Pomona alumnus Richard N. Frank puts some meat into Rose Bowl rituals with 50-year "Beef Bowl" tradition
All those flower petals are pretty, but restaurateur Richard N. Frank '46 has found a way to put some beef into the festivities surrounding the Tournament of Roses.
Before they risk broken ribs on the gridiron, the football teams competing in the Rose Bowl feast on prime rib in a tradition started by Frank, chairman of Lawry's Restaurants, Inc.
It was 50 years ago that Frank began the "Lawry's Beef Bowl," serving the two
competing Rose Bowl football teams food from the flagship Lawry's The Prime Rib in Beverly Hills. The beef bowl began as a relatively small affair, but the press quickly became fascinated with the ritual.
Today, the beef bowl is one of the major media events preceding the Rose Bowl. The competing teams are hosted in two separate meals in the week leading up to the big game. About 250 people attend each meal, and the restaurant closes for about an hour to accommodate them.
The meals consist of a pound of prime rib, potatoes, salad, bread and creamed corn,
topped off with apple pie for dessert. "They don't go away hungry -- that's for sure," said Frank.
The event doesn't just fill players' bellies, it helps satisfy sports reporters'
hunger for copy in the week leading up to the big game. And while the beef bowl is sometimes cast in the media as a carnivorous competition, Frank sees it as a way to honor the two teams.
Frank has attended every beef bowl for the past 50 years. A band plays, and cooks and servers applaud the athletes as they walk the red carpet into the famous restaurant, first shaking hands with Frank. During the festivities, Frank receives a signed ball from the players, which goes on display at the restaurant. A book about the ritual, Road to the Rose Bowl: 50 Years of Lawry's Beef Bowl, recently was published by Silverback Books.
The day before the game, Frank, along with sportscaster Curt Gowdy, was inducted into the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame. Led by quarterback Vince Young, the University of Texas Longhorns went on to beat USC 41-38.