Texas Roadhouse plans to open its second Lexington restaurant later this year at Beaumont Centre, filling a high-profile spot that was once Max & Erma's and briefly Fulin's Asian Cuisine.
It will be the chain's first location here since the Texas Roadhouse on Richmond Road opened in January 1995. That restaurant was the fourth opened by the Louisville-based chain, which now has 377 locations.
The franchisee-run restaurant, scheduled to open Oct. 1, will be a new prototype the company is testing, though guests won't physically see the difference. Instead of two cooking lines in the kitchen, the chain will construct one long continuous line.
"It's really to make things more efficient," said spokesman Travis Doster. "The guests will see it hopefully in us getting the food out hotter and faster."
Doster said the Beaumont Centre location was appealing because of the demographics of nearby neighborhoods and the high volume of traffic.
"We don't do traditional advertising at all, so visibility is very key to us," he said. "Our buildings and signs are sort of a glowing billboard themselves, so it's important we not be tucked away."
Lexington commercial real estate executive Al Isaac, who manages the company that owns the property, echoed Doster's thoughts on the location.
"It's got terrific Harrodsburg Road visibility and good residential backup," Isaac said. "We look forward to the opening and think they'll be very successful there."
It will be the third restaurant in the spot since 2009, when Max & Erma's closed after the regional chain filed for bankruptcy protection. Max & Erma's also later closed its Hamburg location.
Fulin's Asian Cuisine, which has restaurants in Tennessee and Alabama, opened in the spot in 2010 but later closed.
Beaumont Centre developer Tim Haymaker said the new restaurant is welcome news to guests of the nearby Residence Inn and Courtyard by Marriott hotels that have opened within the past year.
"The hotels came to us only last week to say folks staying in them were looking for a broader selection of restaurants," he said.