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Crazy Beautiful: The Story of a 5-Star Steakhouse CEO and an NFL Linebacker

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb
The Truth Network Radio
March 22, 2023 3:00 am

Crazy Beautiful: The Story of a 5-Star Steakhouse CEO and an NFL Linebacker

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb

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March 22, 2023 3:00 am

On this episode of Our American Stories, Britney Ruby Miller is CEO of Jeff Ruby Culinary Entertainment where she leads a team of more than 500 employees across 7 luxury steakhouses in Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee. Britney is the author of 5-Star Life: The Faithful Fight to Overcome Obstacles and Pursue Excellence.

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That's U-N-E-S-T dot C-O. Music This is Lee Habib and this is Our American Stories. And we tell stories about everything here on this show, including yours. Send them to our American stories dot com.

They're some of our favorites. Brittany Ruby Miller is CEO of Jeff Ruby Culinary Entertainment, where she leads a team of more than 500 employees across seven luxury steakhouses in Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee. Brittany is the author of Five Star Life, the faithful fight to overcome obstacles and pursue excellence. Let's take a listen to her story.

I'm Brittany Ruby Miller. I'm the CEO of Jeff Ruby Culinary Entertainment, and we operate seven family owned steakhouses, USDA prime steakhouses, kind of a white glove approach, not a corporate chain steakhouse. These aren't commissary. Everything's made in house.

We have incredible chefs. And my dad just grew up in restaurants. He had very little family, didn't really know who his dad was. He had four fathers at one point.

He calls him his forefathers, stepfathers. And, you know, once he found out who he thought was his uncle actually was his father. And so it's just a really crazy story he has. And he went from failing grade school to I think he was all state wrestling and got a full ride scholarship to Cornell University. And when he came out of Cornell, Weingartner Hammond's hospitality gave him two choices, Syracuse or Cincinnati, and he was a Reds fan. So he chose Cincinnati. He was running at one point a few Holiday Inn's as an innkeeper. And also, though, was really involved in promotions and marketing and started making relationships with the Big Red Machine. And through those relationships, Johnny Bench and Pete Rose, and they backed his first restaurant, The Precinct. And then the second restaurant, The Waterfront, which was a five star floating barge on the Ohio River, was backed by Bill Marsiason and Chris Collinsworth. But we have restaurants throughout the Midwest.

So we've got four in Ohio, two in Kentucky and one in Nashville. I start my book by explaining what it was like at five years old when mom walks through the door, four and a half walks through the door and says, your father's been in a pretty bad car accident and he's in a coma. He might not make it. And I'm also pregnant. You're going to have a baby brother.

He had an experimental procedure done and should have died, had a five percent chance of ever living without being a vegetable and being completely brain dead. And my dad's Jewish and my mom was raised Christian. And so she started a prayer chain. And my dad contributes the prayer chain of 5000 people to his miraculous healing. So then I get into high school and in college, I have a million regrets from that period.

I was living a completely empty life. So underage drinking, going out and partying and having fun, you know, I never got into drugs. I think because I was the one thing I remember my mom always did was even if she didn't believe it, she would tell everybody, like, what a good kid I am in front of like me. So she's a great kid. She's great athlete.

She's great student. Oh, my gosh. She's you know, she and so to me, I was like, well, I guess if I smoke cigarettes or drugs, she won't be able to say that anymore. So I just never did it. But I went to bars and I snuck in and I you know, my brother was making fake I.D.s at the time. So I got a fake I.D. and it worked.

It was really good. And so we would go out and my dad found out. And so he literally, without telling me, goes down to Bar Cincinnati, jumped all these places on Main Street, which is where the bars are. And so I didn't know, but I go to get in with my fake I.D. and the bouncer looks at me and then he takes my I.D. and he peels off the scans. And he goes, I want you to know I'm mailing this to your dad.

Go home. I love that my dad chose steakhouses to make a business because when celebrities come into town or you want to impress somebody or you want to build relationships with lots of relationships that have come in very handy with politicians. I actually gave a TED talks on this. There's a lot of things that they all have in common. They all love bourbon, steak and red wine and decadent desserts.

