15 Great Women-Owned Steakhouses
This first-ever guide to the best female-owned steakhouses across the country includes luxury destinations, a drive-thru concept, and a premier establishment that's been open for 80 years.
Did you ever stop to think about how many female-owned steakhouses are in this country?
There are, in fact, quite a few, with the modern tradition beginning with Ruth Fertel, who founded Ruth’s Chris Steak House in 1965 (until it went corporate several years later), to Gretta Jackson, a Black woman who started out as a part-time server at Outback Steakhouse and then saved her money to purchase her own Southfield, Michigan, franchise in March 2021. There’s also Jeff Ruby Steakhouse, the sensational Midwestern chain now helmed by Britney Ruby Miller, the daughter of the founder.
Quite a few steakhouses are also independently owned-and-operated by women, and for some restaurateurs, that’s a badge of honor.
“What was important for us was to be this chef-driven steakhouse,” says Kara Callero, owner of Chicago’s ritzy BLVD Steakhouse. “We’re an independent restaurant group. We didn’t want to come across as a chain restaurant. … we wanted to hold onto the integrity of the ingredients that [chef Johnny Besch] has always used and prioritized since the day we first opened.”
Similar to BLVD, the following restaurants prove that women owners take the steakhouse concept as serious as any of the so-called “big boys” of the industry. While they’re putting forth their personal style throughout the spaces, they do not cut corners with what’s expected on the menu.
Here, you’ll find premium cuts of meat, fresh seafood, glamour, and more at these female-owned steakhouses (also read my comprehensive black-owned steakhouse guide).
Owned by Amy Morton, the daughter of steakhouse pioneer Arnie Morton, The Barn is a modern take on the concept and it also pays homage to her father. The restaurant is situated in the North Shore suburb of Evanston in a former brick stable built in 1883. Diners find it by the entrance in the alley, through a vintage barn door, then a lush, velvet curtain leading into an intimate dining room. There, the atmosphere is set for Heritage Angus Beef steaks served with red wine demi-glace and marrow butterball potatoes. Executive chef Debbie Gold’s offerings range from an eight-ounce filet to a 16-ounce dry-aged rib-eye. If that’s not luxe enough, top your steak with truffle butter, parmesan crust, or a roasted South African lobster tail.
Blaze Steak & Seafood (Atlanta)
Kandi Burruss (“Real Housewives of Atlanta” star, Grammy Award winner, entrepreneur) and her husband, Todd Tucker, are behind this splashy steakhouse concept in South Fulton, Georgia, that opened last fall. In addition to a prime New York strip, char-broiled filet, and Delmonico ribeye topped with a Worcestershire reduction, Blaze features many Southern dishes. You’ll find shrimp and grits, charred oysters, seafood fritters, gumbo, and even fried apple pies on the menu. You’ll also spot occasional celebrities rolling through.
Blinkers Tavern (Covington, Ky.)
Sandy Meyer and Gary Ginn celebrate Blinkers’ 10th-year anniversary in 2021. For the past several years, it’s been named northern Kentucky’s “best steak” restaurant. It’s centrally located, with nearby attractions the likes of the Ohio River, Bengals Stadium and an entertainment district. The restaurant is trendy, yet a family-friendly destination. The steaks, which range from a 10-ounce New York strip to prime bone-in rib-eye, are dusted in a signature seasoning, then char-broiled for optimum juiciness. There’s a Thursday-night prime rib dinner special for $25.95.
The Bozeman Trail Steakhouse (Buffalo, Wyoming)
A drive-up window at a steakhouse? That’s the latest addition at Mandy Tuma’s Bozeman Trail, which is especially popular with families. It’s casual and comfy, yet there’s plenty of personality at this rustic establishment at the base of Big Horn Mountains. Guests seated outdoors can take in the spectacular natural views, and inside the dining room is filled with low-slung wooden booths, mounted taxidermy, and other wilderness accents. Speaking of wild game, you’ll find plenty on the menu, including bison sirloin, elk burgers, and Rocky Mountain oysters served with cocktail sauce. Sticking to steak? There’s the “Crazy Woman” rib-eye, a Cajun-seasoned steak smothered with mushrooms, grilled onions, and peppers; bacon-wrapped petite filet; and 18-ounce prime rib.
Anthony and Anna Tusa opened this glitzy seafood and steak-focused eatery in 2017 in a building dating back to the 1800s. Though you’ll find the vibrant colors typically associated with New Orleans in artwork throughout Briquette, it attracts a mostly local clientele because it’s in the Warehouse District instead of the French Quarter. On the menu, there’s Creole gumbo, Louisiana redfish on the half shell with charred lemon butter and Belle River crawfish relish, plus garlic and rosemary-crusted prime rib-eye and a pork porterhouse with a blue cheese crust and pork belly plantain mash.
