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AMERICA'S LOVE AFFAIR WITH STEAKS HEATS UP AS NATION'S HOTTEST STEAKHOUSE COMES TO NEW YORK

 NEW YORK, Aug. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- The New York area steak scene is about to heat up.
 The long-awaited good news for New York, Northern New Jersey and Connecticut beef lovers and steak aficionados is they will no longer have to travel 100 miles to enjoy America's most acclaimed steakhouse.
 Morton's of Chicago, rated top steakhouse by critics and polls throughout the nation, is about to open a restaurant in New York, its first in the tri-state area.
 The newest Morton's steakhouse, conveniently located on East 45th Street, between Madison and Fifth Avenues, will open on Friday, October 1st.
 Until now, New York metropolitan area steak connoisseurs have had to travel to 23 other cities (ranging from Washington, Boston and Philadelphia to Chicago, Denver and Los Angeles) to visit the nation's premier steakhouse.
 The New York restaurant will be the 24th -- and largest -- Morton's of Chicago steakhouse.
 Michael Archer, president of the highly popular and rapidly growing nationwide steakhouse group, promises New Yorkers, "the best steak available anywhere, at any price, served with Midwest warmth and friendliness, in a comfortable, inviting and attractive setting."
 Archer readily acknowledges that New York boasts some of the best steakhouses in the country.
 "But we also know that nobody does it better than Morton's of Chicago, and we're looking forward to proving it to the most demanding and discriminating restaurant customers in America."
 However, even though Morton's has yet to serve it's first porterhouse in Manhattan, the steakhouse may have already won the battle for the hearts and appetites of New Yorkers.
 "We're confident that we'll do well here for several reasons," says Archer. "To begin with, critics and customers alike tell us that Morton's is America's best steakhouse."
 "In addition," says Archer, "we already have a huge number of fans in New York." He explained that, "So many New Yorkers regularly visit the Morton's steakhouses throughout the country that they have become our largest single customer base."
 The new Morton's will seat 150 guests in the steakhouse's two-level dining area.
 In addition, the restaurant features Morton's popular "Boardrooms," beautifully appointed private rooms, seating up to 60. The Boardrooms have Oriental rugs, wood parquet floors, accented with dark mahogany walls, comfortable high-backed chairs and state-of-the-art video and sound technology. They are designed to offer the utmost in comfort, convenience and privacy f ?business and social lunches and dinners.
 Archer said, "Americans continue to have their love affair with steak, but their encounters are apt to be less frequent and more expensive."
 He cited a recent Gallup Poll which found that the typical American's ideal meal consists of: a shrimp cocktail or another seafood appetizer, steak, potatoes and broccoli, bread, and cheesecake.
 "While the nation's per-capita beef consumption has declined by almost 30 percent since 1976," said Archer, "top-of-the-line quality steakhouses are more popular than ever."
 "Today when people do go out for steak, they want only the best," he said. At Morton's of Chicago, which Archer, not surprisingly, says, serves "only the best," the average per-person check is over $53.
 Morton's is nationally known for serving the finest USDA prime, grain-fed aged beef in the country, carefully selected by the company's top-quality purveyors and shipped in fresh (never frozen) from the Midwest.
 The Morton's menu also offers non-beef house specialties: 2-1/2 to 4-1/2 pound whole Maine lobsters flown in fresh daily, Sicilian veal chop, rib lamb chops, whole spring chicken marinated in lemon, oregano and onion, grilled fresh swordfish, shrimp Alexander and a daily fresh fish dish.
 Starters include Gulf shrimp cocktail, oysters on the half shell, smoked Pacific salmon, fresh lump crabmeat cocktail, broiled sea scallops wrapped in bacon, and black bean soup.
 The vegetable selection features Morton's trademark mammoth baked potatoes (hashbrowns, potato skins and lyonnaise potatoes are also available), as well as sauteed fresh spinach and mushrooms, steamed fresh broccoli and steamed fresh asparagus.
 Impossible to resist desserts range from New York cheesecake and chocolate velvet cake to fresh berries and Morton's signature souffles.
 Morton's boasts an extensive wine list, featuring more than 100 imported and domestic wines.
 Morton's patrons are familiar with the steakhouse's trademark food presentation: Examples of the various cuts of meats and other main course selections, along with the fresh vegetables used in the salads and side dishes, are presented on a cart rolled to the table, where the server displays and describes each menu item.
 "To call the servings merely 'generous' is an understatement," says Allen J. Bernstein, president of Morton's of Chicago's parent company, Quantum Restaurant Group. "Huge, awesome, and wow! are the accurate descriptions."
 Actually, the steakhouse's reputation for excellence is worldwide:
 Morton's is so popular with visiting Japanese business executives that each restaurant has menus in Japanese, and the company is currently actively exploring opportunities for international expansion.
 The first Morton's of Chicago steakhouse opened in the heart of the Windy City's Gold Coast District in 1978.
 When Morton's was acquired by Quantum in 1989, there were nine steakhouses in the group.
 Today, as the company celebrates its 15th anniversary, there are 23 Morton's steakhouses throughout the nation -- with more on the way after the New York opening. Archer said the company was "seriously considering" opening additional restaurants in the metropolitan area.
 Restaurant critics and city magazine reader polls have named Morton's the best steakhouse in just about every city where one is located. But, they are also likely to be rated one of a city's overall top restaurants. Even though, as Bernstein likes to point out, "They are classic American steakhouses, with no French or Italian IL, Le or La in front of our name."
 Archer points out that Morton's "superb" prime beef, which is always in short supply, and never available in supermarket meat departments, is prepared by expert steak chefs, using professional broilers, at extremely high temperatures, along with other requirements unlikely to be able to be duplicated either at home or even by many restaurants.
 Only 2 percent (or 20 pounds) of a 1,000 pound prime steer qualifies for use by Morton's because it uses only the rib, the loin and the tenderloin -- the most tender parts -- for its steaks.
 Archer said, "The conventional wisdom in the foodservice industry is that attempting to replicate a successful, upscale, top-quality restaurant in multiple locations is a recipe for losses." He noted that "Morton's of Chicago has demonstrated the fallacy of that 'wisdom'."
 Restaurant Business lists Morton's of Chicago as 29th among this year's list of America's top 50 growth chains. And the company is 15th among growth leaders by sales, according to Restaurants & Institutions magazine.
 Archer said he was gratified by comments made by Mark H. McCormack, the well-known entrepreneur and best-selling author, who wrote in his Successful Secrets newsletter:
 "Morton's is a thoroughly extraordinary steakhouse. This shouldn't come as a surprise to devotees of the original Morton's, founded by Arnold Morton, in Chicago. The menu is a la carte and expensive, the ambiance is plush but understated, the service is crisp and professional. What amazes me is how the Morton's chain has managed to expand and at the same time maintain its high standards.
 "This is not something you ordinarily see in restaurants with such obviously upmarket ambitions. Quality and personal service tend to decline as empires grow, particularly in the restaurant business. It's an interesting trend in the American service market, and one that entrepreneurs shouldn't ignore."
 Quantum's Bernstein says, "The Sultan of Brunei can't buy a better steak."
 The Quantum Restaurant Group (NASDAQ: QRST) is headquartered in Roslyn Heights, N.Y.
 -0- 8/30/93
 /CONTACT: Mary Jo Newberg of Morton's of Chicago, 312-923-0030, or Sanford Teller of Sanford Teller Communications, 212-421-9430/
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CO: Morton's of Chicago ST: New York IN: FOD SU: LEI

LD-OS -- NY006 -- 7042 08/30/93 11:02 EDT
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Date:Aug 30, 1993
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