And so it's very simple to build relationships in our restaurants. My dad always says when when a guy comes home after working, the last thing he wants to do is sit down to a Chilean sea bass. No, you want to have a big old steak. You want to have a drink. And, you know, it's just an accomplishment.

And I love steakhouses. So anyways, he built a very strong relationship with Tommy Lasorda and the Dodgers, Eric Caros and Piazza was one of them and basically became like his second dad. You know, all I know is my boyfriend is a pretty good baseball player and he comes home. I'm like, what is wrong? He's like every single time I got up to home plate today, Piazza heckled me every single time. He's screaming like, get off the Jeff Ruby's daughter.

Her dad's in the mafia. It's going to be every time he got up, it was a different thing that he would just try to get. And he played horrible. I was irate when it happened. And now I feel like high fiving him. And I'm like, never again will I date an athlete. They all cheat.

They're all bad. And, you know, I'm just not interested. And I'm at a Toby Keith concert and we take a picture. And Marvin Lewis's assistant, Sandy, is my mom's best friend.

She takes the picture. The next time I'm with Sandy, I'm at my dad at a box at the stadium. And so we're I'm sitting in there and I'm joking because there's this picture of this football player who has long hair straightened down to his shoulders, past his chin. And he's got this look on his face that he's just going to kill somebody. Sandy's cracking up because I say to my dad, look, there's my new type. And he's like, you've lost your mind. And I'm like, haha, I know.

Yeah, never happening. And she's like, Brittany, that's that's Caleb Miller, middle linebacker. He took it as a joke. He's he actually is in ministry.

And aren't you a religious studies person? Aren't you into this? I'm like, Sandy, not a chance.

No, thank you. And she's like, oh, he's going through a really hard time. You could be a good friend to him right now.

I'm like, no, I'm not taking on a project. And you've been listening to Brittany Ruby Miller talk about her father, her early life. Many of the mistakes she made as a late teen and in her early 20s, bar hopping and partying and as she said, living an empty life.

And luckily, she had a dad who cared enough to visit all the bouncers in town and just let him know which way was up, at least with him. When we come back, more Brittany Ruby Miller story here on Our American Story. Folks, if you love the great American stories we tell and love America like we do, we're asking you to become a part of the Our American Stories family. If you agree that America is a good and great country, please make a donation. A monthly gift of seventeen dollars and seventy six cents is fast becoming a favorite option for supporters. Go to our American stories dot com now and go to the donate button and help us keep the great American stories coming.

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Equal housing lender. And we continue with our American stories and Brittany Ruby Miller, who is CEO of Jeff Ruby Culinary Entertainment, where she leads a team of more than 500 employees across seven luxury steakhouses in Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee. Let's pick up where Brittany last left off. So she follows up and she ends up calling me multiple times and she said, Caleb, really? I showed him your picture. He really has no friends up here and he knows you're a religious studies major and you just got baptized. So I was baptized in 2001 as well.

And he just grabs the phone from her and he's like, hello, Brittany. I'm up here drafted to the worst city. Like, I never wanted to come to Cincinnati.

I hate this city. I have no friends up here and I just need a friend. I'm going through a really hard time in my life and I would just appreciate it if you would just carve out some time and we can talk. I'll meet you for coffee. And he's like, that sounds like a date. I'll just come over to your house. We can just hang out as friends. And I'm like, OK. And the next thing I know, I'm sitting in my living room with my best friend watching Ace Ventura. And it's the most awkward situation ever.

We don't talk about any of his problems at all. And we just watched a movie. It was the it's ridiculous that I fell for it.

We really built a friendship first. It was the he grew up very, very religious, very legalistic, not an excuse for anything. And his parents are tremendous. And so he ends up going to college and he gets somebody pregnant. And he's he thinks this whole world's just over. And so he's at that point. She I think the baby was almost due when we met. And so, you know, I'm not trying to get I'm just talking to him as friends and trying to help him.

