Most people who know me know that I love Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, a lot. I have been going to various Ruth’s Chris locations for special and sometimes not as special occasions for twenty years now. At some point it turned from the occasional nice night out to a desire to go to every single location (and I can happily say I’ve been to many more than once!). I’m not sure when it happened, it just did.
I had been going to lots of locations because a) I love steak and b) most RC locations have been phenomenal experiences. It is a rare thing when almost all locations in a chain provide great food and great service. One of the tricks I have for getting to so many Ruth’s Chris locations is that when I’m traveling for work/conferences I try and see if there’s a new Ruth’s Chris nearby and can I squeak out some time to get out there with colleagues. (It also helped that I lived for four years in California so was able to cover almost all of them while I was there!) The completionist in me even checks each location off as I visit on their quick card that shows you all the locations.
At the end of 2012 I had been to my 38th and 39th different Ruth’s Chris locations. I was figuring #40 should be a special occasion and my husband mentioned my birthday was coming up. So I thought why not ask Ruth’s Chris themselves for suggestions for a location I haven’t been to within driving distance (which doesn’t leave many options :>) that would be spectacular, e.g. spectacular architecture/design, spectacular view, something.
What happened since then was nothing short of amazing.
5 March 2013: I reached out to Ruth’s Chris on Facebook with a small inquiry. After a few messages back and forth over the next couple days not only had the corporate organization found me in their system but also had researched and tracked down two new locations they thought would fit the bill. They even explained their choices and passed along a few other tips as well.
After a brief discussion with my husband the decision was made and we had decided to make #40 the restaurant located in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. This would be my 40th distinct Ruth’s Chris location but it would also (FINALLY!) be my 1st non-US location as well!
16 March 2013: The hotel room is booked and we’re now set for a night at the Four Points by Sheraton in Niagara Falls where you can literally take the elevator down to the lower level and walk to the restaurant without ever leaving the hotel – WOOHOO!
5 April 2013: My husband and I cross the border, arrive at our hotel, unpack, stretch out from the long drive, and get dressed in some of our finest to head down to dinner.
When we check in at the restaurant one of the hostesses goes “I know who you are – you’re our special guest!” and proceeds to take us on a tour of the restaurant. Note: This location is not like any other location, it was literally built around another restaurant in the hotel and so it is VERY long and people could probably do laps and get good exercise walking it – I don’t know how the servers (and especially the hosts in heels) do it!
Once we’re done with the tour we’re taken back to our table, one of the best in the place, where we’re presented with two glasses of champagne and an envelope. Inside the envelope is a gift card from Ruth’s Chris that’s large enough to cover our entire meal. On top of that is a message congratulating me on making it not only to my 40th different Ruth’s Chris, but my first international one, a line saying the champagne was on them, and it also wished me a happy birthday!
From there we were treated like royalty with special attention paid to us the entire way. The server had memorized my favorites and what I usually order, the managers and hosts all came to see how our meal was going and what we thought of our location, and even the desert was delivered with a special personalized message (as opposed to the typical “happy birthday!” message often written on the plate).
At the end of the entire meal we were treated to a visit by the chef and had a great time conversing with many of the staff about which restaurants I’ve been to, how theirs was different, etc. and why I love Ruth’s Chris so much.
I have taken many people to Ruth’s Chris to introduce them to the amazingness that is steak served on hot plates and butter melted all over it and this is exactly why. Ruth’s Chris continues to try and deliver wonderful food with wonderful service. That they went through the trouble of contacting the restaurant after my inquiry and set all that up shows their commitment to treating customers as they deserve to be treated both in AND out of their restaurants.
I’d like to end with a thank you to my husband who traveled on the long road trip there and back with me and a BIG thank you to Ruth’s Chris for orchestrating the whole thing. I can’t wait to go back!