In a case of “ring out the old, ring in the new,” Dodge City Steakhouse will be opening in the former Ruby Tuesday location on U.S. 601 in Mount Airy.
There had been talk of this possibility since last summer, shortly after the closing of Ruby Tuesday was announced in May. That restaurant had operated for 16 years at 2139 Rockford St. (U.S. 601) in Forrest Oaks Shopping Center.
Media sources at the time reported that the closings of multiple Ruby Tuesday locations in Mount Airy and elsewhere were occurring as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This included losses caused by stay-at-home orders imposed in states where the restaurant chain had a presence.
Mount Airy Planning Director Andy Goodall confirmed Friday that city permits had been issued for Dodge City Steakhouse at the old Ruby Tuesday location.
However, there was no word concerning an official opening date for the new steakhouse. Questions to Dodge City personnel were referred to Scott Wilson, former manager of the chain’s outlet in Wilkesboro, whom multiple contacts said will be managing the one in Mount Airy.
Wilson did not immediately respond to a voice-mail message left Friday seeking comment on the opening and how many people will be employed at the new restaurant, or reasons behind the decision to set up shop in Mount Airy.
A visit to the former Ruby Tuesday site Saturday morning revealed empty boxes and other items scattered around the building but no activity on the inside at that time.
Dodge City, which bills itself as a family owned steakhouse, already has a Surry County footprint with a restaurant on North Bridge Street in Elkin.
In addition to that location and Wilkesboro, the chain’s website lists steakhouses in Sanford, Rocky Mount and Asheboro.
The occupation of a former Ruby Tuesday building by Dodge City Steakhouse has occurred previously, including those in Wilkesboro and Rocky Mount.
Conforming to the Dodge City theme reflecting the setting for the popular “Gunsmoke” television series, menu items bear such names as Miss Kitty and Matt Dillon filets, a Doc Adams New York strip, Chester Goode sirloin and Festus filet tips. Also offered are Long Branch cheese fries paying homage to the saloon operated by Miss Kitty.
While one closed restaurant in Mount Airy will have a new occupant, that has not happened so far with the former Sagebrush building on Woodland Drive, with Goodall, the city planning director, reporting nothing new with that facility Friday.
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.