From our humble beginnings on Broad Street in New Orleans to our current position as the world's largest fine dining company, Ruth's Chris Steak House.. read more has come quite a long way in its first four decades. In 2005, we celebrated our 40th anniversary, and we consider it a celebration of the life of a woman who broke the mold - our founder, Ruth Fertel.
The chain was founded by the late Ruth Fertel, a single mother of two, in 1965, after she bought the existing Chris Steak House in New Orleans. In buying the restaurant, Fertel had to agree that the restaurant keep the "Chris" name for a specified period of time. After the original location sustained a kitchen fire, she relocated the restaurant about one-half mile (0.9 km) to the west on Broad Street and renamed the rebuilt establishment "Ruth's Chris." Under the purchase agreement, the name "Chris Steak House" could not be used at any other location, and she did not want to lose customers already familiar with the Chris name. Fertel started to franchise the restaurant in the 1970s to locations throughout the United States and throughout the world.
Advertising efforts are primarily focused in the talk radio market and its male demographic. The chain has cultivated paid endorsements from several radio celebrities, including Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, with the latter proclaiming Ruth's to be his favorite restaurant. Ruth's won the 2006â€“2007 Golden Icon Award for "Best Steak House Chain"; the Golden Icon Awards are presented annually by Travolta Family Entertainment.
In 2005 Hurricane Katrina devastated Greater New Orleans (see: Effect of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans), and the chain moved its corporate headquarters to Heathrow, Florida. Like most businesses in the city, two of the chain's locations in the Greater New Orleans area were forced to close because of the storm. The Metairie, Louisiana location has since reopened. Amid much criticism of local officials and media, and on the heels of Morton's steakhouse announcement it would reopen its own New Orleans branch, the corporate offices announced that, due to extensive damage, the old flagship Ruth's Chris on Broad Street would be permanently closed and donated to charity. In May 2008, Ruth's Chris re-opened in New Orleans and is centrally located downtown in the Harrah's hotel at 525 Fulton Street.