RIDGEWOOD, N.J. — Four women who came into Smith Brothers Steak and Chophouse were greeted by longtime owner Ron Smith and a plate of fresh mozzarella on the house.
They had just finished dinner at a new eatery down the block but came to Smith’s restaurant because they were still hungry.
“My goal is just to take care of everyone," Smith told Daily Voice.
Treating customers like family is the "secret" of his said Smith, as his business approaches its 35th anniversary.
When he and his brother, Geoffery Smith, cut the ribbon on the steakhouse in December 1980, it became one of a half-dozen or so downtown eateries at a time when business was booming, he said.
Smith’s restaurant has been featured in music videos, commercials and television shows. The steakhouse made the news in 2008 when a fire broke out and caused an 11-month standstill for business.
“The bar was completely trashed,” he recalled. “But when we reopened it was gangbusters for three months — and we didn’t even advertise.”
The owner and his wife had a chance to give back to the community during Hurricane Sandy in October 2012, when it remained among the few restaurants in the village that didn’t lose power. They ran out of food in the first two nights.
“People were happy to have a plate of warm food and charge their phones,” Eileen Smith said.
“I remember looking at Ronnie and saying ‘I hope places start going back into business sometime soon,’ because we were exhausted.”
The couple hopes to sell someday and settle down at their second home in Pennsylvania.
“But not yet,” Eileen Smith said.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.