Thursday, February 19, 2009

Good-bye, Rae & Jerry's?

Rumor 'round the dinner table tonight is that Rae & Jerry's Steakhouse on Portage Avenue at Omand's Creek, will become the location of a Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, which bills itself "the world's largest fine dining company." It was not known if Rae & Jerry's will continue at a new location (hard to imagine), or if Ruth's Chris plans for a new building.

A scene from Martin Scorsese's Goodfella's--not shot in Rae & Jerry's, but close

Anyway, Rae & Jerry's is a legendary spot for Winnipeg's almost-at-the-top social classes, and a vestige of late '50s and early '60s restaurant decor (and service, often) that looks every bit 1960 today as it did in, well, 1960. They also happen to serve the best Black Russians in town. And for this, I would miss this old institution were it disappear.

It may also be that Ruth's Chris is planning to open up somewhere downtown (their four existing Canadian steakhouses are in downtown locations). In any event, two things are fairly certain: that Ruth's Chris is coming to Winnipeg (as far as chain establishments curing civic inferiority complexes, how high do pricey steakhouses rank?) ; and that Rae & Jerry's is great, especially their Black Russians.

EDIT - Turns out that Rae & Jerry's is not going anywhere, as there are no plans to re-locate, sell, or close down. So, the white shoes will continue to pad across the red carpet into the future.


Blogger thebanana said...

I could never get my head around the poor grammar of "Ruth's Chris". What the hell is that anyway?

12:41 PM  
Anonymous kid zubaz said...

This won't really offer anything new. It'll be just another point on the Winnipeg steak continuum that goes something like this:

529 > Hy's > Rae & Jerry's > The Keg > Round Table

And yeah, what is up with that "Ruth's Chris"? I don't know that I could eat a steak at a place with such a stupid-sounding name.

1:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, stupid name, and more and more it's as if the regular patrons of the big steakhouses are really engaged in a form of expense-subsidized ego masturbation, since the food really isn't that good in the end.

But @ Rob, this "Rae's is moving" rumor comes up almost once a year, and once a year, the current owners deny it. They seem quite happy to have the market they've got, and good on them for keeping it happy.

2:20 PM  
Blogger The Great Canadian Talk Show said...

Ruth, a single mother, bought the New Orlean's fixture Chris Steak House. After a fire destroyed the original location, she re-opened on Broad Street. Only the original restaurant could be called by the original name, so to retain the goodwill accrued in the community she had to change the name slightly and started over. The franchising came later. It's fabulous steak.

7:34 PM  
Blogger thebanana said...

Thanks for the explanation. It's still stupid.

10:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As Winnipeg seems hell-bent on destroying anything of value I would be both devastated and unsurprised to find Rae & Jerry's swallowed by some large conglomerate.

Hopefully the last edit made is true and it's sticking around. The quality of the food is slightly beside the point... the place is classic (except the bathrooms - reno gone wrong there).

A menu with steak, pickerel and tomato juice combined with the decor is all that's needed to make it top of the list when we come by Winnipeg.

11:05 AM  
Blogger CMPerry said...

Well, I just discovered this now, having taken my girlfriend there for her birthday on Feb. 20th. And it was a fine evening. Glad to see R&J's isn't going anywhere yet. The unchanged '60s, heck, '50s, ambience is what I love about the place. And the food, although I thought the broccoli side-vegetable was a little skimpy, portion-wise, and they could probably update that appetizers menu a bit. I had the big rib steak, with french fries and a side of fried mushrooms. Yum.
I still miss The Suburban in Brandon, too.

7:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There used to be a steak house on Portage, close to the downtown area with a cow on the roof. Was this Rae and Jerry's or was it another steakhouse restaurant?

12:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Rae and Jerry's Make the Restaurant full of appeal and enthusiasm
not just take what you can get live a Full Balanced Life
respect the process and keep coming back do not over Kill every time out.
Like a Wrestler said to Hulk Hogan do not be the total Package do not do too
much Hulk but be part of the Process. Dig It Got It Live It.?

6:10 PM  

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