When Sol Forman took over the restaurant, he didn’t know a lick about the business. So he retained the staff and learned on his feet. He put the menu in place that would become the model for years to come - steak, creamed spinach, hash browns, shrimp cocktail - and he made some other significant changes. “He was the first one to bring in a scale,” Jody Storch says. “Before when they ordered meat, they would just call up and have it delivered. My grandfather said, 'You guys have to actually check that you're getting what you're being billed for.'”
Introducing the meat selection process was also a major change. Today, Storch, Rubenstein and Marilyn Spiera (Rubenstein’s sister and Storch’s mother) are in charge of selecting the USDA Prime Beef, a skill passed down by Marsha Forman, Sol’s wife and the grande dame of prime cuts. Marsha had hired a retired USDA inspector to show her the ropes when the Formans took over the restaurant, and she soon became a notable presence in the then-seedy Meatpacking District, in her white coat and fur hat.
“I remember going with her,” Storch says. “The first time, I think I was eight years old. I remember thinking to myself, 'Wow!' I couldn't believe it. I was actually vegetarian for about two weeks after that. It’s funny being a woman in that part of the business, because you really had to prove yourself to the guys. You'd walk in there and there would be nudie calendars. The juxtaposition of the nude women and the carcasses of beef hanging was very disturbing,” Storch adds, laughing.