The 2009 Fast Casual Executive Summit kicked off in Dallas Sept. 13 with an informal food tour through downtown and two neighborhoods, Southlake and Frisco. Approximately 50 people went on the tour, with eight to 10 executives per bus.
Upon walking into Mooyah, guests are greeted by several viewfinders. The toys feature slides with information about Mooyah, such as locations and other brand information.
A giant cow is painted on one of the walls, the cow image will be placed on T-shirts and other items, said Alan Hixon, Mooyah’s president. "I believe people crave more creativity in their lives," Hixon said.
Nik Bhatka from Genghis Grill and Jeff Epstein with Monkey Media talk about the Mooyah experience with company president Alan Hixon. Hixon said Mooyah’s french fries take 24 hours to prepare and undergo a six-step process before being served.
After Mooyah, the group headed over to Dallas-based Genghis Grill. The concept has grown to 37 units and is centered around Mongolian stir-fry.
Each Genghis Grill location features a bar and several gongs. Diners are given a choice of menu options such as the Mongo BBQ, Bowl of Seoul and Teriyaki Chicken, or they can create their own bowl concoctions.
Genghis Grill menu items are cooked on a 7-foot plate, which heats to about 500 degrees and weighs approximately 2,000 pounds. Bhatka said the plate can cook 16 to 18 meals at a time.
Darren Tristano, executive vice president of Chicago-based Technomic, shows off his Mongo BBQ bowl. The menu item features marinated beef, citrus garlic herbs, Mongo mix, Mongo BBQ sauce and steamed rice. Tristano ordered his with Udon Noodles.
Food tour execs then took a look at OrangeCup, a frozen yogurt concept that has several locations throughout Dallas.
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Guests can order frozen yogurt in three flavors: original, orange juice,or acaiberry. After a customer orders, a label is placed on his cup that shows the order’s calorie content.
Another stop was to Mi Chula’s Good Mexican. The concept is known for its prickly pear margarita and Guisada, which features a choice of grilled chicken, beef or shrimp, sautéed with onions, mushrooms, peppers and tossed with a tomato wine sauce.
Mi Chula’s is high-end fast casual dining, said owner Joe Shashy. Decor elements include bold paintings and circular hanging lights.
After placing their order, diners can sit in the open dining room. The restaurant also has patio seating.
The last stop on the Frisco food tour was to Denny’s latest concept, Denny’s Fresh Express. The concept is centered around take-out orders, though it has seating for about 25 guests.
Denny’s Fresh Express features light colors and menu items such as the Grand Slamwich and the Ham, Egg and Cheese Panini. Beverage items include smoothies and Java Chillers.
One-half of the dining area features seating for Fresh Express customers, the other half is seating for Denny’s full-service customers. Jeff Epstein and Mark Peterson look over menu items while inside Denny’s Fresh Express.