For meat-lovers, there's nothing more enjoyable than a perfectly cooked steak tinged with the smoky aromas of a wood-burning grill.
Food fads come and go, celebrity chefs rise and fall, and the quest for fresh ideas in innovative dining never ends. Yet no matter the metamorphosis of culinary trends, every neighborhood with an epicurean heartbeat has a go-to steakhouse serving sizzling slabs of prime beef alongside a plethora of carb-powered side dishes and desserts.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the average American will eat 222.2 pounds of red meat in 2018, up from a record high in 2004. It seems the enduring appeal of a steak, perfectly cooked and swimming in its own juices, continues to be a staple of gustatory pleasure for generations of meat-lovers.
So what makes a steak dinner so satisfying? To find out, I sat down with Roger Lenzi, restaurateur and owner of Vero Prime on U.S. 1 in Vero Beach, to talk about the business of steakhouses and steaks in particular.
Lenzi, whose father once owned the popular 2002 Restaurant in Vero Beach, was born and raised in Chicago, one of the most progressive culinary hubs in the country. Bucking innovative trends for close to two centuries, the meat-packing industry spawned an ingrained steakhouse culture that earned the city its “meat and potatoes” moniker and led to the emergence of iconic restaurants such as Morton’s in Chicago’s downtown district.