The Dish: Meet the brothers behind the Blue Ribbon restaurant empire

Bruce and Eric Bromberg’s Blue Ribbon restaurant empire got its start 25 years ago with the original Blue Ribbon Brasserie in New York. Considered a cradle of today’s culinary scene, it was a hangout for some then-unknown chefs who would go on to become some of the biggest restaurateurs in the world.

From fondue to pu pu platters, to their famous fried chicken, Eric and Bruce say the secret to Blue Ribbon is a brotherly love of eating, reports CBS News’ Dana Jacobson. 

Jacobson with Eric (middle) and Bruce Bromberg 

CBS News

“Ever since we were young, ribs were just like always the highlight for me,” Eric said. “So it’s just that situation of, let’s make things that we love.”

The chefs behind this finger food were actually classically trained at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, but they found cooking in three-star restaurants far from satisfying.  

“One of the things that really struck me was none of my friends could come to those restaurants. They were so expensive, so exclusive. But why don’t we just take the technique of fine cooking, let’s apply it to everything we learned and let’s make it accessible to everyone,” Bruce said. 

They opened the Blue Ribbon Brasserie on Sullivan Street in SoHo on Nov. 3, 1992. Kimball Kramer showed up just a few days later. He’s been coming back up to five times a week ever since.

“I saw a new restaurant, walked in and liked it.  The food was outstanding. I was looking for a hangout place and I knew I had found it,” Kramer said. 

“It all began in this, you know, tiny, little, hole-in-the-wall. This was two apartments that we joined together and, you know, kinda had this idea of just making a good restaurant,” Bruce said. 

They started with a simple notion. 

“What is blue ribbon? It’s first prize, it’s the best thing. It sounded American, the translation of Cordon Bleu is blue ribbon, so it all kinda came together,” Eric said. 

“It was more of an idea,” Bruce said. “And I think that’s what Blue Ribbon meant to us. It was this concept, it was this heart and soul of everything we had done growing up as kids.”

The brothers used to actually play “restaurant” — or more like Benihana — when they were young. 

“Seeing a chef in front of us was just the coolest thing in the world,” Eric said.

“And we’d always try to order shrimp cocktail which our dad never let us do, and it has been a special at Blue Ribbon for 25 years now,” Eric said. “Just because…

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