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Six Things You Didn’t Know About St. Elmo Steakhouse

St. Elmo Steak House has been searing steaks and wowing diners since 1902, and its dependability can make it seem like we’ve already learned everything there is to know about the timeless restaurant. But with a history that long, there are usually some fascinating facts you aren’t familiar with. In honor of Valentine’s Day (one of our favorite times to visit the classic diner), we dug up six stats you probably didn’t know about Indy’s favorite steakhouse.


  1. There’s only one St. Elmo in the entire world. The owners have received offers to expand into in L.A., New York, Las Vegas, and other cities, but if you want experience the world famous St. Elmo Shrimp Cocktail, you’ve got to come to Indianapolis.
  2. There’s also only one appetizer on the St. Elmo menu. If you guessed the Shrimp Cocktail, you’re absolutely right. If you guessed something else, you need to brush up on your Indianapolis lore. This sinus clearing shrimp cocktail has been on the menu since St. Elmo was first opened in 1902 when it sold for ten cents.
  3. World-champion professional eater Joey Chestnut has dominated the last five years of the St. Elmo Shrimp Cocktail Eating Championship, taking home the winning prize each year. In 2016, he downed 15 pounds of the legendary appetizer (the equivalent of 45 orders) in just eight minutes. The annual event takes place on Georgia Street for as part of the Big Ten Championship festivities.
  4. Each year, St. Elmo alone uses a ton—or rather, 3.25 tons, to be exact—of horseradish. That number doesn’t even include the amount of tear-inducing vegetables used by St. Elmo’s sister restaurant, Harry & Izzy’s, which also sells the Shrimp Cocktail.
  5. 135,000 Shrimp Cocktails are presented to daring diners every year at St. Elmo. That means guests eat 48,600 pounds of shrimp and 3,800 gallons of sauce, or at least they make the attempt. The jury is still out on how many people deem the dish too spicy and give up.
  6. Starting in 2012, St. Elmo started bottling the sauce and selling it at regional grocers for those days you’re craving that kick but can’t make it downtown. They started by selling a modest 9,000 bottles the first year, but demand quickly exploded. In 2017, the restaurant sold over a quarter million bottles of cocktail sauce nationwide.