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Jeff Lindsay is an author of Conquering Innovation Fatigue. See InnovationFatigue.com for more info.
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Friday, February 24, 2006

 

Texas Roadhouse: Outstanding Restaurant, Great Food, and Perhaps Even a Great Investment


I just took my family to Texas Roadhouse restaurant (3910 W College Ave., Appleton, 920-738-7427). WOW! This is now my current choice for "Best Service and Best Buy for Steak" in the Fox Cities area.

After two experiences there, I have to say that I am really impressed with the food, the service, and the business model of this growing national chain. This restaurant is designed to feed people well and keep them happy. The meat was tender and delicious, and none of us felt any temptation to dump steak sauce on our food. And I don't know of a steakhouse with better prices. My wife, for example, had one of the least expensive items, a $6.99 6-ounce sirloin that included two side dishes (she chose chili and green beans) plus their rolls - and it was delightful and left her full. She got quite a bargain! Not including the tip, the bill for four of us was $42, and we carried some food home. My 16-year-old son and I shared a large 18-ounce T-bone steak for $18.99, and my other son had son enjoyed a $13.99 barbecue combo platter with steak and chicken. All tender and delicious, not overcooked. And we really enjoyed the side dishes as well. The chili, like all their side dishes, was made on site from fresh ingredients, not canned. The salad was fine, their green beans were wonderfully flavored, and the sweet potato was to die for - well maybe not die, but it's at least worth a mild stroke. The baked beans also impressed my youngest son - thick and well seasoned.

Since Texas Roadhouse is fun, delicious and inexpensive, the place is popular and often busy. If you're smart, you'll call before you get there to let them know you're coming. They'll put you on the wait list as if you had just walked in the door - you can do this for up to an hour before you arrive. On a Friday or Saturday, there might be 20 to 40 minutes wait, so it's good to call first. This worked out perfectly for us tonight. But if you do have to wait, don't worry. They have a waiting room where you can eat all the salted peanuts in shells that you want, and you can just throw the shells on the floor. I guess that's supposed to be Texas style, but we Midwestern folk seem to get the hand of that right away.

Also, while we were waiting, a girl came around with free samples of their delicious onion rings and dip for people to try. Free peanuts, a sample of food, friendly greeters at the door - I like this business model: they work hard to keep you happy. Part of their secret is having lots of energetic and friendly employees. Even though the place was packed, we received a lot of personal attention from several staff members. Amazing service. Shortly after we were seated, we were brought wonderfully delicious fresh-baked rolls. Yum! We ate them in a hurry, so they brought us more. We placed our orders and were served surprisingly quickly. Water was regularly replenished - with nice tall glasses that lasted longer than the water at most places. (One of many small details that shows their management has worked hard to optimize their system.)

My first time there, I had dinner there with a couple of patent lawyers early on a weeknight when it wasn't too busy (and still pretty new to Appleton). Perhaps it's a bit too rowdy for a business dinner, but it was mighty fun with excellent food at surprisingly low prices. My Dallas steak was outstanding and the homemade rolls were great, but my favorite part of the meal was a side dish, yes, their baked sweet potato that was covered with brown sugar and topped with half-melted marshmallows. They gave me some cinnamon at my request. It was huge, superb, and better than almost any dessert I've had - but I'm quite partial to sweet potatoes. (My years in the South may be to blame.)

Texas Roadhouse is next to Woodfield Suites on College Avenue, just east of Highway 41. 3910 W College Ave, Appleton. To get there from College Avenue, you need to go about 40 yards north on Blue Mound and turn left (west) into the parking area that leads to Woodfield Suites and also Appleby's. And be sure to call ahead to get your name on the wait list before you arrive: (920) 738-7427.

P.S. After seeing how popular they have become and learning more about this business, I looked into the stock (TXRH) as a potential investment and was impressed enough that I actually bought a few shares. Jim Cramer recommended it recently as a great investment, and their future growth prospects look bright. Plus my recent visits have shown me that management has implemented a tremendous business model that really pleases customers. If you're into stocks, check it out - or as I told my family, "stake out the stock, then stock up on steak." But in spite of my small recent financial interest in this company, I would be praising them anyway, as I was already doing on my Appleton page after my first visit there, before I had any idea that they were a publicly traded company.
Comments:
My wife and I just love Texas Roadhouse. We can never get enough of those rolls with honey butter! YUM. Always fun to be had at TR!! You need to make sure to come early, the place packs em in during the weekends. Just great!
 
Now if only they had one in Madison...
 
I work at tx roadhouse...we get free rolls and peanuts....I just got promoted ....i love that place....everything is managed perfectly from the food prep to the work load divisions......even down to the pefectly unleveled floors that make all the water go to the sides of the building not causing puddle where people walk.......down to the fact that we dont own a mop......becaus emops caus ebigger water spills...we use towels.....we all wear trip safe shoes....if you come to work with a wrinkled shirt,faded jeans, or your cell phone it is not legendary and you will be sent home or forced to buy a new one....everythign works there....and we get a huge discount so i eat there all the time and i love there food...i know how its made....all from total scratch.......i watch marco in the back stir salad dressings everyday and then the guy in the back always cutting meat....its soooo good.......and if you ask really really nicely they might make some fried pickels for you...its not on the menu but its somethign our manager makes for our employees when the big head honcho is no where to bee see, lol....its soooo good.
 
Na..
I enjoy hearing myself think when I eat.

Pretty damn hard to hold a conversation at a table when 15 teenagers are singing happy birthday to someone and doing the two step next to your table.

ha ha..
Just my take. I am NOT a fan of this type of dining.

No worries if you like it. Just my thoughts.

If you like this, you will love Happy Joes! Oh yeah, they are closed! Bummer..

Here is my quick Texas Roadhouse skit.

"Hi welcome to the Texas Roadhouse. Please follow me to the butcher cabinet and view the overpriced shoe leather we have for you to purchase".

How about a tin of nuts?

Ha ha..
"Ya Hey Dar, We love it". ha ha ha ha ha ha..
 
Lived in Appleton since '99. First time there, youngest, 20, wanted "steak" for his birthday.
The saddle riding humiliation was worth it all....and the food was good...and I love the fact the "Texas Roadhouse" was founded in Indiana LOL
 
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
 
Pretty damn hard to hold a conversation at a table when 15 teenagers are singing happy birthday to someone and doing the two step next to your table.
Texas
 
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