Purchase photos

Tough day for former steakhouse





Montana Mike's auction Wednesday was a wake with a commercial purpose.

Bid by bid, the restaurant was dismantled as kitchen supplies, equipment and decor were divided among the 64 participants and their guests. "Big Steak Country" was painted on a back room wall, a reminder of better days.

The inactive freezers, which once held award-winning steaks, were empty. The dinner time rush inside the kitchen was replaced with the occasional bidder strolling through looking for a bargain.

Nick Esfeld, who worked at the restaurant for four years until December, said he was at the auction to relive memories and possibly buy a TV.

"Mainly so I could see that it's really closed, it's really over ... get something to remind me of this place," Esfeld said.

The former employee said he believed The Mall's rent costs contributed to Montana Mike's closure.

Local entrepreneurs at the program scoured the steakhouse for the sake of their businesses.

Eric Schuette, owner of Sip N Spin and Brass Rail, said he was considering buying the ice machine or a fryer.

Gilbert and Cheryl Kinderknecht, owners of Arthur's Pizza & Mexican Food in Ellis, said they were looking for used equipment such as heat lamps and holding tables.

Jeff Ruckert, owner of Totally Auction, said approximately 400 items were sold. The largest item sold was the ice machine.