Photo by Fred Pollard
Community relations rep Melinda Clowers and service manager Stacey Knebel stand at the entrance to the all-new Texas Roadhouse restaurant, 6640 Edwardsville Crossing in Edwardsville. The location opened Dec. 16.
EDWARDSVILLE − In just 20 years, the Texas Roadhouse restaurant chain has quietly blown through the industry like a southern sandstorm.
“I love the company, I love the culture and I love the food,” Giles Clowers said.
Clowers is the mastermind behind Texas Roadhouse sweeping through the area and opening its newest location at 6640 Edwardsville Crossing Drive last December.
Clowers, who partners with the corporation in owning and operating the Edwardsville location, says the eatery − known for its steaks and ribs − has been busy from day one.
“We relied on reputation, and from day one it has been incredible,” he said. “I think this area was dying for a steakhouse like this; not just Edwardsville, but the surrounding communities, as well.”
With more than 400 locations in 46 states, Texas Roadhouse has stood apart from day one through its unique approach to dining. With Southern tinges like old-fashioned tin buckets of peanuts to munch on and employees country line dancing through the aisles, one would never guess the company actually started in the Midwest (specifically, Indiana).
“Another thing that makes us unique is our call-ahead seating,” Clowers said. “We don’t take reservations, so instead you can call ahead on the day you are coming to see us and that dramatically cuts down your wait time. On a weekend evening here, you are going to wait no matter where you go, but this makes that wait much shorter.”
Clowers operated the location in O’Fallon, Mo., for five years before opening the Edwardsville restaurant so he could be closer to home. As a result, he brings 175 new jobs to the area.
“This area has tremendous growth,” he said. “Between the traffic, the culture, the prosperity, the schools, and the people, this is an incredible town.
“Also, the Roadhouse has always been a big part of giving back to the community with charity work and work with police and fire departments, and this area fit what we are trying to accomplish.”
A local special exclusive to the Edwardsville location is the “Wild West Wednesday,” where customers can enjoy an 11-ounce sirloin and two sides for $9.99.
“Our steaks and ribs are all hand-cut and made from scratch,” Clowers said. “Our meat cutter is our lifeblood; he is here every single day and spends 10 to 12 hours a day in a meat cooler.”
Texas Roadhouse is open from 3:45 until 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. until 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. on Sunday.
We had to ask…3:45?
“I always tell my staff we need to be 100 percent ready 15 minutes before opening, so we might as well just open then,” Clowers said, laughing. “To me, it is just a mindset to make sure we are ready and prepared to serve our guests.”
Apparently service, like the portions, really is bigger in Texas.
For more information, call (618) 656-8000 or visit the website at texasroadhouse.com.