Photo courtesy of Kareem Elgazzar
Having celebrities at his restaurants is a common occurrence in Jeff Ruby’s restaurants. In fact, The Precinct, the first of his stable of high-end steakhouses, was founded in 1981 with the backing of several professional athletes in Cincinnati. With that said, Ruby knew even then that the key to having a successful establishment was to not only have great clientele, but to deliver an absolutely incomparable total dining experience, one that is now known as The Jeff Ruby Experience.
The seeds of Ruby's philosophy were first planted in the kitchens of his mother and stepfather’s restaurants on the Jersey shore. It was there he learned the ins-and-outs of the restaurant business - before deciding to leave home at age 15. He earned a high school degree and graduated from Cornell University, supporting himself with a variety of restaurant jobs which further developed his unique culinary and service perspective.
Following graduation, Ruby took a job in 1970 with Winegardner and Hammons' Holiday Inn in downtown Cincinnati. There, he turned a 12th floor bar into the "Den of the Little Foxes" (a lá the Playboy club) at Lucy's in the Sky disco and made it the place to be for those who wanted to see and be seen. His success at Lucy's quickly propelled him to the post of Regional Director of all seven Holiday Inns in Cincinnati, but it was his business philosophy and instincts that earned the confidence of his connections (like Johnny Bench and Pete Rose) who encouraged and financially backed his first steakhouse.
After opening The Precinct in 1981 he followed with The Waterfront in 1986, Jeff Ruby's Steakhouse in 1999, Carlo & Johnny in 2001, Jeff Ruby's Steakhouse at Belterra Casino Resort & Spa in 2004, Jeff Ruby's Steakhouse, Louisville in 2006. Consistency and quality are hallmarks of a Ruby restaurant – a fact shown by the 3 decades of success at The Precinct, Cincinnati’s longest continually-running fine dining restaurant.
Today, Jeff Ruby owns 6 eateries in 3 states and is considered one of the nation's preeminent restaurateurs. Zagat rates his steakhouses higher than any in New York City or Chicago, America's quintessential steak cities. While he's become quite a celebrity in his own right, it is his commitment to the finest food, impeccable service and a total dining experience unlike any other that keep his loyal fans coming back year after year.