ALBANY, GA (WALB) - After months of anticipation, a new restaurant in Albany opened its doors Monday at 11 a.m.
PREPARING TO OPEN
Owner Allen Peake said they're excited to be in the Southwest Georgia market.
"We felt like Albany was a great hub for a surrounding area, and so we felt like we needed to be here at some point," said Peake.
This is the 10th Cheddar's location in Georgia, owned by Peake and his business partner Mike Chumbley, both of whom are Georgia natives.
"It's a locally owned business, we're not just some big company that's coming down from somewhere else and plopping down a restaurant. We're here, we're going to be here during the restaurant opening," said Peake.
That's why he is focused on making sure they bring more to Albany than just good food.
"We have a huge economic impact, wherever we go, we employ over 200 employees, we'll have an economic impact of labor just alone of anywhere around a million and a half dollars a year," said Peake.
It's a strong work force that General Manager Joyce Bishara said they are going to need especially since 85 percent of the food is made from scratch.
"It's just phenomenal how many spices and how everything, all the steps go step to step on how everything is produced is just absolutely wonderful," said Bishara.
Peake said it took some work before the restaurant opened, but he is happy that the day is finally here.
"It's similar to being a long and difficult pregnancy," said Peake. "Once that baby is born, you're sure glad they're here. So that's kind of our perspective here, we've gone through some roadblocks, we've had some obstacles, but now that we're ready to be open, we're so glad to be in the Albany area."
Folks lined up more than an hour before the doors opened at Cheddars to make sure they could get a table.
When the time came at 11 a.m. folks rushed in.
The first customer was Peake's granddaughter Ginna Davis.
"I was very excited," Davis said. "It was special because I had never done with before."
"I had promised her that when we opened the doors she would get to be the very first customer so we are excited to have her be the first customer to sample the delicious Cheddar's food," said Peake.
Albany residents said they are glad Cheddar's finally opened.
"I've been waiting for this for a long time. I love Cheddars. We usually travel to Columbus and Valdosta just to go to Cheddars, said Latasha Brown.
She was in line early waiting for the doors to open.