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Groundbreaking held for Buffalo Chip Saloon


Elizabeth Medora

CAVE CREEK – A groundbreaking for the Buffalo Chip Saloon & Steakhouse was held on May 25. Construction on the new building is estimated to be completed in 4-6 months.

The main Buffalo Chip building burned down in a fire on Thanksgiving Day in 2015; the fire is being investigated as arson. No arrests have been made yet in connection with the fire. After the fire, a fundraiser was held for the employees, and the community raised over $40,000 to assist the employees who were out of work due to the fire. The Chip has now resumed business, holding regular bull riding events and serving barbecue from a temporary kitchen.

Approximately 50 local residents, council members, and Chip regulars attended the informal groundbreaking on May 25. Larry Wendt, owner of the Buffalo Chip, spoke at the ceremony, thanking the community for their continued support.

Calling the day of the fire a “tragic, tragic day,” Wendt said he considered retiring and walking away from the business, but the instant supportive response from the community and beyond changed that. He expressed appreciation for the community support through the employee fundraiser, the permitting process, and the approvals from the Cave Creek Town Council.

“I have more energy than ever to get this thing back and going!” Wendt said.

Lumber for the Buffalo Chip construction is coming from the Mt. Shasta, Calif. sawmill. Wendt said that $250,000 worth of antique lumber has been provided for the building. Wendt said the new Chip building will resemble a structure from the late 1800s-early 1900s, but that the new building will have a concrete core and sprinklers. The building will have expanded restroom facilities, improved electricity and plumbing, and a larger dance floor. Wendt also mentioned an agreement that may be in the works to procure 100 additional parking spaces.

Wendt said the new building will be closer to Cave Creek Road, describing it as a “large, magnificent building.”

“We want it to be a showpiece,” he said.

Wendt closed his remarks by once again thanking the community for their continued backing.

“You guys who have supported us through thick and thin,” Wendt said, “thank you, thank you, thank you!”

Keep updated on the progress of the Buffalo Chip Saloon rebuilding by checking or following the Buffalo Chip on Facebook,, search Buffalo Chip Saloon & Steakhouse.