Texas Roadhouse sign and food

Important Facts About Texas Roadhouse

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If all your exes live in Texas, never fear: you can enjoy authentic Texas cooking from the comfort of one of Texas Roadhouse’s 600 existing locations. Texas Roadhouse is all about serving wholesome, homemade grub at an affordable price. And even though the vibe at the restaurant chain is certainly welcoming — the vibrant murals and enthusiastic employees make sure of that — the real magic happens in the kitchen.

Texas Roadhouse is known for its hand-cut steaks, fall-off-the-bone ribs, and delectable rolls served with honey cinnamon butter. It serves legendary meals like its porterhouse T-bone steak, pulled pork sandwich, and country-fried sirloin steak. But back when Texas Roadhouse was just a collection of scribbles on a cocktail napkin, founder Kent Taylor had no way of knowing just how much his dream restaurant would transform into the business we know today. From unexpected celebrity friendships to unique employee competitions, here are some unexpected things you should know about Texas Roadhouse.

1. The restaurant chain came to life on a cocktail napkin

Texas Roadhouse idea cocktail napkin

Texas Roadhouse

“Brick bar. Peanuts. Celeb pict. New books;” these words were scribbled across a cocktail napkin in blue ink in 1993. The man who wrote them — Kent Taylor — was desperately trying to convince his new business partners that the $300,000 they invested wasn’t going to go to waste. Taylor’s dream was to open a Texas-style restaurant that served comforting, down-home food: hand-cut steaks, country-fried chicken, cheese fries, chili. If a cowboy would eat it, Taylor wanted to put it on the menu.

Kent’s sketches eventually transformed from ink on paper to brick and mortar. Guests walked through Texas Roadhouse’s doors and entered a warmly-lit, peanut-strewn, Southern-style paradise. The origins of Texas Roadhouse may be humble, but they also reflect the American Dream: a man had an ambitious idea, chased investors, and learned from his failures in order to create a successful restaurant chain. You can find unexpected moments of pure Southern joy in every corner of the restaurant, from the enthusiastic employees to the frozen margaritas. And the cocktail napkin is now one of the restaurant chain’s prized possessions.

2. It uses USDA Choice beef

Texas Roadhouse steak and sides

Texas Roadhouse/Facebook

Texas Roadhouse doesn’t serve up the highest quality USDA grade beef (USDA Prime). Instead, it serves the second highest quality grade beef (USDA Choice). Choice beef is the most common beef cut grade you’ll find in grocery stores and restaurants. It may not be as complexly marbled or as tender as Prime beef, but it’s still a high-quality cut, due to its versatility. Around 40% of the Texas Roadhouse menu is made up of steak, from 8-ounce filets to New York strips to ribeyes and so much more. The restaurant chain’s best-selling item is the 6-ounce USDA Choice Sirloin, and for good reason: it’s lean, packed with flavorful juices, and charred with a satisfying sear.

And now, the company’s Butcher Shop makes steak delivery of those Choice steaks possible. The butchers work in coolers that are 34 degrees Fahrenheit, which helps ensure that every cut of steak is prepared safely and without cross-contamination. Steaks are delivered to your door in Styrofoam coolers packed with dry ice to replicate this cold environment, which keeps steaks fresh. The steaks are hand-trimmed by Texas Roadhouse’s qualified butchers and packaged with the chain’s signature steak seasoning. You’ll basically be getting the restaurant experience from your own kitchen.

3. The company holds an annual meat-cutting competition

butcher hand cutting meat

Hispanolistic/Getty Images

“Meat cutting is considered a lost art, but not at Texas Roadhouse,” Texas Roadhouse claims. This is evident in the company’s enthusiasm for the skill, which it celebrates at its national meat cutting competition. The competition is a haven for Texas Roadhouse’s talented butchers. “These guys are in there, in a cold room, 34 degrees, every single day, cutting hundreds and hundreds of pounds of meat,” Fausto Mendoza, a product coach for Texas Roadhouse, told KATC News. The competition was born out of a desire to pay tribute to the butchers and highlight their unique skills.

