DENHAM SPRINGS -- Texas Roadhouse allow its managers to put their personal touches on their individual restaurants.
And personal is important to Netsi Pruitt, whether its honoring her family and state or honoring a fallen relative.
“I’m coming home,” said Pruitt, manager of the Texas Roadhouse at 27214 Crossing Circle in the Juban Crossing shopping center. “I have worked for Texas Roadhouse for seven years,” she said. “My previous location was in West Virginia.
“Opening the Denham Springs location was my chance to come back home to Louisiana,” Pruitt said about the 7,000-square-foot restaurant that boasts 63 tables and 230 employees.
“I’ve been gone 15 years and being able to be back in my home state, with my family, while also being able to be an owner-operator for Texas Roadhouse in a community that I am proud to be a part of is amazing.
“Denham Springs is the perfect last stop to a 25-year restaurant career. I couldn’t have dreamed of a better ending.”
“The reception from the community has been amazing,” Pruitt said.
“When we decided to postpone the opening date to ensure the safety of our Roadies and our guests during (Hurricane) Barry, I was humbled by the amount of calls and emails I received thanking us for making that decision,” she said.
Texas Roadhouse traditionally holds its openings on Mondays, Pruitt said, “But Barry coming in, I didn’t want the staff to work and worry about their homes.
“I would make that choice a hundred times over for my staff,” she said. “It is important to me always be community first and restaurant second.”
Each manager is allowed to commission and hang murals that reflect their lives, Pruitt said.
One mural recognizes her family, her sister and nieces, paying tribute to Denham Springs High, where they went to school, and of course, LSU.
Another recognizes first responders, including her husband, Chris Pruitt, a police officer with the Alexander Police Department.
Her daughters, 9 and 4, think it is the “coolest thing,” she said.
Kim Duffard, the “Roadie,” or Texas Roadhouse service coach, is in her tribute to the Saints, Pruit said.
“She is their biggest fan,” she said.
But the “showpiece,” as Pruitt calls it, is a tribute that is personal.
The mural honors four members of the 1st Assault Helicopter Battalion, 244th Aviation Regiment, a Louisiana National Guard unit based in Hammond. The four Guardsmen died on March 10, 2015, when their UH-60M Black Hawk crashed into the Santa Rosa Sound of Navarre, Fla.
The pilot was her cousin, Chief Warrant Officer 4 George David Strother, 44, of Alexandria.
The mural contains drawings of the four. The others lost were:
• Chief Warrant Officer 4 George Wayne Griffin Jr, 37, of Delhi.
• Staff Sgt. Lance Bergeron, 40, of Thibodaux.
• Staff Sgt. Thomas Florich, 26, of Fairfax County, Va.
“You have to honor them,” Pruitt said.
The manager also said customers will find several services offered by Texas Roadhouse.
“You can download the Texas Roadhouse app and use it to place a to-go order or add your name to the wait list,” she said.
“You can also utilize call-ahead seating to add your name to our current wait list.”
Gift cards also are available as well as early dining, which offers 11 entrees for $9.49 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday.
At Kid’s Night on Mondays, children’s meals are $1.99.
“When someone visits us for the first time, our goal is to make them feel like a guest in our home and never a customer,” Pruitt said.
“We have fresh baked bread, made-from-scratch sides, hand-cut steaks, fall-off-the-bone ribs, ice cold beer and legendary margaritas.”