Medium Rare Fillet Mignon Steak with Herb Garlic Butter
Single Mothers Built Ruth's Chris Steak House Into The Powerhouse It Is Today
By Wendy Gould
Ruth's Chris Steak House is regarded by many as one of the best high-end steakhouse chains in America, and as recently as 2022, this award-winning enterprise brought in more than $475 million in sales. Despite all this modern success, though, Ruth's Chris Steak House comes from humble beginnings.
Before starting Ruth's Chris Steak House in 1965, Ruth Fertel graduated from university at 19 with a chemistry and physics degree and became a college professor, but soon left the workforce to raise two sons.
When she separated from her husband in
the late 1950s, Ruth became a single
mother and worked as a lab technician
before opening her restaurant.
Ruth saw a newspaper ad for a food service establishment called "Chris Steak House" and mortgaged her house to pay for it, despite her lawyer's advice. She taught herself to be a busser, hostess, and waitress and hired other single mothers, who would be lovingly dubbed the "Broads on Broad Street."
Soon enough, Ruth doubled her lab technician income, and Chris Steak House became a societal hotspot. Unfortunately, a kitchen fire destroyed the original Chris Steak House and the fine print in her contract meant Ruth had to rename the new location, so she named it Ruth's Chris Steak House.