Ruth's Chris Steak House Has A Weirdly Strict Dress Code

Dress codes might seem like a thing of the past or even something relegated to schools or wedding invitations. But in some areas of the American dining scene, they are very much alive. We aren't talking about instructions as to what employees are to wear, either. Rather, restrictions on the attire of restaurant patrons themselves. On the surface, it might seem that a dress code can help a restaurant curate a desired ambiance, like requiring men to wear collared shirts and/or jackets in a fancy, white tablecloth establishment. However, in recent years a number of scholars and journalists have delved into the racist background of dress codes and the problematic — and often random — way they are enforced.

Restaurants have also come under fire for having dress codes. In one instance, Atlas Group, a restaurant group in Baltimore, Maryland, was accused of selectively applying its own dress code to Black patrons and not white diners. In another, a U.K. sushi restaurant posted a "sexy shoes" policy for women to disastrous results. Despite these negative connotations, many restaurants still enforce — or at least strongly suggest — certain types of dress for patrons. Ruth's Chris Steak House is one such restaurant chain, and their dress code can be weirdly strict.

Bring fascinators and leave baseball caps at home

On its website, Ruth's Chris Steak House states that the restaurant's aim is to "promote a comfortable, family-friendly, and welcoming atmosphere for everyone." Part of that includes providing a list of what they ask guests not to wear. There's a prohibition on clothing with offensive graphics or language, which seems like common sense. They also ban exposed undergarments. Leave your cutoff shorts and tank tops at home too, because they are not welcome at Ruth's Chris.

From there, the restrictions veer a little towards being old-fashioned. Hats are not allowed in the main dining room — unless they happen to be fascinators or cocktail hats. Ball caps, along with team jerseys, are only allowed in the bar area. This restriction on headwear harkens back to a time when hats denoted social standing, and removing one was seen as a sign of respect. For now, it seems Ruth's Chris sees the benefits of their dress code as outweighing any negative feedback, so keep this in mind next time you head out for a steak dinner at an upscale restaurant. There's no word on whether any person wearing a fascinator would be acceptable, or if a fancy baseball hat trimmed with lace and feathers would make it past the host stand.