Here's Where Ruth's Chris Really Gets Its Meat From

Ruth's Chris brands itself as a high-quality steakhouse experience. The chain restaurant group has more than 150 locations between the United States, Canada, and Mexico, and is known for its upscale trappings and price tags to match (via The Daily Meal). According to the restaurant's website, founder Ruth Fertel purchased a New Orleans restaurant that was then known as Chris Steak House after mortgaging her home for $22,000 back in 1965. But when a fire destroyed the restaurant, Ruth was forced to relocate, and the new location came with an updated moniker: from Chris Steak House to Ruth's Chris Steak House.

Ruth ended up jumping on the franchising bandwagon, which so many other chain restaurants have done through the years; it's a process that was actually popularized by KFC. Ruth began franchising her establishment in 1977, only a year after the original location was destroyed and relocated. These days, Ruth's Chris is a highly regarded restaurant chain, and it's known to be quite expensive. But from where do these franchises actually source their costly meat?

Ruth's Chris sources its meat from several places

It turns out that Ruth's Chris does not serve exclusively grass-fed beef. According to their website FAQ, the restaurant serves meat from cows that start out on a grass-fed diet, but eventually switch to being corn-fed as a way of getting a more specific "flavor and quality" of meat. Ruth's Chris does inform patrons on its website that it receives its beef from "nationally recognized premium beef suppliers" and that all meat meets the USDA guidelines for grading, quality, testing, and more.

The question has plagued diners for a long time. In searching for an answer, a Chicago food forum pulled the company's 2010 annual report, which listed several of Ruth's Chris' suppliers, the main one being New City Packing Company, Inc., which is based in Aurora, Illinois. The restaurant group lists different suppliers in their Securities and Exchange Commission annual report for 2020, noting that the brand sources the majority of their beef from Stock Yards Packing and multinational Sysco Specialty Meat Group. So if you're the kind of person who makes sourcing a priority when eating meat, now you can make an informed decision about the kind of steakhouse experience that best fits your needs.