The Cattlemen Behind Cattlemens.
The early 49ers brought fame and fortune to the Golden State, but the ranchers and farmers are the ones who fed and anchored it.
Pete Gillham Senior, the driving force behind Cattlemens, spent the first fifty years of his life on the ranches. He grew up on his father’s dude ranch in the foothills of the Catalina Mountains near Tucson, Arizona. After attending Stanford University in 1933, he returned to ranching, working on the “U Circle Ranch” near Oracle, Arizona, running 1,000 head of cattle. “It was the first ranch I owned, a nice little place. It’s where I cut my teeth on the business and, of course, Pete Junior was born there.” The 1940’s saw Pete expanding his knowledge of ranching and cattle, working on the Tanqueverde Ranch near Tucson and later managing the Petan Land and Cattle Company (formerly the YP Brand Ranch) near Elko, Nevada. “The YP was quite a spread. At 15,000 head it was one of the biggest outfits in the area.” As a partner in a feed lot and auction yard in Casa Grande, Arizona, he further refined his eye for the best in beef, returning to ranching in the 1950’s as a partner in the 3C Ranch near Ely, Nevada.
After many adventures and a lot of less-than-satisfactory restaurant meals, the two Petes decided they had spent enough years raising main courses and it was time to start cooking and serving them. They set about learning the restaurant business by working at Chuck’s Steak House in Los Altos, California. Pete doesn’t like to brag, but he does know a thing or two about beef. And having spent forty years on ranches he couldn’t help but pick up a few good habits – like working hard, speaking plain and eating good, fresh food. In 1968 they opened the first Cattlemens on the pier in Redondo Beach, California. Their philosophy was straightforward. Buy the best cuts of meat, the freshest vegetables, and serve them up simply, in generous portions. Today there are eight Cattlemens restaurants. Each location still ages and cuts its own beef and they still serve generous portions in a friendly atmosphere. The two Petes wouldn’t have it any other way.
Today Pete Jr. presides over eight Cattlemens restaurants. The decor in each restaurant is unique-comprised of local antiques and ranching artifacts, but you’ll find the same straightforward Western Hospitality and great food regardless of which Cattlemens you visit. Though Pete Sr. recently passed on, his legacy and kind spirit are still with us today, and a big part of who we are.