A lot of restaurants claim to put their city or town on the map. But when Okeechobee Steakhouse opened in West Palm Beach, Florida, on an October day in 1947, there wasn’t an atlas or road that could even find the place. Just like everything else at the restaurant, stories from those early days are passed down through generations. Current proprietor Ralph Lewis, the grandson of the original owner, also Ralph, recounts the tale.
“It was so far out of town, they couldn’t even get deliveries,” he says. “They told my grandfather the restaurant would never make it this far out in the boondocks. But first night they opened they were on a two-hour wait, and the place has been busy like that ever since, for 70 years.”
Okeechobee Steakhouse holds the title as Florida’s oldest steakhouse, celebrated seven decades in business the most fitting way possible: by dry-aging some 38-ounce cuts for 70 days. They used the same process Lewis’ grandfather invented in the 1930s, and the same one the restaurant deploys today
In a restaurant industry rife with trends that flit in and out of conscious by the hour, delivery-only models, robot-flipping burgers, and countless other innovations, Okeechobee Steakhouse really hasn’t turned a 180 since Ralph and Norma Lewis brought it to life. The restaurant has, of course, adjusted over the years, but the heart of the experience remains in line with its original vision.
Expect no foodie lingo here, no “artisan” this or “hand-crafted” that, no menus tripped up in adjectives. Expect no calculated stabs at branding or ambiance. You won’t find proclamations of culinary hipdom here. But you will find a mighty fine steak. They have developed their own exclusive aging process for beef- it’s a decade old guarded family SECRET… creating a succulent flavor that will leave your taste buds begging for one more bite.
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