Ruth's Chris

05 Mar 2024

Celebrating 15 years in Wilmington

By Judy Royal  »  Photos by G. Frank Hart

Whether it's a special celebration or just a regular evening, Wilmington's Ruth's Chris Steak House promises to offer something to fit a variety of occasions and budgets.

“Not only is it the fine-dining experience you've come to expect from Ruth's Chris, but we do have tiers in between that everyone can enjoy, whether you're looking to spend $20, $50, or $100,” says General Manager Kyle Falabella. 

The restaurant's Sizzle, Swizzle, & Swirl menu, available in the bar and patio areas Sunday through Friday from 4-7 p.m., offers discounted food items, including a full burger meal for $15 and a Chicken Caesar Salad with house-made dressing and croutons for $13. There's also the popular Steak Sandwich, which features sliced tenderloin, and several full-size appetizers – all of which you can pair with a $4 domestic beer as well as an extensive lineup of wine, mixed drinks, and hand-crafted cocktails. 

Of course, the Ruth's Chris regular menu is available seven nights per week in all parts of the restaurant and has the steaks, chops, chicken, seafood, and sides for which the established brand is known. There is also a Ruth's Classics prix fixe special menu that includes a soup or salad, entrée, personal side, and dessert for $54.95 or $59.95, depending on the entrée you choose. In addition, there are plenty of options for those with specialty diets such as gluten-friendly, keto, and pescatarian/vegetarian.

Wine is also a focal point of the experience at Ruth's Chris, which has Level 3 Sommelier Mike Summerlin on staff. He is working toward his Master Sommelier certification, an achievement held by only 273 people worldwide. All staff members, however, are knowledgeable about wine and can help guests choose the perfect glass or bottle. Be sure to check out the Wine & Spirit Dinner series lineup with events planned monthly through November. The schedule is available on the restaurant's Facebook and
Instagram pages.

If you're planning to host an event such as a birthday party, rehearsal dinner, or business meeting, Ruth's Chris has plenty of options. There are private dining spaces that can accommodate groups from 12 to 50 in the interior Regatta Room and up to 70 in the outdoor pergola, Cape Fear Terrace. Breakfast and lunch meetings outside of the restaurant's regular business hours may also be arranged. (There are no room rental fees but various food/beverage minimums, depending on the space). 

In addition, Ruth's Chris offers off-site catering as a preferred vendor at many Wilmington event venues and can even come to your home or office with an array of menu options, including the signature chef-carved tenderloin. Stephanie Birkmeyer, the Executive Catering Sales and Private Dining Manager handling the North Carolina region, is available to assist with making your event memorable.

Craving some Ruth's Chris but don't feel like leaving your car? The restaurant's curbside service allows you to place your order online or through DoorDash, find the valet area on the third floor of the parking garage, and wait while your food is brought out to you.

Ruth's Chris has been a staple of downtown Wilmington since 2009, when it opened in the former Hilton Wilmington Riverside, now Hotel Ballast. The restaurant moved in January 2022 to its current location at River Place and boasts over 7,000 square feet for inside dining and a large outdoor space that includes firepits and a temperature-controlled pergola, allowing sweeping views of the Cape Fear River with front-row seating for nightly sunsets and July Fourth fireworks. Parking for up to three hours is free, and valet service
is available.

Steve de Castro owns the Wilmington Ruth's Chris, along with eight other locations, including three in the Triangle area. He currently lives in Wilmington and has been with the company since 1985, even working directly with Founder Ruth Fertel, who risked her life savings in 1965 by buying a small steak restaurant in New Orleans and building a brand famous for steaks cooked in a proprietary 1,800-degree broiler.

Falabella says the Wilmington location prides itself on being part of the community, right down to the nautical elements and local artwork that can be found decorating the restaurant. Ruth's Chris stands out because of its impeccable customer service bolstered by an extensive training process and other special touches, he adds.

“Every server and bartender is trained to make our Bananas Foster tableside,” says Falabella. “You get a show with it.” 

The camaraderie between team members translates into a pleasant environment that only heightens the guest experience, says Birkmeyer.

“Our staff is like family,” she says. “A lot of people have been here for a long time. We really enjoy working here and working together. We're a happy staff, and we're like family.”

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