By: Michael Campbell | Twitter: @itsthesoup
Posted: May 20, 2018 | 12:45 p.m.
COLONIAL HEIGHTS – If there is one thing that the Tri-Cities and Southside Virginia is known for, it’s for having a wealth of food options for people to choose from, ranging from sit-down restaurants, to fast-casual establishments, local eateries offering their own deliciously diverse menus, and everything in between, with Colonial Heights’ Southpark Mall corridor serving as a proverbial melting pot for restaurants and dining options.
Right at the corner of Southpark Boulevard and Temple Avenue, one of the busiest intersections in the complex and, arguably, in the city, a new option has opened its doors to eager patrons – LongHorn Steakhouse.
Located at 2001 Southpark Blvd. in the footprint of past restaurants like Chi-Chi’s, which called that corner home in the early 90s, and, later, Lone Star Steakhouse rose the brand-new 5,400-square foot home of LongHorn Steakhouse, featuring a modern, but western-feeling dining area that celebrates the natural beauty of the American West, with interiors featuring contemporary artwork and sculptures of horses, western landscapes and sunsets complemented by warm tones, wood and stone.
LongHorn Steakhouse managing partner Jeff Sickmiller cuts the lasso to open the doors of their new Colonial Heights restaurant for business. (LongHorn Steakhouse)
Opening the doors formally on April 24 was the restaurant’s managing partner Jeff Sickmiller, a veteran of LongHorn who has worked for the company for a number of years, leading the restaurant’s next closest location in Chesterfield County for several years. Sickmiller was joined by members of the Colonial Heights Chamber of Commerce for a ceremonial “lasso cutting” to officially open the doors to an excited base of patrons who waited patiently to be among to first to try some of LongHorn’s signature dishes, an excitement Sickmiller could feel as customers filed inside during their first dinner service.
“I think there has been a lot of anticipation for this restaurant so, we had a lot of people tell us how much they were looking forward to us coming,” he said. “This moment has been a long time coming, as our original open date was February 13 so, even after our grand opening this month, we were still behind, but I am happy to be here and I am looking forward to what we can do for the community.”
The new restaurant’s dining area can seat more than 200 guests and those guests will be served and helped by over 80 people who have been hired to work in the restaurant, bolstering job numbers in the region.
“Being able to come in and provide 80 jobs to the community is truly what we are after,” Sickmiller remarked.
As the number of restaurants continues to grow in and around the Southpark Mall corridor and Southside Virginia as a whole, all of which are vying of the attention and, most importantly, dollars of the region’s residents and visitors, Sickmiller said LongHorn’s commitment to a high-quality customer experience is what will help their restaurant stand out from the ever-growing pack.
“We care very much about our guests as they go in and out of our building and we want everyone who comes in to feel like they are in an inviting atmosphere,” the managing partner said. “We boldly season our fresh-never-frozen steaks, along with our chicken and fish options will help separate us from everybody.”
Along with their efforts inside the restaurant to deliver a quality dining experience, Sickmiller said they want to be a good neighbor to the community, noting LongHorn has an outreach program that will see food that couldn’t be used by the restaurant being donated instead of discarded and, during their grand opening, LongHorn partnered with local nonprofit A Place of Miracles Cafe by donating a portion of the grand opening day’s liquor sales to the organization, which serves hot meals to those in need living along the Jefferson Davis Highway corridor along other worthwhile causes the organization provides to those less fortunate.
“We will be looking for other opportunities inside the community,” Sickmiller elaborated. “Hopefully we will be able to do events and hold things for people to be able to do some fundraising throughout the year.”
LongHorn Steakhouse’s dining area truly captures the natural beauty of the American West, with interiors featuring contemporary artwork and sculptures of horses, western landscapes and sunsets complemented by warm tones, wood and stone. (LongHorn Steakhouse)
As the restaurant continues to see a steady stream of customers, Sickmiller said he wants the community to know they are here and their doors are open.
“I want to make sure when people are coming in, that they are getting exactly what they are looking for,” Sickmiller said. “We are going to make sure we are giving them the best possible steak they can get and put the best possible food out with the best possible service. We are going to take care of them and we are going to do what we can to make sure they can feel what we’re after.”
For Sickmiller, when asked what his favorite dish is, it was a struggle to pick just one.
“When I first joined the company, it seemed like every time I tried something new, that ended up being my favorite dish for the next six months,” he joked, adding, “The parmesan-crusted chicken is just unbelievable for those who aren’t looking for a steak option. Our 18-inch, bone-in Outlaw ribeye is probably one of our most flavorful cuts. Between the bone and the marbling, that is certainly one of our signature items.”
According to the company, LongHorn Steakhouse operates 17 locations across Virginia, including their newest store in Colonial Heights. With the addition of the Tri-Cities location, they now have four locations in the Richmond area, including Glen Allen, Chesterfield, and Richmond’s East End.
The Colonial Heights location is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.