Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse opened last May in Shenandoah inside the Holiday Inn, offering a classic and vintage ambience alongside its wide assortment of steaks, Italian cuisine and seafood.

Surpreet Singh, vice president of Thind Management, the family-owned and -operated organization that manages the steakhouse, said the restaurant began in Des Moines, Iowa, and soon became a franchise opportunity that offers an upscale dining experience with reasonable prices.

“When we built the Holiday Inn, we had the option of a few different restaurants through InterContinental Hotels Group and they just didn’t cut it for us in terms of the service level that our company wants to provide and the area that we’re in,” Singh said. “The Woodlands and Shenandoah is more of an upscale area, and so you want to provide your guests something and your locals something to rave about as well.”

Singh said since opening the steakhouse last May, the response from the community has been great and local residents have become regular clientele of the steakhouse, rather than just hotel guests.

“The response has been great,” Singh said. “If you go on Yelp or OpenTable, a lot of locals really love coming out here and we got a lot of repeat clients. Because of them, we’re really successful. That was a goal and it is very surprising how we carved that niche out for being a hotel. It was very tremendous on every level.”

Singh said the attention to service and the menu options at the steakhouse are what have people returning to the eatery. Classic Italian fare is offered along with signature steaks, seafood, chicken plates and appetizers.

Singh said the most popular dish at Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse is Johnny’s Steak Deburgo, which consists of beef tenderloin medallions and a cream sauce.

“Steak Deburgo is popular, and we did that at Taste of the Town and got a lot of good feedback from the locals,” Singh said. “That actually brought in a lot of people to try other food here. We make everything from scratch, such as our sauces, and everything is fresh.”

Signh said he believes the food, combined with the classic ambience of the restaurant and the attention to detail and service, is what makes the steakhouse different than other steakhouses in The Woodlands and Shenandoah areas.

“We basically provide a great ambience at a great price,” he said. “A lot of people ask where we position ourselves, and it’s between Saltgrass Steak House and Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille—that’s what makes us unique. You come in here and you’re listening to great music from the ’70s, you have the bar with great wine selections and our service level is impeccable. Interaction is very great on every level.”

Although the restaurant has been open for one year, Singh said there are still new features that will be added to the restaurant. These new features include a permanent brunch menu on weekends, live music and a Wine Wednesday that will offer lower prices on wine options.

“We’re hoping to start live music soon now that we’re going full speed,” he said. “We had our first brunch here for Easter, and it did really well. We’re doing another one on Mother’s Day. It’s proving to be a success for us. So soon, we will have it here at the restaurant every weekend.”

Singh said he urges residents in the local community to try the steakhouse to experience the unique food and atmosphere

“If you haven’t tried us out yet, you definitely have to try it,” he said. “[Johnny’s] is considered a hidden gem since we’re inside of a hotel and not right on the highway. I really urge people to come out, it’s truly a different experience.”