If you don’t know the story of the Ruth behind Ruth’s Chris, you’re simply in for a treat. Ruth Fertel, born in Happy Jack Lousiana, was an amazing woman of strong will and some good fortune that included both a hurricane and a fire. After going through a divorce in the early ’60s, Ruth felt her chemistry degree from LSU wouldn’t pay the bills and provide the life she wanted for her two sons so she, of course, mortgaged her home and bought a steakhouse with no experience. Can you imagine what her family and friends must have felt about this decision??
Her bet paid off and combined with her willingness to learn to cut and sear steaks, she not only prepared the food but waitressed and did the accounting. After Hurricane Betsy hit New Orleans a few months later (can you just imagine?), she used the steaks in her freezer to feed the homeless and relief workers which turned into good fortune after the decision of the local Bishop.
Success came but so did a lawsuit by the former owner. That is indeed a lot to overcome, but a fire destroyed her restaurant in 1975 as well. Not to worry there was a local construction gentleman who assured her he could rebuild her restaurant within a week. Not only did he keep his promise, but provided her with an additional 100 seats to help with the long lines she had daily. Too many details for an opening summary so just keep reading.
General Restaurant Information
Food Type: Steakhouse
Restaurant Type: Fine Dining
Company Slogan: This is how it’s done & The steak dinner, done right
Questions: Contact Information
Phone number: 407-333-7440
Email: Contact Form Only
Blog: Ruth’s Chris Blog
FAQ Page: Frequently Asked Questions
Who Owns Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse? Ruth’s Hospitality Group
Headquartered: Winter Park, FL
Email/contact page: RHGI Contact Page
Address:1030 W Canton Ave Ste 100, Winter Park, Florida, 32789
Do They Franchise? Franchise Information
The History of Ruth’s Chris
Original Location: 1100 North Broad Street, New Orleans, LA
Founded: May 24, 1965
Founded By: Chris Matulich (1927), Ruth Fertel (1965)
Ruth Fertel, founder of Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse (mentalfloss.com)
Ruth Fertel: The Story Of The Empress Of Steaks (today-magazine.com)
Ruth Fertel, 75; Founder of Worldwide Steakhouse Chain (latimes.com)
Ruth Fertel of Steakhouse Fame Is Dead at 75 (nytimes.com)
Ruth Fertel purchased the restaurant in 1965 which was then called Chris Steakhouse which was named after the previous owner, Chris Matulich. She was so successful at the location; that she opened a second four blocks away keeping the name Chris Steakhouse. Matulich sued her though stopping her from using the name. Her solution was just to put her name in front of his creating the somewhat confusing name, Ruth’s Chris.
The Empire of Sizzzzzzzle: Mom Buys a Steakhouse (myneworleans.com)
Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse (referenceforbusiness.com)
Charity Focus: Children in need, Foodbank, Education, Education and more
Animal Cruelty: No resources found
Discounts At Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse
Do Kids Eat Free at Ruth’s Chris?
Summary: They do not offer a kids eat free discount or promotion
Does Ruth’s Chris Offer Military Discounts?
Summary: They will occasionally offer a special promotion at select restaurants but nothing standing or consistent.
Does Ruth’s Chris Offer First Responder Discounts?
Summary: They do not offer a first responder discount
Does Ruth’s Chris Offer Senior Citizen | AARP Discounts?
Summary: They do not offer a senior citizen discount
Order Online: No
WiFi Available: Yes
Use Apple Pay: Yes
Reservations: Reservations at Ruth’s Chris
Catering: Catering Menu
Open 24 Hours: No
Ruth's Chris & Related Items on Amazon
Food & Nutrition
Menu: Ruth’s Chris Menu
Kids Menu: Ruth’s Chris Kids Menu
Secret Menu: No
Most Popular Menu Item: Steak
Coke or Pepsi Products: Coke
Serve Alcohol: Yes
Nutritional Information: They do not offer a nutritional menu
Vegetarian | Vegan Options: Vegetarian Options at Ruth’s Chris (ruthschris.net)
Farm to Table | Organic Options | Clean | Non-GMO: Their site states they use “the finest custom-aged, corn-fed Midwestern beef”. No other resources could be found.
