New York steakhouse expands in Georgia, CEO says officials understand importance of restaurants

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Big city business is heading south amid coronavirus restrictions, as is New York’s own Uncle Jack’s Steakhouse.

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CEO Willie Degel told FOX Business Network’s “After the Bell” Tuesday that after opening the first satellite Uncle Jack’s Meat House location in Duluth, Ga. in 2016, three additional restaurants are launching in Peachtree Corners, Roswell and Lawrenceville.

Degel emphasized that a key difference between running a business in Georgia and running one in New York is recognition from leadership and the community.

NYC STEAKHOUSE OWNER: MANY RESTAURANTS WILL CLOSE BY END OF YEAR WITHOUT GOVERNMENT HELP

“The cities, the mayors – I talk to them personally. They call me,” he said. “The community understands how important a restaurant, a place that provides service and gives them a place to eat, drink, get away, unwind … how important it is to have this in their community.”

“The cities are actually fighting for great operators to execute and make sure this is in their city or town,” he went on.

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Degel said “a lot” of customers have pointed out that the presence of his restaurant has boosted real estate values as well.

During the pandemic, thousands of small businesses, including restaurants, have been shut down for good, especially in large cities like New York. Degel explained that local leadership has practically “forced out” businesses that are not publicly owned, no matter the size.

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“There are people with 15 to 20 stores that employ, say 1,000 people. They’re being forced out as well,” he said. “Unless you’re a publicly-traded company, under this demise right now, it’s hard to fund and keep open … That’s the difference.”

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