The way the economy has been struggling, you'd think this wasn't the time to lauch a "national branding" for an emerging chain of high-end steakhouses, esecially one originating in Fort Wayne, Ind. But more power to the folks at Eddie Merlot's:
Eddie Merlot's is taking the next step, or perhaps 11 smaller steps, in creating a national brand.
The Fort Wayne-based steakhouse and seafood chain, which opened the doors to its first restaurant in 2001, plans to add five locations next year and six in 2010, giving the budding business a total of 15. Eddie Merlot's currently has locations in Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, Columbus, Ohio, and Cincinnati.
Despite a downturn in the economy that has taken a toll across the restaurant industry, Merlot's has managed to keep growing. Finding a niche customer base or new market may be the key for those looking to expand, those in the business say.
Love a good steak. I used to eat out several times a week. These days, I seldom do, which is probably why I don't mind hitting one of those high-end places when I do dine out. I haven't been to the Eddie Merlot's here, but I've tried the one in Indy, and it is wonderful. So is St. Elmo's. One of the best steaks I've ever had, though, is the New York strip at Bravo!, an Italian restaurant (part of another small chaine) on 86th Street in Indianapolis. Has anyone tried Ruth's Chris? I keep hearing ads for them on WOWO, even though we don't have one here.