Before Texas Roadhouse officially opens its doors Monday afternoon, the award-winning restaurant will have already made a lot of friends in the community.
Located across the street from the Walmart Supercenter on Epps Bridge Parkway in Oconee County, Texas Roadhouse is expected to employ 175, with between 25 and 30 working full-time. As staffers trained last week to prepare for Monday’s grand opening, a number of Athens area agencies were the beneficiaries.
During four days of employee training, all food prepared was donated to the Athens-Clarke Police Department and the Clarke County Sheriff’s Office.
“On Monday and Tuesday, we’re donating meals to feed both shifts for the police department, and Wednesday and Thursday will be the sheriff’s office,” Nicole Vesco, senior marketing coach for Texas Roadhouse, said last week. “We love giving back to our local heroes in the area. While we go through the training process we think of who would enjoy our legendary food, so we reached out to both organizations, who gladly accepted.”
Two pre-opening events were scheduled at Texas Roadhouse, both of which benefit local organizations, namely the Athens Area Humane Society and VFW Post 2872.
“We’ve invited all the employee members and their families in on one of two nights … and all the food is complimentary since we will be in training,” said Vesco. “Half the staff will work each night. Since food is complimentary, we’ve partnered with the VFW and the Athens Humane Society to receive donations that night. So instead of people paying for food, they can make a donation to those two very special charities.”
“I’ve seen the impact both these organizations have had first-hand,” said managing partner Jason Burgess in a news release. “I’m incredibly thankful for the opportunity to be able to give back to organizations who have impacted the lives of so many, including my own family members.
“My father is a veteran and my wife has adopted two cats from the humane society. We couldn’t be more proud to celebrate our opening by partnering with these amazing organizations.”
The Kentucky-based, family-friendly restaurant first opened in 1993 and now has more than 525 locations in 49 states and six countries. Touting its food, service and atmosphere, Texas Roadhouse was voted “No. 1 Steak” by the Nation’s Restaurant News Consumer Picks Survey in 2015 and 2016. It was also named by Restaurant Business as the No. 1 full-service chain in sales and satisfaction in 2016, and was recently recognized by Forbes as one of America’s Best Large Employers.
Texas Roadhouse also has locations in Cumming, Gainesville and Snellville, and Vesco said the Athens area had been on the restaurant’s radar for quite a while.
“We have looked at this area for a long time and finally found the perfect plot of real estate,” she said. “And we love Athens because of the great spirit in the community.”
“Athens is a top city in Georgia,” added Brett Fraser, Texas Roadhouse market partner, in an email. “We have been looking to bring our legendary food and legendary service to the community for almost a decade. I’ve had two children attend school at UGA. When this site (on Epps Bridge Parkway) came available, I knew its location was ideal because of the proximity to other wonderful business partners and opportunity to serve the Athens area community.”
A ribbon-cutting with the Athens Area Chamber of Commerce is set for 11 a.m. Monday and the restaurant will open to the public for dinner at 4 p.m. For more information on Texas Roadhouse, visit www.texasroadhouse.com.