We first visited Mooyah Burger just after they opened in early May, 2012. We had heard through the grapevine that they were similar to Five Guys with walk-up counter ordering and burgers wrapped in aluminum foil. And for the most part, 'they' were right with some minor exceptions. Mooyah Burger is slightly less environmentally friendly as they have a paper form for customers to first comprehend, then write their order down/check the boxes and then present it to the cashier. Have a burger and help kill a tree in 15 seconds or less.
We have to wonder about the reasoning for such a scheme and if it really saves anyone any time. Of course they don't enforce any policy on having to use the form but (especially) when there isn't anyone in line ahead of you, is it worth jumping that hurdle just to order a burger and fries?
The burger with cheese ($5.55) just like the fries, was nothing special - hardly enough to warrant a third trip anytime soon. There are multiple choices to get a hamburger near Imperial Oaks on Rayford Road - Jack in The Box, Burger King, McDonald's and Tewbeleaux's are within a one mile radius, so competition should be of concern to the management at Mooyah Burger. Mooyah Burger likely considers themselves to be a step or two above the various fast food joints - we however, aren't seeing much separation at all.
The meat was slightly overcooked for my taste, and the french fries ($2.95) tasted of burnt oil; that is to say that the frying oil had likely been overheated or scorched and was no longer suitable for cooking foods. I presented this to the manager and she was happy to replace them with a second batch. Though the second batch, while looking the same as the first, at least didn't have the smoked oil taste. I would further suggest that the grill and the fryer(s) were turned up a bit too high that day resulting in a variety of well done products - well done as in slightly burned as opposed to being cooked well.
Mooyah professes to having fresh baked buns every day and offers Veggie Burgers, Turkey Burgers and of course Beef Burgers - though we haven't found where they mention the actual ratio of meat to filler in those burgers. The buns upon which are most recent burgers were served didn't taste all that fresh. They were a little thick and tough, maybe even slightly stale. The buns might have been made fresh that morning, but had the texture of having been in open air for far too long.
According to an article on PRWEB, "MOOYAH French fries come together in a six-step process that takes 24 hours..." This really makes me curious for a couple of reasons. 1 - Why in the world would it take 24 hours to slice some potatoes and have the final product taste like burnt oil? 2 - Why take 24 hours in the first place? They are just potatoes for crying out loud! Slice'em. fry-em, season'em and serve shouldn't take 24 minutes much less 24 hours. Besides all that, they don't even look similar to the ones they show in the marketing photo.
The Mooyah Fries as pictured in the store.
The Mooyah Fries we were served
Similar to what Five Guys Burgers does, Mooyah fills a cup with fresh fries and after placing it in the bag, adds a bit more; providing the appearance of being quite generous with the fried potatos. Given a choice, I'll take Five Guys over Mooyah any day of the week.
We try really hard to not draw direct comparisons between any two restaurants. It's difficult though when you see one establishment selling a similar product in a similar way. But honestly, once you get past the red-and-white decor, the wrapped in foil burgers and fries in cups, the comparable aspects quickly fade.
Because I had a "Little Mooyah," that is, with a single patty, it started at $3.75; but when I added cheddar ($0.60) and bacon ($0.80) I was up to $5.15. I opted for a small assortment of "free" toppings as well, lettuce, tomato, pickles, mustard and 'special sauce.' I don't really know what was special about the sauce, because frankly, I never tasted it. Like his burger, mine was overdone and dry, a sin among burgers that can be easily remedied by first and foremost never smashing your burger patty down to wafer thin proportions. As you can see, my burger patty was only slightly thicker than the bacon beneath it.
The Burgers are served wrapped in foil
Mooyah Burger has six locations in the greater Houston area, and a number of people must enjoy eating their brand of burgers.
• Deer Park — Deer Park Center and Pasadena • Katy — Across from Cinco Ranch Junior High School • Kingwood — Kingwood Dr. and W. Lake Houston Pkwy • Richardson — (North East corner of) Coit & Campbell • Spring — Imperial Oaks • Webster — Bay Area Blvd & Hwy 3
Between Five Guys and Mooyah Burger, we prefer Five Guys Burgers & Fries ourselves. Thankfully, the mainstay at either venue is under $10, as well they should be. The two burger joints mirror each other in several ways; counter service, smaller diameter sandwiches wrapped in foil, and large orders of fries served in an overflowing cup. The actual food products however, are quite different - and that's where the problems begin. We've been to Mooyah Burgers twice now and it's unlikely that we will be returning any time soon but it's very likely that you will see us at Five Guys now and again.
What do you think? Did we get it wrong or did we get it right? Let us know in the comments below. And remember, you don't have to take our word for it.
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