Thunder Road Steakhouse

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Project Objectives

Route 66 Resort wanted to create a new highly themed steakhouse as an intriguing dining option for the property, while also providing a venue that would add to the draw of the location as an entertainment destination.

Design & Planning

Inspired by the 1957 hit “The Ballad of Thunder Road”, the design artfully combines vintage 1950’s décor and themes with the natural beauty and charm of the rugged New Mexico landscape. Whether seated on the ground floor or in the second floor mezzanine surrounded by western-style railing guests at “Thunder Road” will be enthralled by a vibrant setting that won’t be forgotten anytime soon.

Upon entering the restaurant, guests encounter a custom “Thunder Road Steakhouse and Cantina” sign reminiscent of a 50’s era roadhouse venue. Rustic wood beams with classic red neon lighting, simulated steel I-beams surrounding the base of the second story mezzanine, and custom-fabricated brick veneer with vintage-style painted signage surrounding the seating area all add to the feeling of entering a high quality, inviting, dining environment. The ground-floor seating area features high quality wood tables and chairs with rustic wood flooring, and the open floor plan and spacious design allow for expansive views of the interior, with vivid mural imagery and exciting décor elements in every corner. A full-sized 1950’s police car sits atop a raised platform behind the curved bar that can be elevated into the ceiling to reveal a stage for live entertainment. In keeping with the Route 66 automotive theme of the property, a moonshiner’s car has ‘crashed’ halfway through an exterior wall and is suspended above the dining area adding another stunning feature within the space.

Build & Install

In addition to the complete concept and casino restaurant interior design plan for the new venue, I-5 fabricated, pre-assembled, and installed all of the custom décor components for the new Thunder Road Steakhouse & Cantina, creating the most efficient onsite implementation possible for the project.

As the casino general contractor was building out the casino restaurant interior design, custom décor elements were being fabricated in accordance with the concept design plan. I-5 project managers and design teams collaborated closely to ensure the décor finishes and integrated lighting delivered the intent of the designs and the best impact for the space. As décor elements were completed, teams loaded them for delivery to the site and the project performance began.

During fabrication of the decor, the implementation was planned so the most efficient sequence of installation could be achieved to help keep the casino’s opening schedule on track. Once on site, I-5 implementation teams utilized high-tech positioning tools to accurately place the décor components within the constructed shell in accordance with the overall plan. As the implementation was completed and the custom chandeliers and neon lighting accents were illuminated, a vibrant and exciting ambiance was created within the space that both customers and employees were eager to experience.

Development of the casino restaurant design and lighting elements by I-5 Design for Thunder Road.

Finished Project

From creating the initial design concepts, through planning, fabrication, and implementation of the project, Thunder Road was created as a memorable venue to provide an additional customer draw for the casino. The story-driven design motif and décor has created another high-impact amenity for the Route 66 Casino.

Thunder Road Steakhouse and Cantina is filled with a combination of Southwest inspired décor and historic Route 66 imagery to create a nostalgic and entertaining guest experience no matter where you are seated. From the rustic finishes and aged metal accents to the vibrant high-tech lighting and décor treatment systems, customers can enjoy the food and the environment throughout the space, often seeing details that were missed during previous visits.

The custom, vintage roadhouse feel is embedded in the design of the décor and finishes of the space. This design communicates the “Thunder Road” and Route 66 themes. It also delivers a unique entertainment venue that is unlike any other dining experience in the region. Thunder Road is just one of four very successful projects that I-5 has designed, built, and implemented at Route 66 Casino for the Pueblo of the Laguna Tribe. Other projects include: Envy Nightclub, Buffet 66, and the 360 Bar.