I had dinner at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse in Houston recently and after I got the invitation I asked myself about that name again. It has been one of those things that have fascinated me for as long as I can remember. Why is it called this? Shouldn’t it be Ruth Chris’s Steakhouse or Ruth Chris’ Steakhouse? I’m so confused. I just chalked it up as one of those mysteries I would never know. And then I found out why and I just had to share it with others who may have felt this same way or had this same question.
So, first off, there really is a Ruth. In 1965, Ruth Fertel, a single mom looking for an opportunity, saw a steakhouse for sale in the classifieds. She didn’t know much about restaurants or steak, but she took a chance and mortgaged her home to buy Chris Steak House. Ruth mastered all the ins and outs herself, from butchering and broiling steak perfectly to serving guests. (taken from the website directly)
Ruth worked and lived by the mantra, “Do what you love, love what you do.” She had the reputation of being a driven, hard-working person who never met a challenge not worth overcoming. Ruth was successful because of her strong work ethic and keen ability to understand her guests.
Ruth had never planned to expand, but in 1976 a kitchen fire decimated the property and she was forced to relocate in order to stay in business. Within ten days Ruth had the restaurant up and running. But the Chris Steak House name was not allowed to move with it because the terms of sale when she purchased the restaurant prohibited her from opening a new restaurant with the Chris Steak House name. Ruth added her own name to the new sign, making it “Ruth’s Chris Steak House.” Now with her own name in lights, the tongue-twisting name was born. Later Ruth admitted the name was strange, but she managed to work around it.
So that’s the answer to the big mystery of the name Ruth’s Chris Steak House. And, now I’m craving steak. Damnit.