Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Review: MooYah Burgers in Katy

A couple of folks recently asked me when I was going to hit the burger trail again.  Truthfully, I can always get a good burger at a number of places.  However, as much as this blog was started due to looking for good burgers I hadn't tried and its scope has expanded far beyond that over the past couple of years, I always return to the roots of this blog and manage to find another good burger in the Houston area.  This time it's a chain, albeit limited run, called Mooyah Burgers, Fries & Shakes.  Truth of the matter, I made a solid attempt to visit Mooyah before when I was driving to Conroe--pulled over to the location in Spring. However, it was kind of set far back east of I-45, and when we got there, it was not open (didn't open until 11 AM, it was 10:20, we just turned around and left.  Now I realize as burgers joints go higher end, they tend to not be open before 11 AM and I don't expect every place to keep Whataburger Hours.  However, between that and their locations being deep in the Houston Suburbs (Deer Park, Kingwood, Spring, Webster and Katy), it just isn't easy to haul out to that part of town when I don't already have business out that way (meeting friends, work, etc.).  However my daugher and I did have business out in Katy and this afforded us an opportunity to try them.  And we're glad we did.  However, I had to do a little background check on this place and here's what I got so far from their website:
Mooyah was founded by Rich Hicks in Dallas, Texas in 2007--serving "Just Burgers. Just Fries. Just Better." Rich began his career in the restaurant business at age 14 in Pennsylvania as a dishwasher and bar back, but before launching his own restaurant concepts, Rich attended Stephen F. Austin State University where he made the Dean's List for seven semesters and graduated in 1992 with a degree in business management. Following graduation, Rich became a manager with Brinker International at Romano's Macaroni Grill. After his time there, Rich Founded Tin Star in 1999 and then 8 years later was back at it, hitting America's taste buds on a new note with MOOYAH. His simple business concept is obsessed with serving Guests the best burger and French fry—anywhere. 

Okay, enough corporate mission statement business buzzword bingo here!  This place is based out of Dallas, and my usual attitude is the only good things to come out of Dallas are I-20, I-20, I-35 and I-45.  However, I've had several folks in the Katy area tell me that this is the place they'd rather go to if their going to try a chain, and I wanted to see if it was truly worthy of all the Mooyah-Hoopla.  My daughter was just plain hungry so we made our way down the Grand Parkway to Cinco Ranch Boulevard and found it right across the street from Cinco Ranch High School.  When you get in, there is a bit of a familiar feel to this place, as there are elements that remind me of Smashburger, Jerry Built Burgers, Five Guys and Mighty Fine Burger, but it's only elements, not the whole concept.  You have a strong cow theme going on (hence the name), you have vivid colors in a semi-industrial interior and great choices for toppings like Jerry Built, you have a form you can fill out like Smashburger will use sometimes when you're waiting in line to speed up the order processing, you have a relatively simple concept with natural cut fries like Five Guys, and you have many more choices for shakes and other modifications like Mighty Fine and Smashburger.  Personally, I think it's great you can choose White or Wheat Bun, or wrapped in lettuce;  2 or 1 beef patty, Turkey, Black Bean, all beef hot dog or a grilled cheese, and have cheese choices of American, Swiss, Cheddar, Blue or Pepperjack cheeses; not to mention Applewood Smoked Bacon, Fresh Avocado Slices or Fried Onions straws as toppings.  

Uncle Tex Shakes things up
My daughter went for the kids' little Mooburger (single patty, slightly smaller) with cheese, bacon (don't tell Mr. Moustache, Mini Moustache or Uncle Tex) ketchup and lettuce on a whole wheat bun.  I went for a Mooyah Burger (2 patties) with Mooyah sauce, lettuce, tomato, pickle, grilled onions, grilled mushrooms and avocados.  Helena chose Sweet Potato Fries, while I went with regular potatoes.  Helena so sweetly requested a chocolate chip cookie dough shake, which I allowed.  What did we think?  Well Helena had nothing but good things to say about the Cookie Dough Shake--I took a sip and found it to be a nice, thick vanilla shake with plenty of lumps of chocolate chip cookie dough.  A little sweet for my tastes but most kids I know would love it.  Nice job there.  The Sweet potato fries were crunchy, slightly sweet and nicely seasoned.  Sweet Frites have become common in recent years as an alternative to traditional fries, and while these aren't phenomenal, they are still pretty good.  

Stringy melted Cheddar Shreds
My daughter was more than happy with her burger, said the bun was nice and grainy (I agreed as I got a wheat bun too), the cheese nicely melted, the bacon sweet & meaty, and the lettuce fresh and crisp,  plus she likes thin patty burgers and found this one tasty.  I really could not complain about any of my toppings either.  The veggies were fresh--especially the avocado, the other toppings tasted good too, and the beef was good.  I wouldn't say spectacular or totally wins me over like The Burger Guys, but way better than Fast Food to be sure.  I very much liked the natural cut potato fries--they're the kind that you can make great Poutine with if Specs has cheese curds in stock.  

Houston has a number of phenomenal, over the top burgers and I love them all.  However, sometimes you also have to appreciate the really good burgers in your neighborhood, and if you live in one of our suburbs, Mooyah is a really good chain.  While this is not something I would ever purposefully drive out of my way to visit, if I were in a suburb where one was located on business and a friend or colleague said "You want to go to Mooyah?"  I'd say "Okay!"    Again, the patties are thin, but full of flavour.  If you like Thinner patties with some caramelization like at Smashburger, then you'll definitely be happy with Mooyah.  

Report Card for Mooyah Burger in Katy:
     Mooyah Burger with my chosen toppings: B+ 
     Kids Mooburger: A- (per Helena)
     Natural Cut Fries: A-
     Sweet Potato Fries: A-
     Cookie Dough Shake: A-
     Friendliness: A
     Speed:  B (a little slow, had to correct an error)
Atmosphere (See above): B+  
     Kitchen: A
     Dining Area: A
     Rest Rooms: B+

Overall Grade: B+

There are 5 Houston area locations of Mooyah Burger.  We went to the one at:

23701 Cinco Ranch Blvd. 140  
Katy, TX  77494
Open 7 Days a week 
11 AM to 10 PM

Eat Happy, Y'all!!!

Mooyah Burgers and Fries on Urbanspoon

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