At the competition, Texas Roadhouse meat cutters receive approximately 40 pounds of meat and compete to make the highest-quality cuts the fastest. The winner walks away with $25,000. But Texas Roadhouse’s Meat Cutters are up to the challenge, as they handle around $1 million worth of steaks a year per store. So if you go to the meat cutting competition, you’re watching real masters at work. Meat Cutters compete regionally and slowly work their way to the final national championship, where they face off against some of the best meat cutters the company has to offer.

4. It has a fund to help employees financially

Texas Roadhouse employees

Texas Roadhouse/Facebook

At Texas Roadhouse, no employee — or “Roadie,” as staff members are called by the chain — is left behind. That’s because of Andy’s Outreach Fund. The fund started when Dee Shaughnessy, a Texas Roadhouse employee, started to collect donations for co-workers in need. What began as a one-woman effort expanded into a full-fledged nonprofit organization by 2006. To this day, some Roadies look out for one another by donating a small part of their paychecks to Andy’s Outreach Fund. There are bake sales, cookouts, T-shirt sales, and silent auctions, all of which raise money for the organization. But what if the fund didn’t need to rely on bake sales, cookouts, and employee donations?

The team behind Andy’s Outreach Fund knew there was a way to make an even bigger impact, not only for Roadies but for guests, too. That’s how Texas Roadhouse’s Logan, Utah location was born. Logan’s Texas Roadhouse restaurant donates 95% of its profits to Andy’s Outreach Fund. At the Logan location, there’s even a mural on the wall that shows the man who inspired the fund — James Bryan, a Roadie who passed away unexpectedly in 2000 — along with the two people who helped bring Andy’s Outreach to life, then-CEO Gerard J. Hart, and Dee Shaughnessy, Texas Roadhouse’s former director of Care & Concern.

5. Texas Roadhouse claims all its food is made from scratch

Texas Roadhouse rolls and butter

texasroadhouse/Instagram

When you eat at a chain restaurant, you can never be sure that what you’re eating is totally fresh. But Texas Roadhouse clearly advertises the fact that its food is all made from scratch — even foods you wouldn’t expect, like croutons and bacon bits. There are butchers on staff who make sure that every cut of USDA Choice beef is as tender, juicy, and flavorful as possible. And those buttered rolls you love so much? Those are made by in-house bakers. They’re not only baked every five minutes, but they are served alongside mouthwatering homemade honey cinnamon butter. What’s more Southern than honey and butter?

The side dishes are also purportedly made from scratch, from the baked potato topped with butter, sour cream, cheddar cheese, and bacon to the Texas red chili served with the option of beans. To offset the feast of house-made steak, potatoes, and chili, a homemade slice of Granny’s Apple Classic is in order. The dish, apple pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of honey cinnamon caramel sauce, is the ideal end to a made-from-scratch meal.

6. There are gluten-friendly options, but not gluten-free ones

Texas Roadhouse pork chop meal

texasroadhouse/Instagram

Texas Roadhouse claims that its food is made from scratch, and this is normally a point in its favor, but not for people with gluten sensitivities. Texas Roadhouse readily admits that cooking its food from scratch makes foods more susceptible to cross-contamination. The company doesn’t offer any gluten-free options, but it does suggest gluten-friendly menu items. The gluten-friendly menu contains trace amounts of gluten, so only customers who avoid gluten as a preference and not as a medical necessity should order from it. Texas Roadhouse is heavy on the steak, so hungry customers in search of gluten-friendly options can still tear into a hand-cut sirloin. The restaurant chain notes, however, that the prime rib is not gluten-friendly due to the marinade.

Gluten-friendly dinner salads are tossed with oil and vinegar and not with croutons. Texas Roadhouse favorites like the All-American Cheeseburger and the BBQ Chicken Sandwich are served without buns or fries. When you smother your gluten-friendly dinner in jack cheese and sautéed mushrooms, you won’t even notice the absence of buns or fries.

7. The chain say it’s committed to animal welfare

bacon burger from Texas Roadhouse

texasroadhouse/Instagram

Don’t you want your favorite Southern-themed restaurant to treat its animals with care and respect? Luckily, Texas Roadhouse claims to do just that. In its 2023 Sustainability Report, Texas Roadhouse said: “All of the products we source meet USDA guidelines for safety and follow FDA regulations for the responsible use of antibiotics.” The consideration of animal product sourcing is important, as almost half of the chain’s menu is made up of steak.

