It looks like Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse’s Louisville location is there to stay.
Though many Louisville restaurants have been forced to close due to the coronavirus pandemic, Jeff Ruby’s won’t be one of them. The Cincinnati-based steakhouse owner wrote an open letter to Louisville customers to assure them the downtown Louisville location of the restaurant at 325 W. Main St. has no intentions to close.
“We have never been more committed to a community than we are now in Louisville and we are in this for the long haul,” founder and chairman Jeff Ruby wrote in the letter. “Unfortunately, many businesses were forced to close their doors permanently. We are not one of them. Our Louisville team is focused. Our Louisville business is sound. And our Louisville resolve is stronger than ever. Thanks to your loyal support, we were able to reopen, and we are staying open.”
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Ruby also noted significant contributions the company has made recently to groups like racial solidarity movement Undivided, The Lee Initiative and the new Responsible Bar & Restaurant Coalition as evidence of the steakhouse’s “renewed commitment” to the city as it continues to see daily protests.
Some downtown businesses have expressed anxiety over property damage and safety during the protests, which have been active downtown for more than 75 days to demand justice for Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman and emergency room technician who was unarmed when shot and killed by police inside her home in March.
The dry aged bone-in strip steak at Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse in Louisville. (Photo: Jeff Ruby)
Last week, Karen Williams, the head of the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau, said it is the pandemic, not the protests, that is the “true force of economic devastation for Louisville businesses,” which have lost $350 million in economic impact since the pandemic took hold in March.
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“We cannot (and) should not blame the lack of business downtown on protests,” Williams said. “… COVID is the reason where we are today.”
Jeff Ruby has donated to causes connected to both the protests and the coronavirus pandemic in response. The Lee Initiative has been operating a Restaurant Workers Relief Program for out-of-work service employees, and the Responsible Bar and Restaurant Coalition was founded by a group of Louisville restaurants pledging to operate under strict safety and sanitation rules in an effort to prove safely-run restaurants are not places COVID-19 can spread.
Jeff Ruby takes those sanitation guidelines quite seriously. In a previous interview, company president and CEO Britney Ruby Miller said the company’s “COVID-19 Playbook” is nearly 50 pages long. The restaurant is reservation-only, with a maximum party size of 10 and a limited amount of indoor guests. All staff wear masks and are screened daily for symptoms of the virus.
Despite the strict safety measures, Ruby Miller said her father, the founder and chairman of the brand, “never let us waiver from who we are.”
Next year, Jeff Ruby steakhouse will be celebrating its 15th anniversary in Louisville.
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Jeff Ruby Steakhouse’s meal kit bags. (Photo: Jeff Ruby)
“We owe this milestone to you and an extended family that has been there to help you celebrate your lives at our restaurant,” Ruby wrote. “This extended family completed the industry’s most advanced and thorough sanitation training program ever. They are eager to see you, serve you, and help you enjoy yourselves. The Jeff Ruby Experience is all yours once again.”
Jeff Ruby is open Tuesday to Sunday 4:30-9 p.m. Visit jeffruby.com/louisville to make a reservation.
Reporter Ben Tobin contributed to this report. Dahlia Ghabour: 502-582-4497; [email protected]; Twitter: @dghabour. Support strong journalism by subscribing today: courier-journal.com/subscribe
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