Whole lotta shaking: Steak ‘n Shake opens in Winchester

Published 11:22 am Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Customers filed in the Winchester Steak ‘n Shake during its grand opening Monday ordering shakes, grilled cheese sandwiches, burgers and more.

The restaurant, located on Lexington Avenue next to O’Reilly Auto Parts, was initially meant to open in February but was delayed because of weather.

Christy Hennecke and her son Christian stopped in Steak ’n Shake on opening day after a dentist appointment to grab lunch. Christian said he was excited, and his favorite item on the menu was a milkshake.

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Franchisee Ryan Dotson said the whole process has been intense.

“We’re here now,” he said. “And we still have some things that need to be done on the construction site such as touch-ups. There’s going to be some for the next couple of weeks with contractors in and out, but nothing that would prevent us from opening, so we pushed the opening to today.”

The franchisee broke ground on the project in October.

At first, the restaurant will operate from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, although Dotson said he hopes to add breakfast and late-night hours once the staff is ready.

“It’s been an emotional roller coaster, of course, but here we are,” he said.

The Winchester location features a brand new prototype design by architect Jay Million of Million Architecture. It will seat about 84 customers.

Dotson told the Sun when he initially became a franchisee, his goal was to bring the diner chain to Winchester, but corporate officials were concerned about its closeness to its Lexington location in the Hamburg shopping center.

Dotson said he knew many Winchester residents would dine at the Hamburg location, but Winchester needed a Steak ‘n Shake location.

However, the restaurant chain later offered Dotson a contract for three locations, guaranteeing Winchester would be the second location if he first opened one in Mount Sterling.

“I love Winchester all of the people in Winchester, and I hope people look back and someday remember our dedication to this place in bringing it to Winchester for the people,” Dotson said.

Dotson built and opened the Mount Sterling location in 2017 and said he is looking to open a third location in either Morehead, Nicholasville, the Cincinnati airport or Lexington on Harrodsburg Road.

“You wouldn’t think a burger joint would make people happy, but it does,” Dotson said. “A brand like Steak ‘n Shake coming to Winchester, it means something. And I’m glad to be a part of it.”

About Lashana Harney

Lashana Harney is a reporter for The Winchester Sun. Her beats include schools and education, business and commerce, Winchester Municipal Utilities and other news. To contact her, email lashana.harney@winchestersun.com or call 859-759-0015.

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