Steak ‘n Shake will be coming to East State Street this summer.
The Steak ‘n Shake will take the place of the Ponderosa Steakhouse, 741 E. State St., owner Jim Stricklin said.
Stricklin said he is partnering with his brother Scott and childhood best friend Eli Flournoy to open the restaurant. Stricklin said the main reason they chose Steak ‘n Shake was because it has a good reputation in Ohio, and the restaurants tend to do well in the area.
“We had been looking at a lot of different concepts, and the Steak 'n Shake stood out,” Stricklin said. “It has the products that we thought would work best in East State Street. There’s not a dessert location in East State Street. There’s a full breakfast that Steak 'n Shake serves that is very comparable to Bob Evans, Shoney’s or sit-down restaurants.”
Stricklin said he believes the restaurant will do well for late-night food. The restaurant is also about 50 yards from the bike path, which allows students to bike over to eat.
“It is a prime location,” Stricklin said. “There’s plenty of parking. It’s right next to the pool, and we’re only about 50 yards from the bike path. We believe we’re close enough for the college students to get to us.”
The Steak ‘n Shake will not start out being open 24-hours, but Stricklin said it is an option that could happen once the restaurant has been open for longer. The hours are likely to be 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., he said.
Stricklin said he has previous experience operating businesses because he worked for a group for 24 years that opened all of the Sonic Drive-Ins in the area.
“I’m excited about all of it,” Stricklin said. “I think the biggest thing is that this is mine. For the longest time, I have been working for somebody else, so this is my opportunity to do something for myself and my partners.”
Stricklin said the timeline for the opening will be mid-summer.
Kate Ryan, a sophomore studying strategic communication, said the restaurant is a little inconvenient for students because of the location, but she said her roommate has a car so they will go together.
“I’m very excited about the new Steak ‘n Shake because I have one back home, and I miss it once I’m in Athens,” Ryan said.
Kylan Nelson, a senior studying psychology and health science, said he thinks the new Steak ‘n Shake will be “awesome.”
“I feel like Steak ‘n Shake is one of those places where it kind of fits the college atmosphere,” Nelson said. “It’s not really expensive, and it has a variety of food. I feel like a lot of people love (it). It has really good burgers, and it has milkshakes.”
Nelson said Steak ‘n Shake will also provide diversity in what people can eat around Athens.
“I feel like it is what Athens probably needs,” Nelson said. “I feel like it’s a family place. For Sibs Weekend, Moms Weekend and Dads Weekend, it’s another place to go but I feel like it’s great.”