And that's what he said he wanted. And as we became friends, more it developed into something more. But I'm thinking, well, you know, OK, I can deal with the guy's got a son. I can handle that. I'm not thinking there's anything else going on with that relationship. And then we get married and he comes to me and says, you know, I'm learning he's still massively depressed. Oh, then you throw on an injury, a career ending injury in Seattle.

I'm packing the house up to move into our new house as newlyweds. And I'm not even watching the game. I'm listening to it because I'm in my closet packing and the announcer comes on. It's like, oh, that's a bad one.

Caleb Miller is down. And then they cut the commercial. And I'm like, what the heck?

And so I call Bill Conley, who was traveling secretary, I think. And he's I finally get a hold of him and he's like, Brittany, he's he's tackling Sean Alexander. And this guy comes and just crunches him backwards.

So it's like a bit and then lands on him. And for he said about two minutes, he felt it was nothing. He could not move. And then two minutes later, he's like warmth came over his body and he was able to walk off. Total miracle that he's not paralyzed.

But we both knew the season was over at this point. And then, you know, he comes back and he is in the most tremendous back pain. He tried to fake and he tried to get back in shape and do what he could do. And he you know, he failed the physicals when he would go and practice and try to eat a couple workouts with some teams.

And so he turned down another tryout, I think, in Atlanta. And he just said, I can't play. And he said, but I got to get my brain. I got to get my heart right. And I've got to get my life right. And that's when he confessed again that he had cheated on me.

And I thought, you know, my first thing is like, I'm just done. I'm done dealing with this guy. He's got to get his crap together and I'm not going to be the one that continues to just sit there. And this has been years now of him being fickle and wishy washy. And now he's blaming it on depression. And come on, I'm not buying any of it.

I could tell he was genuinely sorry. He wanted to change. So I'm like, I've got to at least give it a shot. If you're dying to yourself at this point, you're dead. That's all gone. Now you want to pick up the pieces and fix yourself.

This is the one and done shot to do that. If you want to go figure that out. And so he goes to the Meyer Clinic.

It's amazing. And I remember your last session of the three weeks is with the spouse and the counselor said, look, I got to tell you, Caleb's personality is not like many that I've counseled and I don't know if you can change personality. And Caleb looks at and he's heartbroken because he's he's needing to convince me that it's worth like I'm better. And he said, and also he's not ready to leave. That part was true. The part about you can't change personality is not true. And that guy actually was not a good counselor, doesn't take any credibility away from the program at the Meyer Clinic. He just wasn't a good counselor. And so they got him a new one. But my counselor said, you've got to just continue to pray.

Those are your those are your weapons. And so I prayed for Caleb nonstop during that time. He goes and he stays for another three weeks. And at this point, I can tell there is significant change. Is he fully healed?

No. But this is a different person who who I know is going to be putting in the work to change himself. But then they tell me upon his checkout that I should check in for three weeks. And I'm like, I'm fine.

What do you mean? I'm not losing my mind. These are crazy people down here. He told me some of the stories of these people and I'm like, wow, that sounds like a serious psych ward. Crazy. I'm like, I'm not going to that program at all.

I'll do my own thing up here. I've got some good counselors and they're like, no. And so when I get down there, the number one thing that was unveiled was that I was dealing with perfectionism that I just always kind of thought that that was a good thing. Like, I'm just excelling in everything I do. And I realized it could be a mental disorder. My marriage had to be perfect. My body had to be perfect. You know, I had 10 years of an eating disorder that I never told anybody about.

And then, by the way, I've also got this thing I need to work out with Caleb. The crazy thing was we really didn't I mean, I process that with my counselor and what I loved about my counselors. And I've been to many therapists. When you hire a therapist, it's not you just don't go and like spill everything and then and hope they're the one. You need to interview a therapist like you're interviewing an employee. Because my mom and dad got me a therapist when they chose to get divorced. And this guy, all he did was listen and he never gave me feedback. He never gave me tools.

He never. And I'm like, I don't need to go and just talk like I need you to give me some advice. Talk to me. I actually had three counselors like that in my life. Then I go to the Meyer Clinic and she actually gives me her opinion. I'm like, wow, this girl is awesome. And she looks Caleb in the eyes and says, what you did is wrong. Know what you're doing right now. She validated me so much. But she would also validate him that, hey, that's toxic.

