttery rolls, however. One Redditor thought that the rolls were downright "gross," though many commenters harshly disagreed. Over at LongHorn Steakhouse, its dinner rolls are also adored by fans with copycat recipes highly sought after. I'm Hungry For That mentions how the urge to recreate the rolls from LongHorn came the moment they tried them at the restaurant.

Both have a variety of cuts of steak available

Atmosphere and dinner rolls are one thing, but when it comes to steakhouses, if you cannot serve up a decent cut of beef, then it's game over. Thankfully, both LongHorn Steakhouse and Texas Roadhouse offer a variety of steaks, so you should be able to find a cut that you enjoy. After all, would either be allowed to call themselves a steakhouse if you couldn't order a porterhouse? All of the usual suspects appear on both menus, including filet steaks, ribeyes, and sirloins. The sizes of the two chains' steaks are similar as well, with both restaurants offering 20 oz ribeyes as well as the option of ordering your filet steak at 6 or 9 oz at LongHorn (and 6 or 8 oz at Texas Roadhouse). Both restaurants also serve ribs, though the ones at Texas Roadhouse have been known to disappoint.

So, when it comes to the kinds of steaks you can order, both restaurants are on relatively even footing. But the steaks actually arriving at your table is when customers seem to notice a big difference.

What LongHorn's steaks get right

LongHorn Steakhouse ranks pretty high on the list of current national steakhouse chains, largely due to the fact that above all, it cooks a pretty darn good steak. That may be due to the fact that it does not use frozen steaks, and it may also be partially because it allows its cooks to aspire to the title of "Steak Master." No matter what the tactics are, customers seem to be in agreement that the steaks served at LongHorn are worth the trip. Across the board, the cuts of steak are elevated by LongHorn's seasoning blend, which a line cook for the restaurant disclosed on Reddit.

Flo's Filet, especially when paired with the lobster tail, is among one of the best things you can order off of the menu, and the T-bone, ribeye, and ribs also rank in our top 10 list. A Reddit thread asking people to name their favorite steakhouse includes LongHorn several times, with many citing the fact that it has the best steaks for the price. Another Reddit thread included a comment from someone who preferred LongHorn over Outback, another popular steakhouse chain in the United States. Ultimately, what brings customers back to a steakhouse will likely be its steaks, and fans are quick to praise the quality of LongHorn's time and time again.

What Texas Roadhouse's steaks get right

Not to be outdone by LongHorn, there are many loyal customers devoted to the steaks served at Texas Roadhouse. After all, you could probably make the argument that if the steaks were not any good, then Texas Roadhouse would not have lasted as long as it has. A Reddit thread asking for menu suggestions included several nods to the ribeye, which one former employee noted was loaded with flavor. The chicken fried steak is also a more unique standout if you are looking for something more than your typical cut of beef. Traditional steak dinners are also popular, with the most widely-ordered item being the 6-ounce sirloin (per The Motley Fool).

What do fans enjoy so much about the steaks from Texas Roadhouse? The in-store butcher shop adds a personal touch that allows customers to see the steaks in the cooler before they find their way to the grill, promising an added level of freshness to your meal. Fans also enjoy the lower prices, which may allow the restaurant some leeway for not offering a steak perhaps as widely beloved as the steaks from LongHorn Steakhouse. It is worth pointing out that Texas Roadhouse is not everyone's first choice of steakhouse, but Redditors point out that it is affordable, it is usually prepared exactly as requested, and it is not bad. It's not the best steak in the world, but it's also not bad.

Both restaurants offer much more than just steak

Steak is not everyone's cup of tea, and some evenings you may be in the mood for something a little lighter. In addition to beef, both restaurant chains have a wide array of menu items, including chicken and fish dishes and plenty of sides.

Some of the best menu items at Texas Roadhouse are these more unique items, including the salmon, which one fan said on Twitter that they could eat on a daily basis. A large percentage of Texas Roadhouse regulars prefer the steak fries as their side dish of choice. And popular appetizer dishes include its Rattlesnake Bites (a.k.a. Jalapeño poppers), fried pickles, and a variety of salads.

Of course, LongHorn Steakhouse offers much more than just steak as well, with its menu including chicken, pork chop, and seafood options for entrees. Though there seems to be more buzz for the accompanying menu items at Texas Roadhouse (they even have a Cactus Blossom which bears a striking resemblance to the Blooming Onion from Outback, though fans seem to prefer the latter).

Texas Roadhouse packs more of a punch with its drink menu

You may fancy a nice glass of wine to pair with your steak, and in that situation, both LongHorn and Texas Roadhouse should suit you fine. But if you are looking for more variety or perhaps something with a little more flair, then Texas Roadhouse is where you'll want to dine. The steakhouse chain features a menu filled with margaritas and mixed cocktails in addition to wine and beer (at present they offer 15 varieties of its signature margarita, according to the company website). A Texas Roadhouse location in Tucson, Arizona shared on Facebook that its top three margarita flavors were the Mango, Kenny's Cooler (a mixed drink concocted by Kenny Chesney, which is a mixture of Blue Chair Bay Coconut Rum and Dekyuper Peach Scnapps, Minute Maid Lemonade, sweet and sour, and Monin Blue Curacao according to FSR Magazine) and Strawberry.

