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The Gorilla Man and the Empress of Steak: A New Orleans Family Memoir
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The Gorilla Man and the Empress of Steak: A New Orleans Family Memoir

3.43  ·  Rating details ·  63 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
The Gorilla Man and the Empress of Steak is the story of two larger-than-life characters and the son whom their lives helped to shape. Ruth Fertel was a petite, smart, tough-as-nails blonde with a weakness for rogues, who founded the Ruth's Chris Steak House empire almost by accident. Rodney Fertel was a gold-plated, one-of-a-kind personality, a railbird-heir to wealth fro ...more
Hardcover, 293 pages
Published September 2nd 2011 by University Press of Mississippi
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Jun 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Ruth Fertel who founded the famous Ruth's Chris Steak House dynasty was raised very near where I raised my own children and currently still live.
Her brother, Sig owned a great restaurant where members of my own family worked at times.
Ruth's husband Rodney was New Orleans eccentricity at its craziest.
Randy Fertel is their son and tells a thick, spicy gumbo of a tale that is at times so sad I have had to put the book down. It is the story of a Louisiana family thick with Shakespearean drama!
I dr
Jun 23, 2012 rated it liked it
Randy Fertel, son of Ruth Fertel of Ruth's Chris Steak House fame, wrote a biography of his rather dysfunctional family. Besides answering the question of how the restaurant got its fairly awkward name, I learned a lot about New Orleans. The Fertels certainly had a history of odd and strained family relationships, and Randy's father comes across as just shy of insane, so there's a lot of drama to pull in the reader. Fertel has a tendency, unfortunately, to delivery very plodding sentences to des ...more
elisa herr
Sep 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Very fun and interesting look into New Orleans, a special family within it, and Ruth's Chris steakhouse.
Nov 29, 2011 rated it did not like it
I almost feel guilty about this book because I had made a special request for my local library to order it (nobody in the entire county had it). I read 114 pages and then quit. I never even got to the part where the author's mother bought a restaurant(Ruth Chris Steak House). The storytelling is all over the place and it drove me nuts. His parents were quite interesting characters but I couldn't stand the writing.
Clairissa D
This book is a memoir text about the Fertel family in New Orleans and it is also about the history of New Orleans as well. In the text I noticed the author used the drawing out the hot spot throughout the text when certain parts were significant to the readers understanding of the characters and the importance of certain things with in the text. This text would good to use for examples not necessarily for the students to read because it is well above the majority of the students reading levels.
Jan 20, 2016 rated it it was ok
While I respect the fact that the author managed to get a family memoir published, the storytelling is all over the place. Additionally, the author is pretty bitter about his folks, who are the ones who got him where he is. He displays that special sort of legacy New Orleanian racism (are they blacks or Negroes? What exactly is so pesky about those Chitimacha Indians?) unique to the trashier families of the area who think they aren't because they have money.
Mar 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Given my family lived in New Orleans in the late 50's and I so easily remember how the city, particularly the French Quarter , was then, how could I not enjoy this book. The memories of Audubon Zoo and Park, totally different entities than today, were worth the read. Beyond that, the politics and social mores were interesting, as the lady herself, and her close to insane husband. The tolerance of New Orleans politicians to "The Gorilla Man" says it all.
Randy Fertel takes the reader on an open and honest tour through the lives of his parents, Rodney Fertel, a colorful and flamboyant character of independent wealth and his mother, Ruth Fertel, the powerful woman and creator of the sizzzzzling Ruth's Chris Steakhouse franchise. Great read!!
Jan 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this about 2 people from New Orleans and how Ruth built toe great steakhouse chain from almost nothing. A lot of humor in here.
Debbie Waggoner
Mar 03, 2012 rated it did not like it
I can't seem to finish it. Not as good as i hoped.
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