By Rick Levine
As recognizable visuals go in American culture, the New York Yankees Major League Baseball uniform ranks up there with the White House and the Hollywood sign above Los Angeles. It would not surprise anyone to know then that great care is taken in the design of these uniforms.
The pinstripes, for example, are measured with care. From 1973, the Yankees first year in double-knits, thru 1979, the pinstripes were slightly wider than an inch apart. After that, they became narrower, at a solid inch apart.
Appearance is very important to the Yankee organization in other ways. Under George Steinbrenner, long hair and facial hair below the lip were prohibited. The practice has been continued under Hal Steinbrenner since control of the Yankees was transferred to him after the 2008 season. Players who do not fit these criteria must shave the excess hair. Although this is a policy that all baseball teams once had, the Yankees are currently the only team with such a policy and have gotten notoriety enforcing it.
When it came time to design the uniforms for the New York Yankees Steak, this same type of scrutiny was applied. The restaurant turned to veteran uniform supplier Red The Uniform Tailor for assistance.
RTUT went through a custom design process with the management team at NYY Steak. The fabrics alone took months of design, consideration, approval and ultimately preparation for production.
“Red The Uniform Tailor understood what we were looking for: A uniform that represented the New York Yankees brand and the restaurant,” says Raul Adorno, general manager for the NYY Steak.
Remember the measurements of the MLB uniform stripes? The same rules applied to the uniforms to be worn by servers at the eatery. Plus, the Yankee colors calls for a specific shade of off-white and of course an exact match on the navy.
“Each client has a different world they work in,” says Lorelei Cheli, designer at RTUT. “It is all about branding for a particular client, and we are proud of how we could help New York Yankees Steak.”
The company operates three locations. The Bronx, New York City, location is of course right at Yankee Stadium. The firm also has a dining place in Coconut Creek, Fla.
Lastly, at the end of 2013 the company opened its flagship location right in midtown Manhattan at 7 West 51st. With elegant white table service and oversized pictures of the many famous New York Yankee players towering over diners, the uniform designs needed to match the environment and imagery.
The restaurant features an open kitchen, that trendy approach where diners can see the chefs at work. This meant the designs for executive chefs required a crisp presentation. The chef coats feature a 12-button front, a chest pocket and second pocket on the outside of the upper left sleeve. When employees fold the cuffs up, the signature pinstripe pattern shows through. Including a baseball cap may seem the obvious choice, but with the NYY Steak custom emblem facing front, they finish the executive chef look off right.
“The uniform is durable and easy to care for,” says Angelo Panageas, executive chef.
The servers and hosts all wear custom-made shirts, pants, vests, jackets and aprons. The shirts and vests are constructed from the custom pinstripe fabric, made from 100 percent polyester materials. All employees wear long-sleeve shirts, but there is an option at the Florida location to go with short sleeves. The pants are made from a polyester and Lycra blend to offer some stretch in everyone’s step.
The vest is offered in both a three-button male and a more tailored looking four-button female cut. For the men, a direct embroidery logo appears on the left chest. And for the woman’s vest, the Yankee pinstripe pattern decorates the lapels.
There are attractive gender versions of the banquet jackets as well. These crisp, all-white garments have a hidden button for the men and a single black fastener for the ladies. The NYY Steak logo appears, again via direct embroidery, on the lower left sleeve.
“The uniform is really comfortable. It goes well with the steak,” says Yasmin Espanol, bartender.
When the Manhattan location opened, the skort was added to the program. The program also features a classic black dress option.
NYY Steak has about 200 employees. Each employee is typically issued three sets of garments. New hires are provided goods from stock that management keep on site.
Each location offers a dining delight. NYY Steak brings world-class dining to the world-famous Yankee Stadium. Around every upscale corner, there are signature Yankee touches like an autographed wall of past and present players, baseball diamond-shaped dishes marked with retired Yankee numbers and 27 wines by the glass commemorating 27 world championships. The Yankees wouldn’t have it any other way. After all, they played a part in creating the restaurant that is almost as renowned as the team itself.
The South Florida Seminole Casino Coconut Creek location offers a similar autograph wall and baseball diamond-shaped dishes, but it adds some of its own flair to the mix. The award-winning, open kitchen, with the finest dry-aged USDA prime steaks, five-star seafood and sumptuous desserts are presented with perfection. Legends Lounge offers live entertainment as well.
Rich with New York Yankees history and design, the Manhattan location features a 200-seat, three-story space featuring a custom-made signature wall adorned with 86 autographs of legendary Yankee players. NYY Steak is the home of championship cuisine, featuring USDA prime dry-aged steaks and over 400 varieties of fine wine.
NYY Steak and RTUT have paid attention to the details, and it has paid off. The uniforms enhance the establishment’s brand image. And all three locations enjoy positive response to the uniform program from both employees and patrons.