Published: Jul 23, 2012 4:59 PM EDT
Updated: Jul 23, 2012 5:44 PM EDT

FT. MYERS, Fla.- A new Texas Roadhouse restaurant is now open for business in Ft. Myers, employing 185 people.

It is the first Texas Roadhouse in Southwest Florida, located on Six Mile Cypress and Colonial Boulevard.

Managing Partner Bob LeSage says they sifted through more than 1,000 applications to find the right team to join the Texas Roadhouse family.

"We started hiring right after Mother's Day when we came down here and we were averaging about 100-120 applications a day," he says.

Portia Auplant was desperately looking for work when she took a chance on Texas Roadhouse.

"In 2008 I was 6 months pregnant and in a car accident with my husband and it pretty much changed everything for me, after that I was unable to work, no one would hire me because I wasn't released medically," she says.

"I was out with some friends and they said why don't you stop in and I did and its been the best decision I made."


She says she's thankful for the opportunity to work as the restaurant's administrator.

"It just goes back to really being appreciative of him (LeSage) taking me into consideration and giving me a yes when I've heard quite a few no's," she adds.

This comes at a time when Lee County could use more jobs. The unemployment rate was up to 9.3% in June, from 8.8% in May. The statewide average in June was 8.6%.

Texas Roadhouse hopes to expand into Cape Coral in the next few years.