That model was popular for Okeechobee Steakhouse through the 1960s, as it was around the country in general. Lewis, who is 54, remembers those days.
“It was a great thing,” he says. “You could pull up outside and they would bring a steak dinner to the car with a cocktail and hang it on your window.”
Okeechobee Steakhouse is a fine-dining icon at this point. It’s relatively small for a steakhouse—4,000 square feet—and seats 167. The restaurant is always busy, Lewis says, with reservations even booking up during South Florida summers. “We’re on a wait about five nights a week then,” he says. “That’s unheard of in South Florida.”
The bar starts filling up by about 4:30 (that’s not unheard of in South Florida) and the restaurant remains busy all night. Okeechobee Steakhouse will serve about 300 covers or so, which shows the methodical and indulgent pace the restaurant likes to operate.
It’s a setting and experience that harkens back to the glamorous era of dining. Lewis says, even with all of the rapid-fire options available in today’s restaurant market, guests still want to get dressed up, sit down, order a steak, and let the night marinate. “People love dining. It’s the American way,” he says. “And that’s why I think steaks have been popular. They were popular in the 40s when my grandparents opened the restaurant. They were popular in the 50, 60s, and all the way until now. And they will still be popular 25 years from now.”