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Kevin Rathbun endures fire, smoke and a broken ankle, but steakhouse is “fantastic”

Kevin Rathbun at KR  SteakBar

Kevin Rathbun at KR SteakBar

It’s been a crazy couple of weeks for Kevin Rathbun and a couple of his namesake restaurants.

First there was a kitchen fire at Rathbun’s in Inman Park that caused smoke and water damage and has kept the restaurant closed since July 4th, while repairs and renovations are underway.

Then, on July 5th, there was a power outage at KR SteakBar in Peachtree Hills that caused smoke from the wood-fired grill to billow from the kitchen and set off alarms, causing a 45-minute evacuation and interruption of dinner service.

Those events pale in comparison to what happened yesterday, though.

While sorting through the damage at Rathbun’s and helping with the clean up, Rathbun managed to trip on a run of conduit and fall through the drop ceiling. Luckily, he was above a freezer/cooler, which broke his fall on the way to the floor — though he wound up with a fractured ankle bone.

“I could have landed on my head,” Rathbun said today. “But I wound up pretty unscathed, even if I need to be in a cast for the next six weeks, and maybe have a screw in my ankle. It could have been a lot worse.”

Rathbun said he hopes Rathbun’s will reopen in a week or two.

And he did have a bit of good news, today, when The Daily Meal published America’s 20 Best Steakhouses with Kevin Rathbun Steak at No. 5 on a list that includes Peter Luger in New York and Bern’s in Tampa.

“I think that’s fantastic,” Rathbun said. “That’s the best news I’ve heard in about 24 hours. It makes my heart sing. A Kansas City boy done good with a steakhouse. And we need all the business we can get down there since we don’t have the business at Rathbun’s.”

Here’s an excerpt from The Daily Meal story:

The best steakhouses in America are nothing short of temples, shrines built to honor the deceptively complex art of a perfectly cooked steak. While many of the country’s best steakhouses are replete with dark wood, red leather, and snifters of cognac, plenty more are modern, airy, and unpretentious. Because even the most discerning diner knows that décor is only one aspect of the overall steakhouse experience; when it comes down to it, it’s all about the steak.

At his spacious, whimsically appointed steakhouse, Rathbun is serving steakhouse classics like escargots, seafood towers, dry-aged porterhouse for two and three, a 22-ounce cowboy rib-eye, and 16-ounce New York strips, but there’s also a wide selection of items that you don’t see on most steakhouse menus, like Coca-Cola baby back pork ribs, eggplant fries, lobster fritters, ahi tuna poke, and Asian-style meatballs. If you go twice, order whatever you like. But if you go once, get the steak; we’d recommend that cowboy rib-eye.

19 comments Add your comment

Road Scholar

July 12th, 2013
2:38 pm

Don’t let him near the steak knives!

Zach J

July 12th, 2013
2:55 pm

Best steakhouse in ATL from my view is Kevin Rathbun Steak.


July 12th, 2013
3:19 pm

Sorry to hear about all this but his restaurants are fantastic, the best in the city IMO.


July 12th, 2013
10:45 pm

All I can say is he is a good man, and I like to spend my money with people that I like. Get well soon, Kevin.


July 13th, 2013
1:04 am

I recently hosted a date from out of town and he chose Rathbun’s and boy was I stoked! I truly had the most wonderful steak in my many experiences as a carnivore. I later replicated the potatoes au gratin at home and was thrilled to find the true recipe in the AJC a few months later. Rathbun’s is without a doubt the most primal and delicious of all steak experiences. If I can only find a date with whom I would like to return…..


July 13th, 2013
6:52 am

I’ll be your date Lisa … then will let you pay ;)


July 13th, 2013
9:23 pm

Love Rathbuns, but the portion sizes of the sides at the steakhouse are a joke and I choose to eat my steak elsewhere.

[...] Kevin Rathbun endures fire, smoke and a broken ankle, but steakhouse is “fantastic” [...]


July 14th, 2013
9:03 am

I thought Chef Kevin might have broken his ankle when he was climbing down the ladder that leads to a “short-cut” to his steak restaurant. He told me and my girlfriend to take this short cut and it involved climbing down a sketchy ladder about 15 feet above street level. I thought he was being a “wise guy”. So have a nice trip Kevin.


July 14th, 2013
9:07 am

Which Rathbun restaurant serves the Ahi Tuna Poke?


July 14th, 2013
9:54 am

apparently none of you folks have been to Sizzler. 8.95 for 16 oz sirloin almost cuttable, and 50 bucks left over for a movie.


July 14th, 2013
7:00 pm

Yes JB great idea. Let’s close down all the steak houses in Atlanta and reopen them as Sizzlers.


July 14th, 2013
10:23 pm

I remember dining at Baby Routh regularly when I lived in Dallas back around 1990 when Kevin was the executive chef there.

Man, has it really been 23 years? Congrats to Kevin, the food just keeps getting better.


July 15th, 2013
9:19 am



July 15th, 2013
9:36 am

Get well soon Kevin! Im sure Melissa is taking good care of you…it was a pleasure working for the two of you at NAVA back in the day.

I see your food is still as mind blowing as it was back in 1996!

stuttering prik

July 15th, 2013
10:33 am

. . . the man has a heart as big as his porterhouse, and it you are true to him, he will be your friend for life . . .


July 15th, 2013
11:01 am

All the best for a speedy recovery and congratulations on the accolades!!


July 19th, 2013
11:28 am

Congratulations to Kevin and his entire team. They continue to provide genuine and warm hospitality while serving outstanding food. Wishing Kevin a speedy recovery and return to the kitchen.