ITHACA, N.Y. — For those hankering for steak, another option has joined the fray – Texas Roadhouse officially opens today at 4 p.m.

The 450-restuarant steakhouse chain began planning for an Ithaca location last March. The 7,194 square-foot Ithaca location at 725 South Meadow Street is owned directly by the company, leasing the land from DDR Corporation, the owners of the shopping plaza. The new restaurant cost about $1.3 million to build, and stands on the site of a one-story Cellular One store that had been demolished back in 2013.

New staff have been in-training, and an invite-only service was conducted over the weekend. The restaurant has hired on 160 staff, about half of which will be full-time. The restaurant is open for dinner during the week, and lunch and dinner on the weekends. A typical Texas Roadhouse location serves about 5,000 patrons per week.

Here’s a description of the restaurant chain from the corporate website:

“Texas Roadhouse opened its doors in 1993. Since then, the company has grown to more than 430 locations in 49 states and five international locations in the Middle East. Texas Roadhouse is famous for its hand-cut steaks, fall-off-the-bone ribs, made-from-scratch sides, and fresh-baked bread.”

Meanwhile, just south of Texas Roadhouse at 727 South Meadow Street, work has begun on a second chain restaurant entering Ithaca’s scene. DiBella’s Old Fashioned Submarines, a sandwich restaurant chain, has started site prep and initial foundation work for its first Ithaca location. The company, based out of Rochester, has 43 locations scattered throughout the Northeast and Midwest. Per Wikipedia:

“DiBella’s was founded in 1918. It first began as a family owned and operated delicatessen in the city of Rochester. The restaurants are based on a 1930s/1940s theme. They have been voted “Best Sub in Rochester” for 8 years in a row by the readers of the Democrat & Chronicle and City Newspaper, two local papers. They claim that what makes DiBella’s unique is that all ingredients are made fresh daily, and their bread making is based on old world techniques.”

Dibella’s is building a 3,400 square-foot restaurant on what was previously part of the Ithaca Shopping Plaza parking lot. Plans were first announced in November 2014. The owner of the Ithaca shopping plaza, Marx Realty, is the developer of the DiBella’s project, and A&E Construction of suburban Philadelphia is the general contractor. Local architect Jason K. Demarest designed the building.

An inquiry was placed with DiBella’s corporate asking when the Ithaca location would open, but a response was not returned. The site plan review documents in 2014 suggested a 6-month construction period, so late fall 2016 seems likely.

Brian Crandall

Brian Crandall reports on housing and development for the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached at