A fast-growing steakhouse restaurant chain with Kentucky roots has finally landed in Bowling Green.
Louisville-based Texas Roadhouse, which specializes in steaks in Southwestern cuisine style and its signature free dinner bread rolls with honey cinnamon butter, opened a location Monday on Nell O’Bryan Court between Sam’s Club and Cabela’s.
The 7,525-square-foot restaurant, decorated inside with murals and memorabilia featuring Corvettes and other Bowling Green-specific scenes, went up quickly but has been years in the making.
“We’ve been talking about a Bowling Green location for about five years,” said James Walrath, managing partner of the Bowling Green Texas Roadhouse, at the grand opening that featured the Andy Armadillo mascot and line-dancing staff members. “We just had to find the perfect location.”
Travis Doster, senior director of communications and public relations for Texas Roadhouse, said last summer that the Nell O’Bryan Court site was ideal.
“It has lots of visibility from the highway (Interstate 65),” Doster said shortly after it was revealed that the restaurant chain was coming to Bowling Green.
Like Walrath, Doster said a spot in Bowling Green has been talked about for years.
“That’s the No. 1 location in Kentucky that I’ve been asked about,” he said.
Now the speculation is over, and Walrath said the buzz about the new location is palpable.
“There has been a lot of excitement,” he said. “We’re glad to be opening in Bowling Green.”
Walrath said the restaurant has filled more than 180 full- and part-time positions and will eventually have a staff of about 200 in a restaurant that will have a seating capacity of 290.
The restaurant also has a large section for handling carryout orders, a concession to the coronavirus pandemic that altered the chain’s operations but didn’t stifle its growth.
“It (the pandemic) hasn’t really been a struggle for us,” Walrath said. “We adapted to the to-go service.”
Neither Walrath nor Texas Roadhouse Market Partner Lynda Snedeker expect any more locations in the Bowling Green area, but Snedeker said the chain’s growth strategy will continue.
“We are looking at other Kentucky locations,” said Snedeker, who oversees seven Texas Roadhouse locations. “We won’t have another one in Bowling Green, but we’re glad to be in the fastest-growing city in Kentucky. The community has been so welcoming, and I’ve met some of the nicest people.”
Texas Roadhouse, which features burgers, barbecue, chicken and salads along with its extensive steak offerings, was founded in the Louisville area in 1993 by the late W. Kent Taylor.
The chain now has more than 600 locations across 49 states and several foreign countries. It has a number of locations in Kentucky, including eateries in Louisville, Lexington, Owensboro, Somerset and Elizabethtown.
Ranked No. 1 among full-service restaurants in the American Consumer Satisfaction Index in 2018 and 2019, Texas Roadhouse has seen its annual revenue grow from $900 million to $2.8 billion over the past decade.
– Follow business reporter Don Sergent on Twitter @BGDNbusiness or visit bgdailynews.com.