LongHorn Steakhouse does sell different kinds of alcoholic beverages, including beer and margaritas in addition to its wine menu. But when Texas Roadhouse advertises fishbowl-sized margaritas on its Facebook pages, there seems to be a clear choice when choosing which steakhouse to grab dinner at if you're looking to pair it with a fun drink.

One may be a better option if you're dining with kids

As we noted earlier, the two steakhouse chains offer a different kind of atmosphere that is better suited for different groups of people. While both restaurants welcome families, the lively vibes at Texas Roadhouse might be a better choice if you are dining with kids, especially if someone in your party is celebrating a birthday.

At Texas Roadhouse, the guest celebrating their birthday is invited to sit on a saddle (kids included) that is brought to their table while the servers sing Happy Birthday. Sounds like a total nightmare scenario for some who would rather not draw attention to themselves, but it will sure make for a memorable experience, especially for the kids.

Even if you are not celebrating a birthday, there will still be plenty of rowdy antics from the staff each night. Around once per hour (via Twitter), the servers gather around the restaurant for a line dance (via Country Music Nation). The Texas Roadhouse in Bear, Delaware celebrated its socially-distanced return of the dance in 2020 on its Facebook account after a brief pause amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

One is perceived more as a value meal than the other

Both LongHorn Steakhouse and Texas Roadhouse are middle-of-the-road chains when it comes to steakhouses. They are not on the high end of the price range, but they are not the cheapest options you'll find, either. That said, customers seem to agree that Texas Roadhouse offers a better value between the two, noting that the quality and the quantity of what you are served is not bad, given the price. Despite the thin margins that may exist due to the lower menu prices (via Harvard), the high volume of foot traffic and strong advertising of its alcoholic drinks (which typically have higher margins) allow for Texas Roadhouse to continue to deliver food at a lower cost for the consumer.

On the flip side, customers have pointed out that LongHorn Steakhouse is a tad on the high side, given what you are being served. Despite the fact that diners seem to be in agreement that LongHorn serves a superior steak to Texas Roadhouse, as reviewers on TripAdvisor say, the meals were a bit pricey.

Looking at some of the steaks offered at each restaurant will also show the slight price advantage Texas Roadhouse has over LongHorn. A 12-ounce New York strip costs $22.99 at Texas Roadhouse, and $23.49 at LongHorn Steakhouse. An 8-ounce filet at Texas Roadhouse costs $26.49, while at LongHorn a 9-ounce will cost you slightly more for that extra ounce of beef at $28.29.

LongHorn gives back by helping you become your own steak master

Of course, the best value when it comes to a steak dinner is to cook it yourself at home. But steaks can be a tricky meat to perfect, especially if you want to recreate a restaurant-quality meal. Rather than keep the keys to the city all to themselves, LongHorn Steakhouse has been on a mission for years to help its customers become their own steak master.

Back in 2013, the restaurant chain launched a Grill Us Hotline in time for the Fourth of July holiday. The hotline, which was supervised by LongHorn's own grill masters, was rolled out to help home grillers with any questions they may have on how to prepare the perfect steak. Callers could inquire about any step in the process, from choosing the perfect steak in the store to how to reach the ideal grill temperature (via PR Newswire). The hotline grew in popularity over the years, and LongHorn brought back the service for Memorial Day and Labor Day in addition to Independence Day (via Austin American-Statesman). By sharing its expertise with customers, LongHorn not only helps to recreate the restaurant experience at home, but also emphasizes the fact that it truly knows how to make the perfect steak.

One of the two chains has more limited hours

While we may often wish that our favorite restaurant was open 24 hours a day, in reality, we are beholden to the hours of operation that the business decides on. The dinner rush is often when you will find more families and couples looking for a good steak dinner at both LongHorn and Texas Roadhouse, but if you want lunch, then your options are more limited.

Texas Roadhouse is widely known for only being open for dinner hours during the week, with the exception of a select few locations. If you want lunch, you will have to wait until the weekend. This is because the company decided to limit its weekday hours to offer more of a work-life balance for its employees. In an interview with Forbes, founder and then-CEO Kent Taylor noted that the decision to remain closed during lunch hours was beneficial for the company and for employees. Texas Roadhouse doubled down on the two-fold benefits, saying on its website that the managers have a more flexible lifestyle, and the business saves on expenses by not having to open locations in locations where businesses are looking for meals during their lunch breaks. So, if you are looking for lunch during the week, LongHorn Steakhouse will be your go-to option between the two chains.

Which chain is better overall?

Ultimately, determining which chain is "better" will come down to your personal preference. However, when it comes to which chain prepares the better steaks, the evidence appears to be in favor of LongHorn Steakhouse. Keep in mind that while steak is a key piece of the puzzle, there are other factors to consider like price, atmosphere, and other menu items that compliment the steak. When looking at those metrics, the restaurants seem to be evenly matched: Texas Roadhouse is a fun environment for the whole family, with fair pricing and a variety of food and drink items. LongHorn Steakhouse, on the other hand, has quieter, more romantic vibes with great steaks.

The court of public opinion seems divided. When asked if Redditors preferred LongHorn Steakhouse or Outback Steakhouse, several commenters chimed in and went for a third option: Texas Roadhouse. Both Longhorn and Texas Roadhouse ranked in our top 10 national steakhouse chains, though LongHorn bested Texas Roadhouse by several spots on the list. You will likely have an enjoyable meal no matter which chain you choose, but if you had to pick based on steak alone, head on down to LongHorn Steakhouse first (and then maybe give Texas Roadhouse a try afterward to compare).