Texas Roadhouse debuts new bar, goes smoke-free
By JESSA PEASE / Staff Writer
PELHAM—Visitors to Texas Roadhouse in Pelham might have noticed a few changes to the restaurant over Mother’s Day weekend in early May. Not only does the store have a completely redesigned bar, but it also went completely smoke-free May 8.
“Making the restaurant smoke-free is something I’ve wanted to do for several years. It’s nicer for our guests and our staff,” said managing partner Donegan. “We have a lot of families with children who dine with us and a continued request was to make the restaurant smoke-free.”
Walking into the restaurant, the bar sits in the very middle. While there was a smoking and non-smoking section, Donegan said smoke got everywhere, and families had to cross through the smoking section to get to the non-smoking section. When the time came to renovate the bar, he said it was the perfect time to go smoke-free as well.
The new bar features nine new televisions—ranging from 65-80 inches— and a 15-foot blue star above the bar. All the cabinets that used to be above the bar were also removed, opening it up.
“You want to stay fresh, you want to stay new,” Donegan said. “You want to give your guests something fresh and something updated. It looks awesome.”
The response to the new design and smoke-free environment has been great, according to Donegan. Sales are up, people are enjoying it and none of the regulars have left because of the smoke-free change.
The new bar set up has also attracted more customers to dine at the tables surrounding it. Families can now sit at those tables, enjoying the new TV’s, and the tables turn more quickly.
“You’re not worried about sitting too close to the smoke, or too far away from it,” Donegan said. “It’s not holding up anything.”
In time, Donegan said he will probably add outdoor seating to give people a place to smoke outside the store. It all has to happen in stages, he said, but adding something outside is an option for the restaurant.
“It’s busier and busier, so the more people you can seat the more tables you can turn and the more money you can make,” he said.
Texas Roadhouse is going on 11 years in its 60 Drivers Way location in Pelham. The Kentucky –based restaurant is known for its steaks, made-from-scratch sides and fresh-baked bread.