The beef comes from the United States and Canada, which means the restaurant doesn’t contribute to deforestation threats that often occur with beef farming in other parts of the world. Texas Roadhouse also claims to meet the high standards set by the North American Meat Institute, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, and the Beef Quality Assurance program. As for poultry, Texas Roadhouse implied that a plan is in place to improve the welfare of its chickens. “We are working towards using suppliers that deliver meat from farm-raised and cage-free chickens,” Texas Roadhouse also said in last year’s sustainability report.

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Since beef, poultry, and pork all start out on farms, Texas Roadhouse also says that it follows the “Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare” with its livestock. These freedoms are freedom from hunger and thirst; freedom from discomfort; freedom from pain, injury, or disease; freedom to express normal behavior; and freedom from fear and distress.

8. Lubbock, Texas is home to the largest Texas Roadhouse

mascot outside Texas Roadhouse location

Texas Roadhouse/Facebook

If you’ve ever wanted to eat steak inside a palace, now you can (kind of). Lubbock, Texas is home to the biggest Texas Roadhouse — reportedly the largest on Earth — and that’s no small feat, considering how the average size is already a whopping 7,500 square feet. Cheesecake Factory restaurants are an average of 7,500 square feet to 10,000 square feet, which is admittedly impressive, but Lubbock’s Texas Roadhouse has it beat. At 6101 Slide Road, you’ll find a 12,000-square-foot Texas Roadhouse. We know what you’re thinking: does it come with a map?

The Lubbock location used to be a Toys “R” Us store, but now everyone can enjoy the space, thanks to Texas Roadhouse’s expansive seating options. The parking lot can even fit approximately 200 vehicles. And Mike Smith, a managing partner at the Lubbock location, told Everything Lubbock that the larger-than-life restaurant was born out of a need for more space for the thriving business. Thanks to the 12,000 square feet of the new restaurant, space certainly isn’t a problem anymore.

9. The company sells scented candles

Texas Roadhouse butter candle

texasroadhouse/Instagram

The only thing better than the food at Texas Roadhouse is the smell of the food being cooked. Sizzling steak? Freshly baked rolls with honey cinnamon butter? A Legendary Margarita with a splash of lime? We want to bottle up those scents and make them into perfume. Well, Texas Roadhouse did the next best thing when it created a butter-inspired item that isn’t actually edible: a scented candle! A few scented candles, to be exact. Yes, you can buy a candle that smells just like a warm basket of Texas Roadhouse classic rolls with delectable honey cinnamon butter. But if a sweet scent isn’t your vibe, then you can light up a Legendary Margarita candle. The light citrusy scent is bold and energizing. If you can’t sip a frosty Legendary Margarita on a hammock in Texas, then you can at least smell it.

There are scents that aren’t related to Texas Roadhouse’s menu so much as to the restaurant chain’s overall theme. If you’ve ever wanted to smell like a cowboy (in a good way) then try out one of Texas Roadhouse’s Saddle candles. It’s the polished scent of leather that’s somehow refined and wild. The most metaphorical scent is Texas Sky, which brings to mind fresh air and warm summer nights.

10. Each restaurant has its own unique mural

mural at Texas Roadhouse location

MPK49 / Reddit

There are approximately 600 Texas Roadhouse locations in the U.S., and nearly all of them are decorated with murals. These murals differ in theme, color, and style, making the murals unique to each location’s local community. One of the murals in each Texas Roadhouse location is usually an artistic scene that depicts the landmarks or famous figures of a local area. In Hilliard, Ohio, for example, a Texas Roadhouse mural serves as an homage to race car driver and Ohio native Bobby Rahal. You’ll also find murals that pay homage to Native American culture at Texas Roadhouse.

Artist David Soileau is one of many artists commissioned to paint murals for the chain, and he’s painted over 1,000 murals for Texas Roadhouse. Among these, he’s painted an armadillo in space for a Texas Roadhouse restaurant in Decatur, Alabama; a mural honoring Route 66 at the Flagstaff, Arizona location; and a Native American man surveying a ship in Colonial Heights, Virginia. Regardless of which location you go to, you’ll be greeted by a wholly unique, totally original feast for the eyes.

