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Photo by Dave Flessner / Axel Balow, managing partner for the Texas Roadhouse in Hixson, cuts the ribbon to open the restaurant on Highway 153 Monday.
some text Photo by Dave Flessner / Workers put the finishing touches on the new Texas Roadhouse porch. The Hixson restaurant opened Monday.

Texas Roadhouse opened a second restaurant in Chattanooga Monday as the Louisville, Kentucky-based steakhouse chain expanded into Hixson to complement its 18-year-old restaurant in East Brainerd.

The new $4.7 million Texas Roadhouse was built along Highway 153 in front of the former Kmart in Hixson, which closed in late 2016 and has since been renovated by Chattanooga developer Bassam Issa into Issa Crossing with a Gabe's and Spirit Halloween store.

"In talking with hundreds of prospective employees and local residents, it's clear that many people on Signal Mountain and in Red Bank, Hixson and North Chattanooga don't go to the other side of town to eat out that much and there is a real desire for a Texas Roadhouse here in Hixson," said Axel Balow, the general manager and head of the new 278-seat restaurant.

some text Photo by Dave Flessner / Window washers clean the outside of the new Texas Roadhouse, which opened Monday in Hixson.

Balow, the managing partner for the newest Texas Roadhouse who previously managed a similar unit in Johnson City, said Monday's opening culminated nearly two years of planning, development, construction and staff training. Balow said the new restaurant will employ 204 full- and part-time employees and will promote the mission statement of the restaurant chain — "Legendary Food, Legendary Service."

"It's a dream come true for me to be opening this restaurant," Balow told community leaders gathered Monday for the grand opening of the Hixson eatery.

To mark Monday's opening, Texas Roadhouse donated $1,637.88 to the American Legion Post 159 and $1,655.05 to the Police and Firemen's Forgotten Child Fund.

"We're really excited to get things going and start serving the public," said Avery Hawk, a former manager at the Texas Roadhouse in Alcoa, Tennessee and one of a half dozen veteran Texas Roadhouse employees who came to Chattanooga to run the new Hixson store.

Texas Roadhouse is famous for its steaks, ribs seafood and chicken. The typical meal is priced $12 to $14 and includes free buckets of peanuts and yeast rolls.

The Hixson store will not serve lunches during the week when it will be open from 4-10 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 4-11 p.m. on Friday. But Texas Roadhouse does serve lunch on the weekends when it is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday.

some text Photo by Dave Flessner / Axel Balow, managing partner for the new Hixson Texas Roadhouse restaurant, tells community leaders about the new $4.7 million restaurant.

Texas Roadhouse, which began in 1993 and is headquartered in Louisville, owns and operates 563 locations in 49 U.S. states, and in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, the Philippines, Mexico, and Taiwan. The new Hixson store is one of 28 new restaurants the chain is adding this year and Texas Roadhouse plans to add about 30 more locations next year.

Texas Roadhouse is among a handful of new restaurants being added this fall along Highway 153 in Hixson.

Panda Express and Aubrey's are set to open eateries at the site of the former Northgate Sears auto center by the end of this year, according to CBL Properties. Panda Express, a fast casual Chinese restaurant, will have 2,000 square feet of space including an outdoor patio. Aubrey's, which offers pastas, fresh seafood, hamburgers and "Southern favorites," will take up 7,500 square feet and also have an exterior patio.

Across the street in a new Hixson retail center being built at Highway 153 and Hamill Road, First Watch is opening its third Chattanooga eatery and Mike's Hole in the Wall is opening a second local family sports-oriented restaurant.

Contact Dave Flessner at dflessner@timesfreepress.com or at 757-6340

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