New Ruth's Chris to anchor Westin and Holiday Inn YYZ

Celebrating the Grand Opening of Ruth’s Chris – Toronto Airport (L-R): co-franchisees Lana Duke and executive vice-president R. David Duke; Mississauga mayor, Bonnie Crombie; Toronto Ward 1 councillor Etobicoke North, Vincent Crisanti; The Gupta Group president & CEO, Steve Gupta and Toronto Ward 2 councillor, Michael Ford.  (Photo: Lux Photobooths)

Celebrating the Grand Opening of Ruth’s Chris – Toronto Airport (L-R): co-franchisees Lana Duke and executive vice-president R. David Duke; Mississauga mayor, Bonnie Crombie; Toronto Ward 1 councillor Etobicoke North, Vincent Crisanti; The Gupta Group president & CEO, Steve Gupta and Toronto Ward 2 councillor, Michael Ford. (Photo: Lux Photobooths)

TORONTO — Lana and David Duke were on hand Nov. 13 to help open the new Ruth's Chris restaurant between the Holiday Inn Toronto International Airport and Westin Toronto Airport, both managed by The Gupta Group.

“The opening went extremely well,” Lana Duke told CLN.  “I love the look of the new restaurant. It has a great, cozy feel as you walk in and see the bar with people chit-chatting. And what's really nifty is that there are independent rooms for dining that you can break up into four private areas. I'm very excited about the design.”

Said David Duke, “The new restaurant’s four private dining rooms are separated from the general dining area, bar and lounge by a long glass wall. These dining rooms can be used separately or opened up to create larger spaces, and can accommodate 120 diners in total. Each room has a TV or display ready for presentations. It’s all about flexibility.” 

The interior designer for the new restaurant is David Leonardi of Tandem Building Inc. His brother, Italo Leonardi of Leonardi Construction Ltd., completed construction of the striking restaurant.

Ruth's Chris YYZ interior. (Photo: Stephen Uhraney)

Ruth's Chris YYZ interior. (Photo: Stephen Uhraney)

Lana Duke has been involved with the Ruth's Chris organization since she met founder Ruth Fertel in New Orleans in 1968.  She and her son, David, co-own three Ruth's Chris locations in San Antonio, Texas and two in Toronto, the airport location and one at the Hilton Toronto Downtown, which opened ini 1995. They plan to open a third Toronto location in Markham at the Marriott Hotel in late summer 2018.

They closed down the Mississauga Square One Ruth's Chris, and moved to this new location. “We just weren't able to really reach enough of the Ruth's Chris brand market, and the corporate market at the old location,” Duke said, adding that the new location on Dixon has a tremendous local base plus the corporate reach.

“Some staff said they were sad the restaurant was closing because they were used to it, but they went to the new restaurant for training and then it was okay. It's like closing a book and opening a new one,” she added.

At the opening, the Dukes announced that they would be supporting the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada. “My grandson goes to school with a little boy who has leukemia,” Duke explained, adding that David and Sara Wilde, director of sales and marketing, were behind this latest initiative.

Celebrating the new Ruth's Chris location (L-R): Lydia Sabourin; Jesse Melbye, general manager; Rob Horton, director of finance; Lana Duke; R. David Duke; Sara Wilde, director of sales and marketing; Vince Varone.  (Photo:  Stephen Uhraney)

Celebrating the new Ruth's Chris location (L-R): Lydia Sabourin; Jesse Melbye, general manager; Rob Horton, director of finance; Lana Duke; R. David Duke; Sara Wilde, director of sales and marketing; Vince Varone. (Photo: Stephen Uhraney)

Ambience was critical to the construction and design process for
the 7,600 sf restaurant that features a 1,300 sf covered patio. David Leonardi
collaborated with Milton architect John D. Dorris for both the exterior and
interior design. 

“Our goal was to reflect the high quality of cuisine and
service of the Ruth’s Chris brand,” he said. “The look is contemporary with
some nods to the chain’s New Orleans roots. The exterior is stone, stucco and
decorative metal for the formality of symmetry, with angles and soft curves
added to suggest casual elegance. The red stone, medium-grey stucco and
off-white cornices highlighting the crown of the roof are timeless and evoke liveliness.”

Inside, the designer and architect used an elegant colour palette
with predominantly shades of grey punctuated with hints of red and black
accents. “This is a subtle nod to the company’s corporate colours,” Leonardi
said.