That's below the belt. You can't say this. Here's the tools to fighting. And so because she was such an amazing counselor and she said, your biggest issue, Brittany, is your perfectionism. And the other stuff, you're going to heal. We're going to help you with the marriage stuff to get over.

But like, you need to really be focused on yourself down here. And that's what that's what happened. Where I am now is almost married, 15 years, and it is the best marriage I could ever hope for. And I remember when my pastor's wife, Kathy, when I called her just sobbing hysterically that there's I mean, it's just what I was so blindsided when I found out he cheated in our marriage, that I was just it rocks you in unless you've experienced it.

And I also think people who haven't experienced it will never really understand how beautiful the healing can be. She told me that day, if you can forgive him and put in the work and he truly is repetitive and he's sorry, you will have the most rock solid marriage. And she that's what she told me. She goes, you know, and Pastor Dale shares this.

My pastor up here, they share it publicly. And same thing with my mentor for Taylor and Sandra. I would have never known that that happened. And then I'm like, people are coming out of the woodworks. Unbelievable how common it is.

I mean, I really thought I was like the only one and nobody can know. And when you deal with that, the the greatest healing even far exceeds the Meyer Clinic are meeting and talking to women who had also been there and who chose to stay and fight. And it is the best decision that I made because Caleb is the most amazing father and the most amazing husband. And he truly is a testimony that you can change. Like that counselor was wrong.

That was a lie. And you've been listening to Brittany Ruby Miller tell the story not just of her marriage and her husband's infidelity, but how she got through it and how she learned about herself, too, particularly her perfectionism. Anyone who's been around a perfectionist, it's not pleasant. It's really not pleasant.

Can be one of the most unpleasant things of all is you're always disappointing that person and they don't even know it and they're disappointing themselves. And my goodness, so many relationships do survive infidelity and come out on the other side better. And sharing that story makes anybody who's gone through that feel less alone.

When we come back, more of Brittany Ruby Miller's story here on Our American Stories. Buying a home rocket mortgage will cover one percent of your rate for the first year at no cost to you, saving you hundreds, even thousands with Inflation Buster. For example, if you lock a seven percent rate today, you'll only pay six percent for a year.

That's more game days, more girls trips, more family gatherings every month for a year. And your rate is secured for 30 years. Plus, if rates drop within three years of your home purchase, you get exclusive savings when you refinance with rate drop advantage.

More kitchen upgrades, more room to grow, more cash in your pocket. Save when you buy today and refinance tomorrow. Call 833-7-ROCKET today or visit inflationbuster.com to start saving. That's 833-7-ROCKET or go to inflationbuster.com. For fees covered, rate, lactate requirements and other terms and conditions, visit inflationbuster.com.

Call 1-833-7-ROCKET, equalizing lender license in all 50 states, and unless consumer access.org number 33. I'm Malcolm Gladwell. I live way out in the country. I drive everywhere.

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Let's ride. Eligible items only. Exclusions apply. Buying a home can be an anxiety-inducing endeavor, but does it have to be? Sure, the market is uncertain, yet with a SoFi mortgage loan, it doesn't have to matter as much. With a SoFi mortgage loan, you can save now and save later, helping to relieve the anxieties of the home buying process. Save now with special home buying pricing and down payment options as little as 3-5%.

Then, be eligible to save later when rates drop and you refinance. SoFi was even named the best lender for saving money by CNBC Select. Thanks to SoFi mortgage loans, you don't need anxiety to be on your mind when shopping for a home.

Just saving. Visit SoFi.com slash new home to learn more. That's S-O-F-I dot com slash N-E-W-H-O-M-E. Mortgages through SoFi Bank. N-A member F-D-I-C. N-M-L-S 6-9-6-8-9-1. Loan and offer terms, conditions, restrictions apply.

Equal Housing Lender. And we continue with our American stories and Brittany Ruby Miller, who's the CEO of Jeff Ruby Culinary Entertainment. And we had just heard about how her marriage had improved, actually, after an infidelity and a real reckoning and probably some repentance and forgiveness.

