April 17th, 2014
By Matt Sutkoski
Eric and Lila Bourgeois said they saw an opportunity suddenly crop up as winter prepared to settle into Vermont.
The couple lived in the Saratoga, N.Y. area and Eric Bourgeois worked at the local Texas Roadhouse restaurant. He’d helped open several of them in recent years.
The Texas Roadhouse in Williston had gone up for sale. It was time to try actually owning a restaurant.
“It became available, we looked into it and we decided to take it. That’s it,” Lila Bourgeois said.
With financial backing from the Louisville, Ky.-based Texas Roadhouse corporate offices, Eric Bourgeois, 43, bought the Williston restaurant and the couple has settled nicely into the town’s business community, said Lila Bourgeois, who works as the Williston Texas Roadhouse marketing director and sort of Jill of All Trades.
“It’s been great,” she said.
The roughly 240-seat restaurant has 90 to 100 employees, many of them full time, though several work part time, as they are college students trying to earn some extra cash.
The couple made no major changes to the Williston Texas Roadhouse when they took it over, but kept the lively atmosphere and menu common in the restaurant’s roughly 425 locations across the nation.
Lila Bourgeois, 44, said the couple are attracted to Texas Roadhouse because the fare isn’t cookie-cutter, pre-packaged food common in some chain restaurants. She said meat is butchered on site every day, and the bread is baked daily as well. “All of our sides are made from scratch,” she said.
And, she said, it’s economical. She also said the restaurant has a fun, lively, family-friendly vibe, which Bourgeois said makes it a great place to work. According to Glassdoor, a career-search website, Texas Roadhouse is among the 50 best places in America to work.
A staple of Texas Roadhouse restaurants, including the one in Williston, is the occasional moment when employees break out into line dancing.
Bourgeois said another perk of having her husband own the restaurant is that she can participate in many community events.
The restaurant donates food and services to charities such as local churches, schools and non-profits including Relay For Life.