THIS RESTAURANT PUTS CHARITY ON MENU
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METHUEN — Up and down Route 28 in Methuen and Salem, N.H., you can find restaurants to fit any appetite.

But one restaurant, the Texas Roadhouse, stands out above the rest. Not just for its food and atmosphere, but for the way it give back to the community and for the amazing charities it supports.

On March 20, the 424 Broadway establishment paired up with Merrimack Valley Dream Factory in a fundraiser to help grant wishes to seriously and chronically ill local children.

Any Texas Roadhouse patron that brought in the flyer had 15 percent of their purchase donated to Merrimack Valley Dream Factory.

For the Texas Roadhouse, giving back to the community is something that’s in its culture.

“It’s not just a responsibility; it’s our obligation to give back to the schools and our community,” kitchen manager Shane O’Neill said. “And this area makes it really easy (to give back).”

It’s not just the community Texas Roadhouse gives back to — it’s the nation.

At their annual managing partners conference, held in Banff, Canada, on March 7, 850 Texas Roadhouse employees built 21 house frames. Nine of them were framed for Habitat for Humanity Calgary and the remaining 12 were built for Habitat for Humanity New Orleans to help in the rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina. The building of the frames is part of The Helping Hands Project created by Texas Roadhouse and Habitat for Humanity New Orleans in conjunction with Coca-Cola North America.

According to Regional Marketing Manager Kirsten Sands, Texas Roadhouse used $1 million worth of labor and supplies on this project.

The frames were loaded on three tractor-trailers and those 18-wheelers are making stops at Texas Roadhouses along the East and West coasts and the Midwest. The first stop was March 21 in Methuen.

Staff members of Methuen’s Texas Roadhouse signed a homemade “welcome home” card, a helping hands poster and the actual frames of the houses.

Starting with a fundraising phase, Texas Roadhouse will be asking local businesses to help by donating hard goods such as lumber, hardware and roofing.

“It costs about $70,000 to build one house.” Sands said. “When it comes to appliances, roofs, everything.”

The staff of Methuen’s Texas Roadhouse will then build the frame of the house in their parking lot and two people that donated their time will have the chance to travel to New Orleans and help the homeowner build their house by helping assemble the frame on the foundation.

Over the four years Texas Roadhouse has been on Route 28 in Methuen, the restaurant has raised money for our troops overseas, local public and private schools in Methuen and for victims of the Southeast Asia Tsunami.

O’Neill said managing partner Parker Harrington is the reason this Texas Roadhouse is so involved.

“He’s the driving force,” O’Neill said. “He makes it all happen. He has been doing this since we opened four years ago.”

Harrington explained when Texas Roadhouse hires employees, they look for attitude, not necessarily experience.

“We look for those that are involved in giving back,” Harrington said.

The Texas Roadhouse is also running a soup kitchen just outside New Orleans.

“We are feeding people for free — three meals a day, seven days a week,” Sands explained. “We are literally feeding 200 to 300 people a day.”

The managing partners conference next year is being held in New Orleans and according to Sands, Texas Roadhouse could have backed out of the commitment without penalty, but she said the company is keeping its commitment to help rebuild the community.