And now let's pick up where Brittany last left off. So I had graduated from UC. I start culinary school. I'm managing, you know, so I served for a really, really long time and I just worked every position. I ended up being in the operations for 20 years and love restaurants and learned every position.

And that was one thing that my dad really a great decision that he made because I wanted to, as soon as I graduated, go to corporate office and start doing what I thought that I should do. And he's like, you have not served yet. You've done every other position, though, but you haven't served.

I'm like, I know. But I learned through watching other people serve. I've read every training manual.

I created the documents, probably. He's like, no, until you serve, you really don't understand it. And it is the hardest job.

I think every citizen should have to serve at some point in their life. And I think everybody should work off of tips, too. And so great experience. Did that for a couple of years.

And then I got into management and then I go to the corporate office and my intro was guest relations manager. And so I go to take my first call and I'm listening to this guy tell me this crazy story that we refused to seeing eye dog and and his spouse. They're blind and they came to the precinct.

And how dare we not serve them? And we turn them away because he has a dog. I just called my manager and go nuts on him. I'm like, what is wrong with you? How could you do this? And he's like, Britney, what day was it like that?

We never had a dog in here. And who was the server? And he goes, let me get back to you. So I'm like, oh, he's lying through his teeth.

He just doesn't want to get fired. He knows this happened. And I had just installed caller ID at the corporate office. And so it came up from a hotel. And I'm thinking it's just a guest at a hotel. And I go to take his phone number down and my best receptionist voice, like trying to do everything very professionally.

He won't give me the phone number. I'm like, OK, that's weird. But doesn't dawn on me that it could be any scam until a couple of calls and a couple of different hotels later.

Motel six, Red Roof Inn. It was just very bizarre. And meanwhile, the story is not adding up at the restaurant level.

Somehow, as I'm super slow, it takes three calls from three different hotels to realize this guy is scamming me. And it's the first complaint I ever took. And I will tell you, those things don't happen very often.

I've now been in the corporate office for over 10 years. Those things do not happen. There's an occasional weird thing, but something like that, that is so premeditated and planned out and it's bizarre and thank God it did, because I then made the decision that I'm going to always take my employees back first. All feedback is relevant. That doesn't mean I agree with it. And so our team is innocent until proven guilty. And we take 48 hours. If you complain at one of our restaurants, I thank you for your feedback before we accept. I don't tell them this, but before we take any we train on this, there's zero liability that's taken until we invest some time into talking to the manager, looking at our cameras, looking at the guest check, seeing what was calm, seeing how long the ticket time was, how long it took to get drinks.

And so we do a full report on every single complaint that comes in. And most of the times, look, the server screwed up or we own it, we have to apologize. And that's what we do and we handle it. But I realized that I need to make sure that my team knows that I trust them.

And even if they screw up, I trust them to do the right thing to make it right. But at that point, you know, my dad, the way that he ran the business was very hands on, one man show. And he is a maniac for restaurants being the best and insane amount of national awards. I mean, USA Today, top 10 travel and leisure, top 25 steakhouses. I mean, the list goes on on the Food Network best steakhouse in Ohio. And so at this point, we have a really good company. I know our restaurants are great, but everything is tribal knowledge, whether it's the mac and cheese that's famous to the way that we are hostess's answer phone. Like everything is just passed down.

There's nothing documented. And then I become director of operations and my dad brings on Russell Mancus. So Russell started as the GM of the waterfront in 1986 and then he left. He wasn't there very long because he was recruited by Hilton. And so he goes to open Hilton's all over the world.

He's in Asia, Mexico. He opened Times Square and then he landed at the Drake. So he's running the Drake at that point. He's the general manager of the Drake. And dad goes to Chicago to write his book, which is an amazing story.

It's called Not Counting Tomorrow, his life story. Dad comes back from writing his book and he said, I think Russell's going to come be the managing director. And I'm like, oh, you know, and there's a part of me. I'm like, why do we need a managing director? I'm director of operations.

