The wait is over for Steak ’n Shake fans across the Augusta area.
Hephzibah residents Joyce and Willie Grammar were among the first in line for the popular burger joint to open Thursday off Jimmie Dyess Parkway near Interstate 20 in Columbia County.
As the two sat at a booth waiting for their food, Joyce Grammar said she’d never eaten at a Steak ’n Shake even though there were several locations in her home state of Missouri.
About a month ago, she heard on the news that the popular fast-food restaurant would be coming to the area.
“Every day, we drove by and I said it’s getting closer and closer,” she said. “I’m going to bring my grandkids.”
The restaurant, which can accommodate 99 people in the dining area, quickly began filling up after opening at 10 a.m.
Paige Rivera and John Forde came for the ribbon-cutting ceremony but stayed for another reason.
“The shakes kept us here,” Rivera said.
Construction on the new Steak ’n Shake started in June and took about three months to complete.
The restaurant will be open from 10 a.m. until 11 p.m. through the end of the year, when the hours change to 24/7.
For the first two to three weeks, it will not offer carry-out service so employees can focus on customers dining in and ordering at the drive-through.
Sissy Morris is one of 130 employees hired since August.
Morris, a hostess, greeted customers as they entered the restaurant.
“We’re all excited,” she said. “We’ve been waiting for this.”
Morris said she was happy to hear about the employment opportunity at Steak ’n Shake.
“I’d been looking for a job for a year and a half, so I jumped on board,” she said.
Steak ’n Shake is known for its steakburgers and hand-dipped milkshakes. The menu also includes breakfast items, chili, burger melts, sandwiches, salads and desserts.
There are nearly 500 Steak ’n Shake restaurants in 22 states across the country. The closest locations to Augusta are Conyers, Macon and Statesboro.