Texas Roadhouse Comes To Athens

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It’s been rumored for weeks, but a spokesman for Texas Roadhouse confirmed Thursday that the company plans to open a restaurant in Athens.

The Athens Messenger reports that Spokesman Travis Doster said in an email to The Messenger that the company’s founder has approved the site that was being considered.

“It is in front of Tractor Supply on East State,” Doster wrote. “If all goes smoothly, we hope to open in (June) of next year.”

Doster could not be reached by phone for further comment.

The proposed restaurant site is in the front parking lot of the Market on State.

Brent Hayes, co-owner of the property, said there still is not an executed lease. Hayes referred questions to co-owner Tom Parfitt, who Hayes said has been working more closely with Texas Roadhouse. The Messenger could not immediately reach Parfitt for comment.

The site is where the Athens Farmers Market operates from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays year-round, and on Wednesdays April-December.

“There will probably be some options,” Hayes said of the market’s future location.

Hayes said he believed — but was not certain — that Texas Roadhouse restaurants open at 3 p.m., so the farmers market might be able to co-exist with the restaurant. At Hayes’ suggestion, The Messenger checked the hours of a Texas Roadhouse restaurant (the one in Lancaster) and found that it opens at 3 p.m on Wednesdays but at 11 a.m. on Saturdays, which would conflict with the farmers market hours.

Hayes said another option would be to move the farmers market to another location at the Market on State. Hayes said discussions will be held with farmers market officials to “see how we can make things work.”

Texas Roadhouse describes itself as a full-service, casual-dining restaurant chain.

“We offer an assortment of specially seasoned and aged steaks hand-cut daily on the premises and cooked to order over open gas-fired grills,” according to the company’s website. “In addition to steaks, we also offer our guests a selection of ribs, fish, seafood, chicken, pork chops, pulled pork, vegetable plates and an assortment of hamburgers, salads and sandwiches.”

The company, founded in 1993, operates in 47 states. During the past five years, the total number of Texas Roadhouse company and franchise restaurants increased from 193 restaurants as of the end of 2004 to more than 390 as of the end of 2012, according to the website.