11. Its butcher shop offers cooking tips and recipes

Texas Roadhouse butcher and meat

Texas Roadhouse/Facebook

Most people go out to eat if they don’t have to cook at home. But what if your favorite neighborhood chain restaurant actually encouraged you to cook for yourself? And not just encouraged you, but offered up tips and tricks to make the process easier and more enjoyable? That’s exactly what the meat cutters and cooks at Texas Roadhouse’s butcher shop do. On its website, the butcher shop offers culinary advice and recipes for hungry customers to try from home. There are recipes for unique dishes you probably won’t find on the regular menu, like filet tip poutine and Red, White, & Blue nachos. There are more upscale recipes as well, from a filet with sage-walnut cream sauce to ribeye crostinis.

And if cooking a Texas Roadhouse-level steak feels a little out of your wheelhouse, no worries: there’s a thawing and grilling guide for newbies. In this guide, Texas Roadhouse breaks down imposing grilling techniques so anyone can tackle them. The guide explains the difference between different temperature zones, how to grill on charcoal grills vs. gas grills, and what steak temperatures to look for depending on your preferred level of doneness.

12. The chain has a strong connection to Willie Nelson

Texas Roadhouse Willie's Corner sign

Consistent_Froyo3080 / Reddit

You know what’s always on our mind? The unexpected friendship between country singer Willie Nelson and Texas Roadhouse’s founder, Kent Taylor. Or maybe the friendship wasn’t unexpected at all, considering how both men were country through and through. According to the restaurant, the duo first hit it off at a Farm Aid concert. Just like cowboys back in the day, Nelson and Taylor became firm friends when they bonded over their love of poker. Nelson and Taylor were friends for decades, and the country singer even appeared in a Texas Roadhouse commercial.

Willie Nelson may prefer to be on the road (again), but you’ll always find a corner set up just for him at Texas Roadhouse. “Willie’s Corner” was created as an homage to the friendship between the country singer and Texas Roadhouse founder, but it was also meant to celebrate Nelson’s contribution to the company’s overall culture. After all, if anyone would fit in at Texas Roadhouse, with its armadillo mascot, scattered peanuts, and made-from-scratch grub, it’s Willie Nelson. 

13. There used to be peanut shells all over the floor

Texas Roadhouse peanuts

Texas Roadhouse/Facebook

There’s just something about crunchy peanuts underfoot that makes you hungry, right? Maybe not to you. But Texas Roadhouse seemed to think there was a correlation between the two, as the restaurant used to allow peanut shells to coat the floors of each business.

In the past, customers were given bags of peanuts to munch on while waiting for their meals. While some of the peanut shells undoubtedly came from hungry customers, others were purposefully scattered across the floor to give each Texas Roadhouse that down-home, country feel. It was said that Texas Roadhouse employees used to sweep peanut shells off the floor every 30 minutes or so to keep the floors clean. But if you’re hoping to step on some peanut shells today, you might be out of luck.

Texas Roadhouse no longer scatters peanut shells on the floor in some locations, much to our disappointment. There’s no clear reason why the peanut shells have been phased out, but at least one lawsuit could have something to do with it. A man sued the restaurant chain in 2016 when he slipped on peanut shells and shattered his knee. 

14. Texas Roadhouse’s steak sauce contains an unexpected ingredient

Texas Roadhouse steak sauce

texasroadhouse/Instagram

Texas Roadhouse couldn’t just stop at grilling up a perfectly-cooked sirloin. It took its passion a step further by concocting its own steak sauce, which has a unique, country-style flavor that only Texas Roadhouse could have created. Amazon reviewers described the sauce’s taste for themselves. “It tastes like how the air smells when you are BBQing if that makes any sense. Just WOW!”  one Amazon reviewer wrote. Another Amazon user commented: “It is a bit sweet, a bit smokey, not overpowering the meat.”

Another Amazon review made a coincidental connection. “Amazing flavor, so much better than A1 in my opinion,” the user wrote. Funnily enough, A1 and Texas Roadhouse steak sauce actually have one unexpected ingredient in common: raisins. Raisins are a nifty secret weapon when you’re trying to upgrade your homemade steak sauce, and for good reason. The dried fruits add a nutty sweetness to steak sauce that other sugars just can’t replicate.

Static Media owns and operates Look and Mashed.

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