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Our Story - Ruth's Chris Steak House

It all starts with Ruth

Decades ago, Ruth Fertel’s bold vision and recipe for success laid the foundation for one of the world’s most legendary steak houses.

from humble beginnings

Our Story

A Brief History

In 1965, a time when most women couldn’t even apply for a bank card without their husband’s signature, our founder Ruth Fertel risked it all and mortgaged her home to buy a small steak house in New Orleans. As a single mom with two boys, Ruth taught herself the restaurant business, endured countless challenges and, in the process, redefined hospitality.

Our Name

Why “Ruth’s Chris”?

When a kitchen fire destroyed Chris Steak House in 1976, Ruth was forced to relocate her business, but the Chris Steak House name wasn’t allowed to come along. Short on time, Ruth improvised, adding her own name to the sign. That made it “Ruth’s Chris Steak house” and our legendary name was born.

Meet Ruth

Known as the First Lady of Steak, Ruth Fertel was something special. From a 60-seat steak house, she built a business that spans the globe, but never lost sight of her original recipe for success: perfect steak, warm hospitality and good times that never stop rolling.

one unforgettable journey

1965

Looking for ways to increase income, 38-year-old single mother Ruth Fertel spotted a local restaurant for sale in a classified ad. Against advice from her banker, lawyer, family and friends, she mortgaged her house and bought the 60-seat Chris Steak House.

Founded in New Orleans in 1965

Hurricane Betsy

Just months after opening the restaurant, Hurricane Betsy roared into New Orleans. Amid flooding, devastation and a week-long power outage that would spoil her food, Ruth Fertel got busy: she cooked a feast and dished it out to weary relief workers and storm victims.

1967

Early on Ruth discovered a 500° plate with a pat of butter gave a satisfying sound and kept steak hot to the last bite. To replicate that sizzle worldwide, she would eventually put her chemistry background to work designing a proprietary 1800-degree broiler.

First Franchise Opened in 1977

1976

After 11 years of success, a fire destroyed the steak house and Ruth was forced to find a new location. Her contract wouldn’t allow her to keep the original restaurant name so she added hers to it: Ruth’s Chris Steak House.

1976

She could have spent her career at the original restaurant, but Ruth always looked for new challenges. When her first franchisee set up shop in 1976, it began the transformation of Ruth’s Chris into the world’s largest fine dining company.

Serving 21 Countries Today

1989

Welcomed the first Ruth’s Chris southwest of the continental U.S. in Honolulu, Hawaii.

1997

By now Ruth’s Chris was the world leader in upscale steak houses and its founder had become something of an icon. After selling to a private firm in 1999, Ruth could finally slow down and make time for herself.

2005

Ruth’s Chris took a bold step: initiating a public stock offering, giving guests a chance to invest in a restaurant they already loved. A tribute to its founder, the company still trades on the Nasdaq Stock Market under the symbol RUTH.

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