The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Steak house brings jobs, competition

Molly Tumanic

When freshman Sarah Eastburn recently went job searching, she never expected to get a job where her roommates would be hired as well.

But after two interviews, she was hired as a bartender, along with three of her roommates, at Eau Claire’s new steak restaurant, Timber Lodge Steak House, 4890 Golf Road, which officially opened Tuesday.

The restaurant, which is part of a chain of 29, received more than 500 job applications in response to ads, said Jim Morgan, manager of the Eau Claire location.

“It was overwhelming, the response we had to our ads,” Morgan said.

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About 25 percent of the restaurant’s employees are college students, Morgan said. He added that as far as the host and serving staff go, 50 percent are college students.

The large amount of applicants for just more than 100 positions shows the benefits of new businesses that bring jobs to the area.

“I think there’s probably a need here,” said Bob McCoy, president of the Eau Claire area Chamber of Commerce. “Right now unemployment is higher than it has been.”

McCoy said jobs at the new restaurant would likely offer a chance for people to shift from one restaurant to another, and allow others seeking part-time jobs, such as college students, another opportunity.

However, the nearby Northwoods Brew Pub staff, 3560 Oakwood Mall Drive, consists of 80 percent college students, and hasn’t lost a single person to the new restaurant, said manager Pam Staff.

As with any new business opening, Timber Lodge’s opening may also affect business at other restaurants in the Oakwood Mall area.

But Staff says they are not worried about the new competition, as there are many differences in their restaurants.

“They’re corporate America. We’re unique enough with our specials, menu and beers, so I don’t think it will really affect us,” Staff said.

Morgan also believes that differences in their restaurants, predominately the quality of their steaks, may attract a different type of customer.

“There is a lot of business in Eau Claire to be had. I think we’ll fit in well,” Morgan said. “We’re quite a bit different than the rest in the area. Our impact will be minimal on restaurants in the area. Our customer base will be a little different than theirs.”

The menu consists of steaks and seafood, with sandwiches at lunch. Prices range from $10 to $12 for the early bird special from Monday thru Thursday. Steaks during the evening run from $14 to $20, Morgan said.

“We’re casual to fine dining for people who want a quality meal or special occasion,” Morgan said.

Eastburn isn’t sure if it will be a place students will go to a lot because it is a little more expensive than places such as Applebees, 4745 Golf Road. She said that is expected because it’s a steak house.

It would be a good place for a first date or anniversary, Eastburn said.

The restaurant seats 285 people and has a banquet room for weekend special occasions and graduation parties, Morgan said.

After working her first few days, Eastburn says it is a beautiful place and it seems like things are going pretty well. She added the managers are really big on 100 percent customer satisfaction.

Morgan also expressed his enthusiasm for the restaurant opening.

“We’re just tickled to be here and excited to open,” Morgan said.

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