In 2006, when busboys-turned-restaurateurs Benjamin Prelvukaj and Benjamin Sinanaj, affectionately known as “the Bens,” opened the doors to their NYC steak house they had no idea what they were in for.
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“We love steak, we love seafood, we want to stick to what we know best,” Prelvukaj told Michael Tammero, a reporter for FOXBusiness.com.
The Bens, both Peter Luger veterans, got a chance to see the cut-throat steak business from the inside, and needed a piece of that business for themselves. “We look for the big picture,” says Sinanaj.
Packed day and night, Benjamin Steak House has become a pillar for steak connoisseurs and a mecca for celebrities. Among Zac Efron, Kim Kardashian, Clive Davis, Bill Murray, Jamie Foxx, Evander Holyfield and Jesse Tyler Ferguson, you never know who will be sitting at the exclusive tables 54 or 55 on any given night.
“People feel comfortable and we don’t bother them… there is no unnecessary press so I think they feel at home,” says Prelvukaj.
The kitchen is run by Chef Arturo McLeod, also a Peter Luger alum, who has developed special aging boxes that regulate temperature and humidity allowing the steaks to age properly. With more than 405,000 pounds of beef served across all of their restaurants, hungry customers simply can’t get enough.
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“We love what we do and we sell the best meat the city has to offer,” notes Prelvukaj.
During the past ten successful years, the Bens opened a second Benjamin Steak house in White Plains, N.Y. to accommodate suburban restaurant-goers, in addition to another Manhattan locale, the Sea Fire Grill. The Bens are working on a fourth restaurant, Benjamin Prime, just a block away from Benjamin’s to help accomodate its burgeoning customer base.
Run like a family business, the Bens are looking to take their old-school New York charm global; their next stop? Tokyo.
Also on deck is an e-commerce site to sell steak sauce and other products.
“Every guest that walks in we make sure they leave happy. It’s a family owned restaurant, we really care and put our heart and soul for this,” Prelvukaj adds.
To get a better taste of the Bens' recipe for success, be sure to watch the full interview above.