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by Danielle

Well girls, I don’t know about you but I for one am thrilled at the prospect of a steak house that solely caters to women. Finally, I can shed the oppressive meat-laden chains of Morton’s and Ray’s the Steaks and run stiletto-first into a haven that sees me for what I am: sexy, overly concerned with calories and poor lighting, and disgusted by any piece of meat larger than a cocktail weenie. We need a place where we can arm wrestle, rip our clothes off, and smear meat on our faces in the name of third-wave Ally McBeal feminism. Ladies: it’s time to get our STK on.

For those who haven’t received the glorious news, STK is an innovative restaurant that is designed by women, for women, catering to their unique dining needs, and with a deliciously Electra-complex tagline of “not your daddy’s steakhouse.” With language more commonly used by the Ying Yang Twins and Sir Mix-A-Lot to describe the intended clientele, CEO Jonathan Segal envisioned “[A] steakhouse that doesn’t look like a steakhouse and a menu that caters to females.” Women, he says, “don’t want a whole cow on their plates.” Nor apparently do they want crab cakes; instead, you will find sensual “crab salads.”

The end result for STK is a menu where you can select your portion size – which incidentally is also an option at Outback – and a “sexy palate of black, crème and purple,” deviating from the steakhouses that are “always so dark, smoky and dingy.” Though the lighting used in STK’s promotional material is dark and dingy, I want to assume that diners will actually be eating under direct overhead fluorescents, enabling them to eyeball every morsel before it passes through their rouge sheened lips. However, if the New York location is any indication, the final product may end up looking like how I imagine the cruisiest gay bar on the Death Star would be:

[NYSCENE]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x3K8snVpSYo

It’s truly a miracle that a company with such scant knowledge of “how women consume things” (see commercial) understands that what women want is salad and bites of beef, and that they can be lured in by commercials that look like Robert Palmer’s monochromatic bandmate vamps reenacting shitty Iron Chef promos. I am sure STK’s business acumen matches theirunderstanding of what women want; it should be mentioned that STK will, ironically, be located in Dupont Circle, a neighborhood more known for being the locus of the DC gay community. While of course this does not prevent women from congregating there, and I’m sure many lesbians enjoy crab salad and tiny meat, I want to underscore the fact that women are not actually the intended audience for STK:

If you cater to a female market, men will follow happily and empty their wallets into your tills.

Dangle a woman in front of them and most men will follow on their knees with dog collars around their necks.

STK has seized on the great kingmaker of American entertainment, hospitality, and restaurant businesses everywhere: lure the women in first, and men with their subtly-suggested purchase power will follow. It’s a pretty genius, and also time-tested, concept: Rick James called it “Bitch Power.” At STK, women are bait, men are sacks of cash to be lured in, and gays…well, I’m sure it won’t be long until this restaurant group finds a way to exploit you too.

STK has become well known for its prolific expansion in downtrodden economic times. “Only an idiot would open six venues in eight weeks,” said Mr. Segal. It also stands to reason that only an idiot would open a poorly conceived restaurant with gender-based branding in a city known as much for its high-quality steakhouses as it is for its overblown political correctness, in a location that couldn’t even sustain a California Pizza Kitchen for more than a few years, nor a family-friendly Italian eatery, which is our society’s version of an elegant feeding trough. Ladies, am I right?

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