Tuesday was a busy day at Bridge Street as the grand opening for a national chain restaurant's second location in Alabama took place today.
Before Tuesday, you'd have to drive about two hours to eat at The Cheesecake Factory, but with their new home in Huntsville, representatives told me they're optimistic for this location's future. They said they have been looking to make a home here in the city for some time.
An hour before they even opened their doors, a line had started to form in front of the newest location. By the time the doors opened, the line stretched to other businesses nearby. It's something restaurant representatives love to see on an opening day.
"Whenever we open in a new city, it is so just — delightful, I guess," Alethea Rowe, senior director of public relations at The Cheesecake Factory, said. "I can't think of a better word (for) the excitement on our guests' faces when they're finally able to dine in a Cheesecake Factory in their city and then not have to drive two hours to Birmingham."
Rowe said expanding to Huntsville didn't happen all of a sudden. Seeing how much the city and surrounding areas have grown economically and in population in recent years made it a great place to call home, she said.
"Huntsville's actually been on our radar for quite some time," Rowe said. "We only have one other restaurant in Alabama, in Birmingham. That's been here for almost 18 years, so it was more than time to have a second restaurant, and Huntsville is the perfect location."
Jessica Byron was among those waiting in line Tuesday for the restaurant to open. She said she'd make the long drive once to eat at the restaurant and has been waiting for opening day for months now.
"We have been watching it from the first day they announced it, coming down looking at the construction, just kind of waiting for it to open," she said.
She said it's exciting to see more national chains coming to Huntsville and just further shows how much this community is booming in growth. Now that she can just drive down the street to enjoy it, she said she and her mother are looking forward to enjoying one specific thing on the menu today.
"We're excited for the pumpkin cheesecake," she said.
Another way the restaurant is helping out the local economy is by providing jobs — more than 200 of them, in fact. Representatives said staff members were just as excited as the customers for opening day and are fully prepared to handle to busy crowds for however long they have them.