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Sunday, February 17 , 2019, 4:24 pm | Partly Cloudy 56º

Sports: A Noozhawk Partnership with Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table, The Lab, and American Riviera Bank

The Band Played On

Amid an earthquake and a fire, the folks at Ruth's Chris Steak House party on.

So there I was, having dinner with my friend, Justine Sutton, at thenew Ruth’s Chris Steak House  at La Cumbre Plaza when the fire alarms went off Fridaynight.

Mo McFadden

No one moved — save to cover their ears — and it took some coaxing toget diners out of the restaurant until the Fire Department arrived.Coincidentally, Friday’s dinner was a benefit for the American RedCross, Santa Barbara County Chapter.

Once outside, I talked with Janet Stanley, the Red Cross’ executivedirector. The staff was kidding around wondering how many disasterscould happen in one night. They already had felt the small earthquakeat 6:45 p.m., and then came the fire alarm.

What happened was one of the outside heaters, an obvious overachiever,got too hot and began to burn. I went out the side door next to theoutdoor seating area, and saw the heater still red hot, with a flamecoming out of the top every now and then. Even with the sprinklersgoing full blast, it was still burning.

The best part was the four-piece band that kept spirits high with its music. They played "This Little Light of Mine" and got the whole crowd singing. Then they broke into some great New Orleans mummers strut music and I couldn’t help myself. The leader of the band with the spats grabbed my hand and, boy, did we dance!

Our dinner was fabulous; Ruth’s Chris is a classic steak house in every way. The staff at the place is tops! Our waitress, Stella, was just the best, but I heard similar raves from the crowd outside about each of their servers! High marks go to the restaurant’s management. 

Friday night was the first of three nights of a "soft opening." We got a fully complimentary dinner, and we could choose from the regular menu. We started with appetizers and the house specialty drinks — the Mojito and Cosmopolitan. I enjoyed the venison, while Justine had a filet. I would definitely recommend Ruth’s Chris as a special place to go for a five-star meal and service.

And if those musicians are there you can be sure the ambiance will always be buoyant — with or without the fire alarms.

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