LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT)- Jeff Ruby owns upscale restaurants in Cincinnati and Louisville, and now he plans to add Lexington to the list.
At Thursday Night Live in downtown Lexington, Ruby signed a lease to build a Jeff Ruby's Steakhouse at Limestone and Vine.
The seeds of Jeff Ruby's success were planted when he was just a boy working in his family's restaurants on the Jersey Shore.
"I started cooking in my mother's kitchen when I was 13 years old. I fired my 1st chef when I was 13. And I'm still firing them," said Jeff Ruby.
After graduating from Cornell University, he took a job in downtown Cincinnati where he quickly made a name for himself.
His connections to Cincinnati Reds stars Johnny Bench and Pete Rose helped him open his first steakhouse The Precinct in 1981.
"The product that we have draws a lot of celebrities, a lot of movie stars, a lot of rock stars, a lot of jock stars. They come to our places, and when they come, they ask for me." Ruby said they already know about him.
From George Clooney to Muhammad Ali, famous faces fill the walls of Ruby's restaurants, but you don't have to be a celebrity to get what he calls the Jeff Ruby Experience.
Ruby said "We try to treat everyone like a celebrity. I think that's what separated us from other restaurants. We try to make everyone feel special. And treat everyone like a celebrity because they're important. Everyone is important."
Sports memorabilia is a common sight in Jeff Ruby's restaurants. Here in Cincinnati you'll see a lot of Cincinnati Reds and Bengals. And he plans to take his passion for sports to Lexington with rooms dedicated to Keeneland and the Wildcats.
"I got a UK ring from the national championship. Actually have one from Tubby too," Ruby said.
This UK fan feels right at home in the Bluegrass. "I love the city, it's a good restaurant city, great people there."
Jeff Ruby's Steakhouse in downtown Lexington will feature live entertainment and a dinner menu with everything from seafood to the famous steaks. He hopes it's another recipe for success.
"People digest the ambience with every bite of steak and every sip of their wine. They don't go to my restaurant because they're hungry. They can go to their refrigerator when they're hungry. They go to celebrate life."
Ruby says once construction begins on Jeff Ruby's Steakhouse, it should open about a year later. This will be the first restaurant he is building; all the others are in pre-existing buildings.