Steak Houses
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The word Steak comes from the Old Norse word Steikja which means to roast on a spit which we have surpassed on the way to making a good steak a symbol of the American Dream.

 The Oxford Companion to American Food & Drink by Andrew F. Smith traces steak houses from the dining halls common across Europe since 1500, and also to the no-frills working class chop houses and beefsteak clubs of Victorian era Britain. The first forebearers of today’s Steak Houses started appearing in the big Northeast cities in the late 18th Century.  The so called chop houses and porter houses (named for the porter style beer customarily served there) usually served large cuts from the short loin of British-breed steers and heifers.  Early recipes stipulated that the steak be Pan Fried, but eventually they were grilled or broiled and served starkly on a plate. The real heyday for steak houses arrived in the late 19th century with the advent of the refrigerated railcar which permitted the shipment of huge quantities of beef to the great meatpacking centers of Chicago and New York where a distinctly masculine and robust beef eating culture flourished.  The 1894 publication of “The Epicurean,” published by legendary New York restaurant Delmonico’s, includes almost 100 recipes for steak.  

Today Best Cooking Methods for Steak and the choice of cuts at the classic steak houses vary and are the subject of endless debate.

Suburban and budget steak houses began to proliferate in the 50’s & 60’s as other national brands grew along the interstates. Del Johnson of Sizzler was one of the first, literally selling the “Sizzle” and serving Top Sirloin and a New York Cut on a sizzling hot metal plate on a wooden charger for 99 cents for a steak, baked potato and a green salad with one cherry tomato.

Today there is proliferation of high-end Steak Houses. They range from the chef-driven modern steak houses like Craftsteak, Maestro’s, Bourbon Steak and others  to the more traditional, old-school steak places like Bern’s Steak House in Tampa, Fl, Gene & Georgetti’s in Chicago, The Pacific Dining Car in Los Angeles, Gorat’s Steak House in Omaha Nebraska, Peter Lugers in Brooklyn and Sparks Steakhouse in Manhattan, NY.