The Saddle Rack of San Jose

The Saddle Rack originally opened on August 13, 1976. Hank Guenther who was the original owner of The Saddle Rack and the owner of the 6 and a half acres and building in San Jose which The Rack stood. Originally, Mr. Guenther came to San Jose in the late 1960s to run The Sweden House, an all-you-can-eat smorgasbord, eventually changing the name to Bit O’ Sweden.

When the restaurant business started slowing, he successfully bought the restaurant out and opened The Saddle Rack. Andy Buchanan, who met and befriended Guenther at the Eastridge Ice Arena when the two played ice hockey years before, became general manager. Guenther’s club joined the rest of the country & western bars, including Cowtown in San Jose, the Horseshoe Club in Santa Clara and the Silver Saddle in Morgan Hill, the Rio Grande in Mountain View, and Cheers in Sunnyvale. All have since closed.

When The Saddle Rack reopened in Fremont, it was back, bigger and better than ever before.

In October 2000 Mr. Guenther sold the property to KB Homes and The Saddle Rack closed its doors in San Jose on August 5, 2001. Getting an offer he couldn’t refuse, Gary Robinson purchased the rights to the Saddle Rack name from Mr. Guenther and along with Andy Buchanan reopened The Saddle Rack in Fremont, in April 2003.

Unfortunately, Mr. Guenther never saw The Rack reopened due to his twin-engine airplane crashing into a muddy South San Jose hillside, killing Mr.Guenther and two passengers. (Mr. Guenther was a volunteer pilot with Los Medicos Voladores, the Bay Area-based flying doctors program that ferries physicians from the United States to Mexico, where the doctors treat the patients for free.)

In the 1980s, the Saddle Rack hosted live shows and concerts featuring singers and rockers—heavy metal and country. Over the years, they’ve booked such acts as James Brown, B.B. King, Garth Brooks, Huey Lewis, Roy Orbison, the Charlie Daniels Band, Johnny Cash, Tammy Wynette, Loretta Lynn, Martina McBride and an all-star roster of other bands and singers. H/T>

The Saddle Rack San Jose 1976 Vintage Men’s T-Shirt

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