JUPITER, Fla. — Florida's oldest steak house is expanding to a new location in Jupiter on Friday.
It won't be called Okeechobee Steakhouse, but instead, Lewis Steakhouse, because they say that will help eliminate confusion when booking reservations.
Ralph Lewis' family has owned Florida's oldest steakhouse for a while.
"We've owned Okeechobee steakhouse 75 years," said Lewis
The family and "Steak"holders know a thing or two about running a restaurant. And are opening a new location. It's taken longer than expected.
"There's a laundry list of obstacles," Lewis admitted.
The family took over the old Giuseppe’s spot in Jupiter's Chasewood Plaza in June of 2022.
"When we purchased it in June was to open in November of ' 21," said Lewis.
But getting the basics, like stoves, or even Crown Royle took a while and pushed back opening by over six months.
"The supply chain issue is affecting everything from glassware, flatware, plates, even napkins and to-go bags," said Lewis.
ON TOP OF construction delays
"We couldn't get sheetrock," Lewis said.
ON TOP OF a labor shortage.
"We pay dishwashers $17/hour we pay line cooks $25/hour and up. We offer health insurance, dental, a week's paid vacation, so we care about our people," said Lewis.
Plus major holidays off, unheard of in the restaurant industry, like Christmas, Thanksgiving, Labor Day, Memorial Day and the Fourth of July.
Lewis admits he is ruffling feathers in the restaurant industry.
"I've had a few comments from some wanting to know how and why we're paying an offer and how we can offer that and you just you just have to figure it out. If you're a smart savvy business owner, you'll figure it out.," Lewis said.
ON TOP OF inflation irritation
"There is some food that went up a 150%," complained Lewis.
And with books going back decades, they can prove it.
"We've seen food go up more last year than in the last 75 years," said Lewis.
Restaurants, in pre-pandemic time, have a business model with roughly a 25% profit margin.
"No one in the restaurant business has hit those kind of numbers today. No way," said Lewis. "You can stay afloat, you just have to stay busy."
For guests, the free birthday dinner offer continues like at The Okeechobee Steakhouse. And the Lewis Steakhouse will have a signature menu item of a steak flight for two.