Raising 5 children, we had certain restaurants we would use to develop their table manners. The beginner place was always Chinese Buffet. When the kids master “polite and can keep the food fairly well on the plate or in their mouth without losing substantial quantities between”, it’s time for a step up.
I think I found one.
We’ve watched construction of the Texas Roadhouse since they first broke ground. Quasi-amazed at the progress and the precision with which it arose out of the Meadow St dust, I imagined that it must be a full sized erector set or the construction version of a paint-by-number set.
The restaurant opened late June and I had heard good things, so the time finally came. While driving by, we had noticed crowds standing around outside, we assumed, waiting for tables. A quick check at their web site let us know that “call ahead seating” was preferred, so we called. A bright young voice answered and we made our request. They gave us a reservation number, 407M, and they really did ask for it when we arrived.
After a 3 to 4 minute wait holding their ergonomically designed, (really?) flashy buzzer thing, the ergonomic beastie came to life, and we were led in to a waiting line next to the bread warmers and refrigerated steak display. The young lady who showed us to our table asked if we wanted to choose our steak from the display. Not this time. Maybe next…
It was loud. So loud, in fact, that there was little if any conversation possible. Ok, we were seated between the bar and main entrance, but it was only 5PM. The evening crowd had not yet arrived. There might be quiet corners within the restaurant, I’ll have to investigate.
The server offered drinks first, and the lemonade – a word about lemonade. I LOVE lemonade. While not a lemonade connoisseur, I DO know what I like. They have Strawberry, Raspberry and Blue(?) lemonade, and all are at the top of the lemonade scale. Our raspberry glasses were refilled several times over the course of the meal. I may come back just for the lemonade…
We ordered road kill. It’s right there on the menu, “road kill”, which is really 10 oz of chopped steak smothered in onions and mushrooms topped off with jack cheese. One of my pet peeves is restaurants that don’t understand the cooking chart from raw and rare to well done and carbon chunk. These people at the Texas Roadhouse cook it right. Janet wanted hers well done, I wanted medium and our daughter medium rare. All 3 were perfectly done, and spiced nicely.
Looking around, they have added some local touches, IC and Cornell jerseys and knick knacks, but it remains a corporate franchise, everything done to the formula which appears to be successful – at least according to the lines of hungry customers reaching well out the door.
Texas Roadhouse is a middle ground between fast food and fine dining. Relaxing and enjoying conversation isn’t the style – it’s about getting the customer in, fed and out in a relatively short time. I was amazed at the speed with which our dishes were prepared, nicely pleased with the food and loved the smiling servers busily taking care of a full house.
So this isn’t a destination as such – but it’s definitely a nice place to get good food at a reasonable cost – the most expensive dish was $25, with many entrees in the $10 to $15 range. The three of us dined for $62, and that included a generous tip.
A disclaimer – I usually don’t review chain restaurants; however, this one in particular had generated quite a buzz when it opened. I felt, in this case, it made sense to let you all know what’s in store when you visit this new restaurant which is easily “Within Reach”.
Texas Roadhouse is located at 719-725 South Meadow St (Rt 13) right in front of Ollie’s. On crowded nights parking might be an issue. For more information and menus, visit https://www.texasroadhouse.com/