Texas Roadhouse ‘Steaks’ Claim on University of Louisville Study Lounge

It looks just like an outpost of the popular restaurant chain. Sadly, freshly baked rolls and cinnamon honey butter are not included.
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  • The Texas Roadhouse Student Center at the University of Louisville opened in 2010.
  • The Western-themed space includes the restaurant's trademark interior design and signature lighted signs inside, but it doesn’t serve the chain's iconic food.
  • The Louisville-based restaurant paid for and constructed the space.

Students in the College of Business at the University of Louisville (UofL) may have bragging rights for the most unique place to study.

The Texas Roadhouse Student Center at the University of Louisville is located downstairs in the College of Business. Fans of the Western-inspired restaurant chain, based in Louisville, Kentucky, would be impressed with the floor-to-ceiling theming of the student space, complete with wooden benches, neon lighting, and themed bathrooms, all built by the same contractors that Texas Roadhouse uses to build new restaurants.

University of Louisville student Elizabeth Friends says most students are surprised when they discover the space, which opened in 2010.

"I think the first reaction is shock — followed quickly with a brief disappointment. It's so lifelike, it's almost surreal that it isn’t an actual restaurant," the senior business administration major told BestColleges.

"Once you get over the heartbreak of realizing there are no rolls, you kind of get into the final-stage reaction — which is the realization of the potential of the workspace."

The University of Louisville boasts the only Texas Roadhouse-themed student center, all thanks to Charlie Moyer, then the dean of the College of Business, and G.J. Hart, the CEO of Texas Roadhouse at the time.

"It all came about one night when G.J. and I were having dinner, drinking some wine [and] talked about what creative things we could do … I said, 'How about if you build a space and we'll put a Texas Roadhouse sign outside, the inside we will [furnish] it like it's a Texas Roadhouse — but this is just going to be a space for students,'" Moyer told BestColleges.

At that time, Hart served on the board of visitors for UofL’s business school. Moyer explained that the business school had some areas that needed "substantial" improvement and wanted to build more general student space for hanging out, studying, and student group meetings.

"I’d put a name, as long as it's respectable, on every element of the business school, if it can enhance students' learning experiences," Moyer said. "[It] was mostly a promotional partnership for them, but it gave our students a great space and took an eyesore and turned it into something that people said wow."

The project took less than 100 days to complete from approval. Moyer attributes the fast turnaround time to the fact that Texas Roadhouse did not pay the university to create the space. Rather, Texas Roadhouse paid for the construction and modifications itself, using its preferred construction company.

"University [construction], as good as they are, you can tell them to build something that looks like a Texas Roadhouse. You don't know what you're gonna get, but it isn't gonna look like it's Texas Roadhouse," Moyer said.

The Texas Roadhouse Student Center is just as popular now as it was a decade ago, according to Friends, who calls the space her "go-to" place to study.

"Students use this study room every day. I would say it's at least usually at 75% capacity," she said. "I know it seems odd, but it's always quiet, comfortable seats, lots of desk space, dim lights, and semi-secluded layout actually make for a nice study environment."

The unique space has also garnered a reaction on social media from a video Friends posted to TikTok for a class assignment about the school’s unconventional study space.

"We were assigned into teams and then had to make a series of Tik-Toks about UofL and the campus’s culture," she said. "I think [the professor] was even more thrilled about the assignment's success than I was. I was just excited that it meant I was going to get a good grade. I never thought it would reach this level of exposure."


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The video has garnered over 2 million views, 250,000 likes, and hundreds of comments shocked that such a space exists.

"Wait they have a whole [Texas Roadhouse] themed store front and inside just for studying? No rolls? Food? Nothing?" one user commented.

Another wrote: "Man should’ve looked into [t]his college more."

Moyer said that seeing the continued positive reactions brings a smile to his face.

"When you're a dean, you try lots of things. Some of them stick to the wall, and some don’t. This one stuck to the wall, and I'm happy to see it's still there. It still annoys me if one of the neon lights is burned out."