October 18, 2022

How Did Steak Become So Popular?

For many people, steak is the best meal there is. Whether you’re making it at home or ordering it at your favorite restaurant, steak is usually something to look forward to. While it is often thought of as a very American dish, steak is popular all over the world, and many different cultures have special dishes featuring it. When something is as beloved by so many people as steak is, you can’t help but wonder how it came to be so popular in the first place.

Where did steak first come from and who perfected some of the most popular dishes out there? Beef has been a popular source of meat for people around the world for centuries, but there are a few moments in history when steak was especially popular. Learn more about how steak became many people’s favorite meal!

St. Lawrence Day in Florence

Although people have eaten beef since prehistoric times, many people consider steak as we know it today to have originated in Florence, Italy. On August 10, 258 AD, St. Lawrence became a martyr when he was burned alive in Rome. The Feast Day of St. Lawrence is celebrated on August 10, and while some cultures stay away from grilled meat, others, such as those in Florence celebrate the day by cooking meat over large bonfires, including the dish bistecca alla fiorentina. 

It’s rumored that English knights were present at a Feast of Saint Lawrence during the 15th century, which helped spread interest in steak outside of Italy.

Beefsteak Banquets

While steak has been important in cultures all over the world for centuries, it doesn’t have such a long history in the United States. In fact, most cattle are not native to the U.S. and were first introduced by the Spanish during the 16th century. It wasn’t until the 1800s that it became an especially popular dish in the country.

Food is a great way to bring people together, and a delicious meal like steak is the perfect choice. During the 19th century, beefsteak banquets became popular events in New York City. These were often for celebratory occasions or fundraisers for political campaigns. Beefsteak banquets were typically only for men and often didn’t include any cutlery or napkins.

Steakhouses in the United States

Today, many of us see steak as a dish saved for special occasions, and the quality of the steak is extremely important. While beefsteak banquets were popular among working-class American men, steakhouses became popular for members of the upper class. 

Delmonico’s in New York City is widely considered to be the first steakhouse in America, which is also considered to be the first fine-dining restaurant in the country. However, this was far from the world’s first steakhouse. Similar establishments known as “chophouses” have existed in England since the 1600s, although early steakhouses in America were much more upscale.

Not only were steakhouses more formal establishments, but they were often also open to women. They became popular in New York City and as meat became easier to transport, popularity spread. Of course, today you can find many casual and formal steakhouses all over the U.S.

Order Your Favorite Steak at Grico’s Today!

For most people, it’s not hard to understand how steak became such a popular dish all around the world. Few things are better than going out for a nice evening to enjoy a delicious steak dinner at your favorite restaurant. At Grico’s, we have an amazing dinner menu with steak dishes you’re sure to love and many more classic dishes.

Make reservations to have dinner in Exeter at Grico’s today!