Double Nickel Steakhouse (Lubbock, Texas)
Lisa West’s restaurant has best been described as an old Western-style saloon transformed into an elegant steakhouse. Scarlet tablecloths, ornate light fixtures, and over-sized vintage mirrors help create the romantic vibe throughout Double Nickel’s dining room. It’s a popular date-night spot in Lubbock with couples indulging in traditional steakhouse fare. Of note are choices meant for two: the New York strip that’s sliced tableside, plus Châteaubriand, and young Australian rack of lamb.
Gatsby’s Joint (Fort Lauderdale, Florida)
A burlesque-style dinner party, weekly comedy series, daily happy hour, and more help make the scene at Elaine Krieger’s restaurant paying homage to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s most memorable character. Gatsby’s Joint is a tip to the Roaring Twenties and modern steakhouse fare simultaneously. There are lamb dumplings, spicy “bang bang” shrimp to share, and Brussels sprouts in kimchi sauce. There’s also a 16-ounce prime rib-eye that pairs well with truffled mashed potatoes with bacon.
This Italian-focused steakhouse has been family owned and operated since 1941. Since co-founder Gene Michelotti passed away in 1989, it’s been primarily run by the women in the family. His widow, Ida Michelotti, sold Gene & Georgetti to her daughter, Marion, with granddaughter Michelle Durpetti now running the day-to-day operations as managing partner. Throughout the pandemic, Durpetti has been on the frontlines with other Chicago restaurant operators to get the industry back on track. You’ll find G&G classics like chicken parmigiani, fried chicken, and veal, plus a host of premium steaks that have been wet aged for a minimum of 21 days.
Gianni's Steakhouse (Wayzata, Minnesota)
A long-time foodservice executive, Terri Huml bought Gianni’s Steakhouse in 2011. It had been open since 1997, and under her ownership, the restaurant was renovated, with an expansion into the next-door space for private events and upgrade for the steak program. They’re all 100 percent hormone and antibiotic free with such prime selections as the 16-ounce American wagyu Delmonico, 22-ounce bone-in rib-eye, and 24-ounce T-bone.
Suzanne Tracht’s modern American chophouse continues to receive accolades 20 years after it debuted. JAR, with its timeless supper club setting, made a cameo in the Academy Award-winning flick “La La Land.” Tracht’s hearty signature pot roast was featured on Food Network’s popular series “The Best Thing I Ever Ate.” And she’s cooked multiple times at the prestigious James Beard House in New York. Of the steak offerings at JAR, the Kansas City prime is the most requested. It’s 16 ounces and dry aged to perfection.
New owners Nicole Flevaris and Andreas Tsakonas, a wife-and-husband duo, have completely renovated Kinzie’s space, making it their own. It’s housed in an 1870s-era building, which was the first in Chicago to have steel beams, and they play up that theme in the remodeled cocktail lounge. They also incorporate their Greek heritage into the restaurant’s concept, making it the first Chicago steakhouse with a Greek gastronomy influence. For example, they’ve added a classic Greek salad, plus lamb chops served with feta-crusted potatoes and Greek butterfly-cut whole roasted chicken. Steak offerings range from a 16-ounce dry aged Delmonico to 24-ounce porterhouse.
Ping Ho, who’s also behind trendy wine bar and shop The Royce, serves as a principal for Marrow, a New American eatery with a whole-animal butcher shop. That’s a first for Detroit, and it’s important to note that the restaurant has been James Beard nominated twice. She’s an outspoken advocate for local farmers and purveyors, and you’ll find many of their products on her menu. In the butcher shop, you’ll find grass-fed, dry-aged New York strip, brisket, chuck roast, tenderloin, rack of lamb, and more.
Soirée Steakhouse & Oyster House (Kansas City, Mo.)
This Kansas City steakhouse is Black owned and woman owned, which is even rarer. Chef and owner Anita Moore is behind the operation at Soirée, which includes seasonal ingredients and New Orleans-inspired bites such as crab cakes in a remoulade sauce, fried green tomatoes, and char-grilled oysters saturated in an herb butter sauce. The steak highlight is a 14-ounce Hawaiian ribeye, but there’s also steak frites with house-made bourbon butter and surf and turf (12-ounce New York strip, garlic herb mash, grilled shrimp, whiskey parmesan cream sauce).
Trotta’s Steak & Seafood (Dayton, Kentucky)
Kathleen Trotta was a hospitality veteran long before she decided to open this intimate steakhouse inspired by classic steakhouses of yesteryear. She relishes in the old-school aspect of the concept, which is why she opened the restaurant in the historic district of Dayton. Inside, much of the interior is reclaimed, with vintage light fixtures and other accents to give the dining room an authentic, romantic vibe. All steaks are hand picked, hand cut, and dry aged, from the 12-ounce New York strip to the 16-ounce prime rib. The signature Trotta’s filet is eight ounces and stuffed with lobster and crab, wrapped in bacon, placed on a demi mushroom glaze and topped with sour cream.
Yes! I will be doing a Route 66 road trip this fall and will see which of these are on my way!
Fantastic guide! Thank you!