Tuesday, July 5, 2022 Jul 5, 2022
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Where the Cool Kids Sit at Al Biernat’s

A look at where, and why, the elite meet to eat at  Al Biernat’s.
By |
photography by Elizabeth Lavin

Nine years ago this month, Al Biernat’s opened at the corner of Oak Lawn and Herschel Avenues. It quickly became a dining destination for the highbrow and high profile. From actors to athletes, wealthy to wealthier, anyone who’s anyone has cut into a well-marbled steak here. Ever-hospitable host Al Biernat not only remembers every face, but he remembers where each derriere likes to sit. Here, a guide to the power tables and the diners who regularly reserve them.

The Bar.
The semi-circular, mahogany bar sits just inside the front door. High tables and two booths round out the space, popular with the socializing and smoking set. The bar is for first-timers checking out the place and cougars looking for the kill. Herb Kelleher has been known to enjoy a stogie in booth No. 19.

The Main Dining Room.
Visiting celebrities like the placement, and the protection, of booth Nos. 20 and 21. Behind the bar and shielded on three sides by half-walls, famous faces like Angie Harmon, Phil McGraw, and Mark Wahlberg can watch the crowds file in but go relatively unnoticed. The see-and-be-seen crowd, however, prefers eight-top table No. 23, front and center, and No. 34, beneath the domed skylight. Jerry and Stephen Jones do deals at No. 23. Socialite Lisa Troutt holds court in the No. 9 spot, the so-called “billionaire booth.” And though the neighboring No. 8 table is named for regulars Rosann and Richard Gutman, Troy Aikman has made it known he will only sit at this booth when eating at Al’s.

The Garden Room.

Those seeking more privacy retreat to the secluded space in the back of the restaurant, where a quiet meal can be had by drawing the curtains. Philanthropist Annette Simmons dines here. But it’s also the domain of athletes current and former: Emmitt Smith, Mike Modano, and Brett Hull catch games on the Garden Room’s 42-inch plasma TV.

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