Smashburger isn't just the name?it's the way chefs, otherwise known as Burger Smashers, cook every burger. First, they form never-frozen, 100% Certified Angus Beef into a giant meatball. Then they season it, place it on a butter-glazed grill, and smash it into a patty. The process caramelizes the beef, locking in flavor while keeping the meat juicy and tender. Each slab is then sandwiched in an artisan bun and is turned into one of an array of standard burgers or locally inspired specialties unique to each market.
This handcrafting approach typifies everything else the restaurant does, from blending handspun shakes to hand painting Smashburger's logo onto every beverage cup. Letting its food stand for itself and relying mostly on word of mouth for advertising, the Smashburger franchise expanded from one restaurant in 2007 to 220 today, with its swift growth from zero to 100 stores making it one of the nation's fastest-growing restaurant companies. This rapid development even caught the attention of Forbes and Inc. along the way.
The culinary craftsmen at Ole’s Tex-Mex Restaurant forge flavorful south-of-the-border fare from traditional family recipes. For brunch, the eatery slings egg quesadillas and huevos rancheros, a hearty amalgam of eggs and corn tortillas anointed with ranchero sauce. Chefs conjure specialty dinner dishes such as chilies rellenos, carne guisada, and shrimp burritos. The casual restaurant hosts happy hour daily from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., creating loyal customers infused with more joviality than a smiley-face convention.
Rich Hicks and Todd Istre are the masterminds behind many a national food concept—from Rich's southwestern taco at Tin Star to Todd's spicy seafood dishes at Boudreaux's Cajun Kitchen. When the duo joined forces to create Mooyah, however, they cleared the tortillas and crawdads from their mind in order to focus on formulating a quintessential American burger.
Today, within scores of Mooyah locations throughout the nation, chefs bustle behind counters, grilling up burgers in accordance to Todd and Rich's formula. Cooks pile lean-beef, turkey, and veggie patties onto white or wheat buns before loading on cheeses and toppings of bacon, fried onion, and avocado. Meanwhile, freshly cut potatoes simmer in fryers, and blenders whirl with ice-cream shakes. Out in the dining room, tabletops and booths sit atop checkered floors beneath walls of chalkboards, where customers can write messages or draw portraits of what they wished they looked like, could they only grow a beard.
Wen Dah Tai—Uncle Tai to regulars—has worked in kitchens in China, Japan, the Philippines, and New York. He first showed off his skills to Americans in 1967, and he's been running restaurants in Dallas in one form or another since 1979. His latest eatery, Wu's Asian Bistro, bears the imprint of all these past influences.
The restaurant specializes in Chinese favorites such as Szechuan shrimp, Hunan pork, and Mongolian beef. Japanese and Thai offerings are also available, from pad thai to hibachi dishes. The dessert selection is equally eclectic; you can try tiramisu from Italy, key lime pie from the Caribbean, or fudge chocolate cake from Candy Land.
As soon as guests step into Mooyah, they become chefs. The restaurant's menu allows them to create their own burgers, topping beef, turkey, or veggie burgers with sauces, veggies, and bacon. To partner made-to-order burgers on white, wheat, or iceberg lettuce, the staff also hand-cuts french fries and blends cookie-dough and Reese's peanut butter milk shakes.