Sunday, February 9, 2014

So, What's the Deal With the Name of Ruth's Chris Steak House?

Posted By on Sun, Feb 9, 2014 at 3:00 PM

With less than a week until the official grand opening of Idaho's tallest skyscraper, the Eighth and Main Tower, one of its key tenants will swing its doors open a bit earlier. Ruth's Chris Steak House will serve its first diners Monday, Feb. 10.

Ruth's Chris, a popular high-end eatery, has added 70 people to its payroll to staff its first Idaho restaurant, about half of them as kitchen staff.

The roots of the chain's unusual name date back to 1927, when New Orleans restaurateur Chris Matulich opened his first dining establishment as Chris Steak House. The restaurant was sold and bought six times. And in 1965, single-mother Ruth Fertel mortgaged her home to purchase the restaurant, but kept the name of Chris Steak House. But the restaurant was destroyed by fire in 1976, prompting Fertel to rebuild. But her original purchase agreement prevented her from using the original name. Instead, she opened her new location as Ruth's Chris Steak House. She began franchising the restaurant the next year. The chain since has gone through other owners and, eventually, became a publicly traded company. Today, Ruth's Chris Steak House has more than 130 locations in the United States, Canada, Mexico and throughout the Far East.

Meanwhile, the opening of the Eighth and Main Tower on Feb. 15 is expected to attract between 10,000 and 15,000 to the festivities.

A stage will be erected spanning Main Street just west of Eighth Street, where the Goo Goo Dolls, Allen Stone and Ra Ra Riot will perform. Family activities get under way at 1 p.m. and the official ribbon cutting is set for 6 p.m.

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