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Original post made
on Mar 21, 2014
Ugh, can't stand P.J. Bland and have no desire to support anything its founder is doing.
"Co-founder Paul Fleming was also a founding partner of the Fleming's steakhouse chain ... Ruth's Chris Steakhouses and others."
Ruth's Chris was famously the creation, solely, of New Orleans chemist and divorced mother-of-two Ruth Fertel, who bought (1965) the struggling Chris Steakhouse and ran it, its successors, and later the chain franchise program, for 34 years, changing the name to Ruth's Chris after the first relocation, and commencing franchises in 1977. Fertel is a historic figure in US restaurant history.
Paul Fleming became one of the franchisees, opening his first Ruth's Chris in 1984, by which time the Ruth's Chris chain was already established in the US. He (like any franchisee) could reasonably claim to be a founding partner of chain locations in which he personally was involved, but the phrasing I quoted above from the article may be misleading.
It's a nice room, the service is impeccable and the wine list and cocktails are excellent as well. However, on the night we dined there, three of the four entrees were really, really bad. Overcooked fish (2) and bland, flavorless pasta. I may go back for lunch to see if that was an anomaly, but won't be back for dinner anytime soon.
Hello Max Hauser,
Thanks you for reading my review. You are correct about Ruth's Chris Steak House. The late Ruth Fertel is a legendary figure in New Orleans restaurant history. Her original 1965 location, Chris Steak House, burned down, but just before that, she had leased a nearby spot that was intended to be used as a party/banquet rental space. The name "Chris Steakhouse", was, by contract, a name that could only be used at the burned out location. Chris Steak House had been in that spot since 1927. Thus, Ruth's Chris Steak House was born. That was in the mid 1970s. Successful, she franchised. That's where Paul Fleming came in. He wasn't the first franchisee, by any means, but he secured exclusivity for California, Arizona and Hawaii. In that sense, he was a founding partner for the West Coast. Sorry for any confusion.
Although I never met Ruth Fertel, I was acquainted with her New Orleans locations many years ago, when the national chain was still getting established. The original Broad St. "Ruth's Chris" was wrecked in the course of the Katrina disaster, though the Metarie annex did reopen. The chain moved its HQ out of New Orleans after the hurricane.
Today, New Orleans is full of chain steakhouses, sometimes impressively expensive, serving the large tourist trade. Locals I know there, if they do go out for steak, prefer casual independent neighborhood places, like Crescent City -- one of those that seems to've inherited some of the role and respect formerly associated with Ruth's Chris in Fertel's time.
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