We at The Price Hike have always paid special attention to beef prices at Minetta Tavern, the Harvard University of Keith McNally’s Manhattan restaurant empire. Here’s why: Minetta, along with Peter Luger, is one of two Michelin-starred steakhouses in New York; we think The Dutch merits inclusion in that group as well.
And while Luger has long been viewed as a standard-bearer for porterhouses, a cut lots of us don’t eat much anymore, Minetta, to many, is the cotes de boeuf cleanup hitter (the strip steak isn’t too shabby either). Of course, with great demand (and insanely high food costs) comes great pricing power. Minetta Tavern’s cote de boeuf is $140, a 56% hike from the restaurant’s 2009 price of $90; Minetta’s $58 strip steak, in turn, is 61% higher than its $36 price tag from three years ago.
Minetta co-chef Lee Hanson was nice enough to chat with us as part of our Bloomberg News article on how midwest droughts could effect the price of USDA PRIME BEEF. Here, we present more extensive highlights from our email interview from the chef. Think of this as the DVD extended cut:
Are you ordering less prime beef than previously because of high prices or supply constraints? No, we are not ordering less prime, customers still want it. What happens next year, who knows? If prices go crazy and people shy away from beef we’ll have to roll out the Cauliflower steaks…We have not felt a shortage yet because today’s issues are next year’ price increases. Next year will probably be a [expletive omitted that rhymes with hit]show though.
You’ve steadily increased your restaurant’s steak prices since opening in April 2009. (And of course virtually every New York steakhouse has raised their prices as well because of rising beef costs). How have your clients reacted to those price increases? Our customers seem to have adjusted to the price increases over the years. Like you said, it’s not just us raising them. We are not raising prices for the hell of it or to rip people off. Like any business when we get a price increase, we have to pass that on to the customer. Actually we will swallow a few increases before we make the change on the menu.
Do you have any plans on increasing the price of your $140 cote de boeuf, $58 strip and $46 filet in the coming weeks or months? No plans on raising anything until we get raised. We are not in the speculating business.
To the best of my knowledge, you haven’t increased the price of your Black Label burger since opening in 2009. Any plans on changing that price? The price we pay on the black label has not gone up so it has remained the same. Which shows that we increase things when we have to. Considering the black label is our biggest seller we could easily tack on another dollar or two (Lee Hanson).