Raleigh's famous Angus Barn steakhouse draws inspiration from Biltmore for holiday decor

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- Amid all the red and green at Raleigh's famous Angus Barn steakhouse these days is another color: the purple under owner Van Eure's swollen left eye.

"I'm proud of this black eye because it's proof that I actually get in here and do this myself," Eure said about the Christmas decorations.

Eure said she fell off the back of a truck while helping unload the thousands of Christmas decorations slated to go up at the Glenwood Avenue landmark.

"I'm the one that really is in charge of everything that goes on here for Christmas," she said. "Our decorations and everything. And I have the greatest group of people who come out and help me."

And there is an incredible amount of work to be done. It starts with the exterior of the barn-shaped restaurant.

"At night, we have every corner and every edge of the roofline lit up. And it's so beautiful at night. We started doing that last year."

Visitors should prepare to be dazzled the moment they step through the doors because each room is unique and a treat for the eyes, bursting with sparkle and color.

There are over-sized ornaments, giant wrapped packages, huge bows and ribbons, and even a large model train that moves on its own track.

Each year, the staff starts decorating the day after Halloween in order to have everything ready by Thanksgiving.

The highlight is always the giant tree in the lobby. This year, a 30-footer covered in artificial snow.

"We couldn't flock it with just (spray) cans," Eure said. "That's a 30-foot tree! So we had to purchase a flocking machine, a huge machine. And then we had to wear the (protective) suits. And we got a lift that went up and down, a mechanical lift. We had the whole room covered in plastic sheets so that the flocking material didn't get everywhere."

And they've hung some of the smaller trees upside down from the ceiling so there is more room for walking around below.

Decorating big for Christmas has been a tradition at the Angus Barn since Eure's father co-founded the restaurant in 1960.

But she said things really kicked into high gear after a family visit to Asheville's famous Biltmore House some years back.

PHOTOS: The Biltmore is decorated for Christmas 2017

"As we were walking through the Biltmore, seeing different beautiful decorations in every single room, my sister looked at me and she said, 'Now Van, there's just no reason why you should not be able to do this at the Angus Barn.' And so I said, 'I know, you're right. We really should.'"

And they did, with each year seeming to be more dazzling than the last.

Those who can't make it there by Christmas or New Year's day -- the tables get reserved quickly this time of year -- take heart: they keep the decorations up until the third week of January.

And be sure not to as Eure how much all these things cost.

"I would rather not bring that to my accounting department's attention right now," she said with a chuckle.
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