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Sensational Steak

The Family—and Midwest Roots—Behind Chandler’s Award-Winning DC Steakhouse

Milwaukee native Dean Laplant got his first restaurant job at 8 years old.

“His parents owned a restaurant, and his grandparents were restaurateurs, so this was nothing nefarious,” laughs Lorie Laplant, Dean’s wife and business partner. “But we often get asked where the seeds for DC Steakhouse were planted, and it always comes back to 8-year-old Dean crisping linens for the restaurant.”

Enamored with the electricity of hospitality, Dean set his sights on becoming a third-generation restauranteur from that day forward.

“Dean and I met at the restaurant he owned, The Steak Out, back in Milwaukee back in 1989 when he hired me as a server,” says Lorie. “While we did not start dating straight away, it was pretty much love at first sight.” 

It was also love at first sight for Lorie and the restaurant business, a shared passion the couple bonded over immediately. The two would marry in 1996 and continue running The Steak Out successfully until Dean got the golfing bug.

“The cure for this ‘bug’ was relocating to Arizona, and I was all for giving up the harsh Midwest winters. We moved first to Scottsdale in 1997 and later to Chandler in 2006,” says Lorie, noting they continued to own The Steak Out until 2022, when they sold it to its longtime manager.

Once settled in Chandler, the couple started to get the itch to open a local eatery but wanted to be selective about when and how they would do it.

“Then one night in 2009 we were out in Downtown Chandler at a gastronomically adventurous spot called Fat Cats. We loved the historic building, but our intuition told us the concept was not the niche that the neighborhood needed at that particular time,” says Lorie, whose intuition was correct because just months later the space became available.

By 2010, the Laplants had a lease on the space and re-imagined it as Downtown Chandler Steakhouse.

“As most locals know, by about our third week in business, everyone was already calling it DC Steakhouse for short, and that is the name that eventually stuck,” Lorie says. “However, most folks do not know it was not our original name for the now-beloved venue.”

According to Lorie, the initial plan was to pay homage to their restaurant back in Milwaukee by dubbing the Chandler steakhouse “The Steak Out West,” but they changed course last minute when their attorney found there was a restaurant already called Steak Out down in Tucson.

DC Steakhouse was an instant sensation. In fact, they have been chosen by the East Valley Tribune as Best of the Best Steakhouse in Chandler for six years and counting.

“We use 100% Certified Angus Beef, which is known for its layers of flavor and perfect marbling and really sets us apart,” says Lorie. “Our meat is wet-aged, but we do serve one dish—our Tomahawk —that is dry-aged.”

Beyond the exceptional cuts of meat, DC Steakhouse also feels as much like a supper club as a steak restaurant.

“We provide a dining experience, starting with crisp white linen—homage to Dean’s many years as a child perfecting that look—a full bread service for no additional charge, and dinners that are served with ample salads and the choice of our mouthwatering potato offerings versus a strictly a la carte model,” says Lorie. “Of course, we have copious craveable sides so guests may add on fun enhancements for the table, but we are all about giving our guests a full dining experience without having to piece it together if they do not want.”

The business, a true family affair with the Laplant’s daughter Jessica working as one of their managers and grandson Joey working as a server, has found so much success that in 2020 they expanded to a new location down the street in New Square. Lorie, who is a talented artist and designer in addition to being a restaurateur with Dean, designed the space with ample windows, dim lighting, dark woods, and eye-catching red textured cloth wallpaper.

“The move also allowed us to grow from 4,700 square feet to 6,000 square feet, so we were able to add on a gorgeous banquet room as well as a wrap-around patio that is dreamy this time of year,” says Lorie. “We loved our historic locale prior, but the upkeep was tough, so being in this new build is giving us so much more time to focus on our guests, their experience, and making the best food in Chandler.”

We often get asked where the seeds for DC Steakhouse were planted, and it always comes back to 8-year-old Dean crisping linens for the restaurant.”