How Manhattan’s Legendary steakhouse continues a 146-yearold tradition in its Atlantic City and Vegas Venues
Photos By Premiere Digital
When the iconic Old Homestead Steakhouse first opened its doors in the heart of Manhattan’s meatpacking district in 1868, wealthy patrons from near and far flocked to dine on a complete sirloin steak dinner for the then-steep sum of eight cents. Well-appointed and stocked with only the finest cuts of beef, the eatery soon became legendary as one of New York’s most aristocratic restaurants. And in the late 1940s, less than a decade after being hired at the illustrious dinner destination as a dishwasher, Harry Sherry took sole ownership of the Old Homestead and made it his own.
“We learned everything we know from our grandfather…even when we didn’t realize we were learning,” noted Greg Sherry, grandson to Harry, who, together with his brother, Marc, currently directs all aspects of operations at Old Homestead locations in New York, Atlantic City, and Las Vegas. “When our grandfather saw that we had an interest in the business, he made sure we started out where every hire started, washing dishes, so we never forgot where we came from. It’s something that has helped us to never lose sight of the importance of continuing tradition—and that also means being involved in every aspect of the business, from the kitchen to the dining room, from ordering to bookkeeping.”
Bridging traditional fare with fresh, imaginative creations, the Sherry brothers, who still hand-select the beef themselves, honor the restaurant’s storied past. Tales of Jackie Gleason arriving straight from The Honeymooners set in his bus driver’s uniform for an order of lobster thermidor, double-cut porterhouse, and a scotch-on-the-rocks, and anecdotes about Frank Sinatra running a tab on filet mignon, champagne, and wine still circulate among staff and guests.
As an investment in the restaurant’s future, the brothers have recently expanded the brand.
“Although we consistently turned down offers to open other Old Homestead Steakhouse locations, a little over a decade ago, we went against the grain,” noted Marc. “This was a unique opportunity, because we partnered with another iconic and successful brand.”
Located in the Borgata, one of the most successful casinos in Atlantic City, the venture provided an opportunity for the Old Homestead to reach a new audience—and every detail of which was planned by the brothers.
“We worked with Dugal Design of Las Vegas to modernize the traditional steakhouse environment,” Marc explained. “One of the most exciting features is two levels of dining space; from the second level, diners can see everything happening on the main floor, creating a club-like atmosphere. You can’t walk into any other popular steakhouse like the Palm, Smith & Wollensky, and Mortons and see 60-foot ceilings. Of course, we brought our iconic [brand mascot] Annabelle the Cow to Borgata, but with a different presentation. We commissioned renowned artist and filmmaker Julian Schnabel to hand-paint a life-size image of Annabelle, which hangs on the wall of the main floor. We also opted for rich cherry wood rather than oak paneling, for a more modern look.”
The menu, of course, did not change.
“[That’s] one thing constant at our restaurants,” Marc said. “Old Homestead Borgata, like our flagship, offers the five main food groups—beef, beef, beef, beef, and beef. It’s what people want when they dine with us—enormous cuts of prime, USDA beef that’s dry aged in our New York scientifically controlled aging boxes. You will find our signature sirloins, filet mignon on the bone, and 36-ounce trademarked Gotham rib steak on the menu in Atlantic City. We get our beef for Old Homestead at Borgata from the same purveyors that serve our flagship. You will also find our whale-size lobster, gargantuan shrimp, and everything else our patrons have come to expect.”
The collaboration worked: the Atlantic City Old Homestead has been named by Zagat as Atlantic City’s top restaurant for two consecutive years. And at all three branches (a third location opened at Vegas’s Caesar’s Palace in 2011) the Sherry brothers continue to honor the standards their grandfather set so many years ago.
“It’s a lot of pressure to live up to,” said Marc. “But I think we meet the challenge every time customers walk through our doors.” Greg Sherry agrees.
“We provide what people want when they come to a premier steakhouse like Old Homestead — enormous cuts of the highest quality prime USDA dry-aged beef,” he concluded. “But we also have changed with the times, modernizing a traditional steakhouse environment — again, because that’s what people want when they come to a steakhouse. They want tradition, big steaks, and quality beef.”
Old Homestead Atlantic City
One Borgata Way, Atlantic City / 609.317.1000