Big crowds showed up for the restaurant's grand opening. By 5:30 p.m., restaurant goers were told they'd have to wait nearly an hour to be seated. "We've had a great turnout. We're just excited to be a part of Fresno and bring great food to the valley," said Matt Johnson, the restaurant's managing partner.
The restaurant is located at Shaw and Feland Avenues -- but buzz about its grand opening stretched down the street. At Batteries Plus, the owners are hopeful the new restaurant will bring them a bit more exposure. "It will bring people to this side of town. People like to have something new in town. We're excited," said Batteries Plus owner Jenny Wong.
In all, the restaurant hired about 200 people including line-dancing wait staff. Fresno City Council Member Andreas Borgeas said the good news extends beyond those new jobs… possibly to the economy as a whole. "The restaurant industry has been notoriously hit hard with this recession. So when you have someone coming in with the confidence to open that size of a restaurant, the size of Texas Roadhouse, it's a good sign. They've done their studies. They know whether the market can sustain it," said Borgeas.
But amid all the excitement, the owner of nearby business Backyard Spas and Leisure is also a bit anxious. Tom Verduzco is excited about new business but concerned about parking. "I'm hoping it won't affect me too much and keep people away. But I also know it's going to attract a lot more people so hopefully that will help," said Verduzco.
Texas Roadhouse is just one of several new businesses opening along West Shaw in Northwest Fresno. Along a three mile stretch, you'll find a Grocery Outlet and Panera Bread coming to Shaw and Marty.