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‘Everything I have, you gave me, Cincinnati’: Jeff Ruby thanks city ahead of street dedication

<i>WLWT</i><br/>The restaurant industry is tough
The restaurant industry is tough

By Danielle Dindak

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    CINCINNATI (WLWT) — The restaurant industry is tough, collaborative, passionate, and all about good taste. That comes close to defining one man and his steakhouse empire, but there is no one like Jeff Ruby.

“Everything I have, you gave me, Cincinnati,” Ruby said.

He has decades of influence in the restaurant scene and has dedicated much of his life to charity efforts. With a street renaming ceremony, Ruby will be recognized on Thursday for his contributions and dedication to the community.

The street will be called “Jeff Ruby Way.”

“I don’t know what to say other than to thank the people who took me in, accepted me, tolerated me, and included me in their lives,” Ruby said. “They let me be me, which wasn’t easy.”

Ruby’s name is synonymous with the city he loves, but his legacy stretches far beyond Cincinnati.

“You know, there’s a right way, there’s a wrong way, and there’s my way,” Ruby said. “Anyone that was really successful did it their way.”

He was a Jersey Boy with humble beginnings, but his path always led to the restaurant business and Cincinnati. He started his career at Perkins. After school, he climbed up at the Holiday Inn, eventually becoming the Regional General Manager. His one work stipulation was that he wanted to live in Cincinnati.

“I told them I want to start in Cincinnati because I’m a Reds fan,” Ruby said. “Go figure, a New Jersey kid, and I was a Reds fan.”

The Reds fan would never imagine where his career would take him next.

“Ironically, Johnny Bench and Pete Rose backing me in my first restaurant Sparky Anderson, the manager, being like a dad to me,” Ruby said.

Ruby was on the road to success and was backed by members of the Big Red Machine. The Precinct is the first of his many restaurants, and it opened its doors in 1981.

“The Precinct just took off,” Ruby said. “It just beyond what I thought it would. It was just incredible.”

More than four decades later, The Precinct is the longest-operating fine dining restaurant in the city.

Ruby’s empire stretches from Nashville to Columbus, with restaurants in between.

“My favorite restaurant is my next one,” Ruby said.

He is a pioneer who dedicates his time to giving back but is unapologetically himself; that is Jeff Ruby’s way.

“The only reason there’s a Jeff Ruby Way is because Cincinnati let me do things the Jeff Ruby way,” Ruby said.

Jeff Ruby’s restaurants are recognized as among the top steakhouses in the United States.

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