Miscellaneous Nutrition Resources:
According to Encylopedia.com
Ruth’s Chris beef is dry-aged in Chicago and then shipped twice weekly in large cuts to the restaurants. The steaks are cut into smaller portions at each restaurant, and cooked by a special process using a broiler heated to about 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit. This cooking method is consistent throughout the chain.
Sizzling Steak 101: A Master Class In Steak Cuts (ruthschris.net)
Discover Ruth’s Chris Difference (ruthschris.net)
Ruth’s Chris Nutritional Information (myfitnesspal.com)
Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse Nutrition Information (livestrong.com)
Nutritional Information Ruth’s Chris (restaurant-menu-nutrition.com)
Allergen Information: They do not offer a nutritional menu
Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse Gluten Free Menu (urbantastebud.com)
Gluten-Free Options Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse (gluttenfreefollowme.com)
Gluten Free Options at Ruth’s Chris (ruthschris.net)
Dairy Free Options:
Dairy-Free Options Ruth’s Chris (dairyfreetraveler.com)
Restaurant Guide For Dairy-Free Dining (godairyfree.org)
Peanut Free Options:
Peanut Allergy Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse (allergyeats.com)
Food Allergy Guides For Many Chain Restaurants (verywellhealth.com)
Ways to Eliminate Risks of Peanut Allergy When Dining Out (healthguidance.org)
Does Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse Have Any Secret Recipes?
Barbecued Shrimp (topsecretrecipes.com)
Petite Filet (topsecretrecipes.com)
Creamed Spinach (topsecretrecipes.com)
Potatoes Au Gratin (topsecretrecipes.com)
Barbecue Shrimp Orleans (copykat.com)
Bread Pudding (ruthschris.net)
Barbecued Shrimp (ruthschris.net)
Crab Cakes (ruthschris.net)
Sweet Potato Casserole (ruthschris.net)
Did You Know?
They are the largest chain of upscale steakhouse restaurants in the United States by number of stores (source)
After a divorce in the early 60’s, Fertel was left to raise her teenage sons. She didn’t feel that she could do so successfully on her income as a lab technician so she began looking for a different line of work. She saw an ad for a steakhouse and although she had no experience at all in the food industry, she mortgaged her home, borrowing $22,000, and purchased Chris Steakhouse. (source)
A few months after opening, Hurricane Betsy devastated the Gulf Coast. Ruth turned the disaster into an opportunity and began cooking steaks for the homeless and relief workers. The local Bishop suspended meatless Fridays because of the loss of the local fisheries in the area allowing Ruth to remain open on Fridays and soon built a strong following, especially with the male population which brought in more than 90% of her business. (source)
Her ability to create great steaks (she hand cut all of them herself as well as waited tables and kept the books) allowed her to open a second location four blocks away. Chris Matulich sued her though for using the name Chris Steakhouse. I’m sure it didn’t make him very happy when she simply placed her name in front of him calling it, of course, Ruth’s Chris. (source)
Sadly, the original restaurant burned down in 1975 but a man in the construction business promised Fertel that he could build her a new one…in a week. Keeping his promise, she opened the new building that seated 160 people giving her 100 additional seats which were a blessing for those waiting in line down the sidewalk each day. (source)
Secrets of the Great Steakhouses (foxnews.com)
Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse (encyclopedia.com)
Ruth’s Chris Steakhouses replacing longtime CEO (orlandosentinel.com)
Better Options: Coming Soon
It’s almost worth a visit to pay tribute to what Ruth Fertel overcame to build this thriving business. A story worthy of Hollywood for sure. If you happen to have a location close to you and no budget to worry about or celebrate a special occasion, the steakhouse is undoubtedly worth a visit unless your date is a vegetarian which then there may be some better choices. Steak is on the menu here, and the reputation Ruth created in 1965 continues today. There may be several steakhouses in the area, but you will have a hard time finding a better one than Ruth’s Chris, and I guarantee you won’t find one with a better story.