We're fine. And I'm nervous. I'm about to get a new boss. I've always reported to Jeff Ruby. But Russell said, look, Jeff, I got two years left before I retire and I want to retire knowing that I did something really great. And I'm going to move back to Cincinnati and I want to mentor Brittany and position your company to scale.

He was the best thing that happened in my career. I had only seen a very eccentric, colorful, charismatic type of leadership before. And that's passionate and that's good. And that's why he has a company the way that he has it. But it also takes somebody with a leadership that's more calm and not as reactive and rational to be able to build a business. So my dad built a brand. Russell built a business. I joke that his middle name was metrics like Russell metrics, Mancos, because I couldn't just say we did a great job.

I'd have to show him data, show him numbers, explain why our numbers were so good, explain why our guest sentiment was so good. And then when we would open new restaurants at that point, it was great because we built training documents for every single department. The way that we look at it is if we go to build a restaurant, I've got the playbook here on here's how to do that for everything from finance to operations to culinary. And we built three restaurants in four years and then he retired.

And so I've been president and CEO for a couple of years and then covid hits. I grew up from this time I was five years old. Five stars is what you strive for.

It's crazy at five. I knew who our critic was here in town. I knew what it took to get five stars in the restaurants. And that's what we strive for. And then through this journey, I said I was living a one star life. God wants us to have a five star life. He wants us to have the fruits of the spirit. He wants us to have the joy, not happiness.

He wants us to have joy in our hearts. And five stars to me became not just in my restaurants, but that's when it dawned on me that we need to be striving for five stars in our personal lives as well and celebrate the victories. We've got so much craziness that's happening around us. I am living my five star life, but it's because I put in the work when it was the one and two stars. And I'm so glad that I did. So just to summarize the where Caleb and I are now healthiest relationship I could ever ask for. Amazing relationship with Caden's mom.

And we coparent better than anyone out there. I believe it took a lot of. No, it didn't. It took one conversation. A sit down and there was a massive amount of healing and she is my friend now and we are close and it's awesome. And my kids are absolutely incredible. They would not be here today if I chose to walk away. And so for marriages, I just want to say it is really worth fighting for.

And it is a life or death, literally a life or death decision when you go through those hard things. And I'm so glad now that I've got, you know, after five years of infertility, we have three miracle babies. That's the one thing I didn't say. I found out I carry a gene mutation that makes you very prone to neural tube defects. And I had a neural tube defect baby. I had a 30 percent chance of ever having a healthy baby.

And I've had three fully healthy babies. Hands on prayer. Crazy miracles that happened. And for anybody listening, God's got a destiny and a purpose for you. And don't be ashamed to celebrate five stars.

He wants us to have the best lives we can. And a great job, as always, by Greg on the production and the storytelling and a special thanks to Brittany Ruby Miller. And she's the author of Five Star Life, The Faithful Fight to Overcome Obstacles and Pursue Excellence. And she is so right that marriages are worth fighting for. I read recently that four out of five marriages that were on the brink of divorce five years later was stronger and better than ever. Having the reckoning that ultimately Brittany had and her husband. It really shook me when she said the words, I was running five star restaurants, but living a one star life. And that's so many of us putting in all of our excellence into our work and not into our families.

The story of Brittany Ruby Miller here on Our American Stories. Buy a car with Roto. Download the Roto app or check out Roto.com. Roto, the easiest way to buy or sell a car right from your phone. Buying a home, Rocket Mortgage will cover one percent of your rate for the first year at no cost to you with Inflation Buster.

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Call 833-7-ROCKET today or visit inflationbuster.com to start saving. Another week, another free pass to entertainment. Check out all the shows and movies you can watch with Xfinity Flex, no strings attached.

Face the darkness in the season two premiere of Yellow Jackets from Showtime. Crack open the history vault and dig into shows like America, The Story of Us. Then watch free picks from networks like Disney Story Central and more with the kids. Give your ears some love with Hit Nation Junior on iHeartRadio. Easily discover new free content each week across the best streaming apps. Say free this week into your Xfinity voice remote.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-22 04:10:00 / 2023-03-22 04:24:52 / 15

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