Thunder Road Steakhouse & Cantina


When planning a restaurant, décor choices play a very important role. From the initial statement made through signage, to the interior lighting and layout you are communicating to your customers what they can expect from their experience. A recent example of using décor to communicate to customers is at Route 66 Casino near Albuquerque, New Mexico. Recently, they opened the Thunder Road Steakhouse & Cantina. The casino wanted a lively atmosphere that included themes based on the legend of “Thunder Road”, a classic 1958 film starring Robert Mitchum, and combined the old Route 66 imagery and the Hispanic roots of New Mexico to create a truly unique and immersive, entertainment experience. Our team designed, manufactured and installed the entire new venue from start to finish in just a few short months.

As you approach the venue, your attention is drawn to the impressive signage element that spans the entry area. Multi dimensional flames and southwestern style letters read “Thunder Road” and welcome you to the unique dining and entertainment area. Walking into the space, two rustic flanking columns topped with custom fixtures blaze out an energetic and welcoming first impression and set the tone for what you can expect. As you move through the remarkable venue, you will begin to notice all of the surprises that lay in wait for you. For instance, a 1950 classic Ford moonshiner’s car explodes through one of the walls, which leaves you to wonder “Was the driver sampling his delivery?” I won’t spoil the fun of finding other unique conversation starters for you.

The overall feel of the venue is a rustic, time forgotten Southwest warehouse. Decor elements that all contributed to the effect included; faux windows with raised mullions, warehouse doors constructed from reclaimed barn wood, as well as old world iron brackets and metal finishes throughout the space. Larger than life wall custom murals depict the ballad of Thunder Road while various paintings of southwestern style musicians and instruments create a colorful montage that flows through the space. The focal point of the entire venue is the 180 degree bar. Perched atop, is a classic 1950’s police car which can be raised high into the air to reveal a hidden stage where live music provides entertainment. All of the themed areas throughout the steakhouse were designed to communicate the fun “Thunder Road” and Route 66 themes while initiating a lively and interactive atmosphere that is unique, and unlike any other dining experience in the area. The décor and theming elements of the venue not only tell the overarching tale of “Thunder Road”, but invite guests to be a part of that story and add their experience to the legend as well.

– Bonnie W.

More Thunder Road Pictures can be viewed by clicking the link.

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