Friday, August 12, 2022

Mooyah! Burger joint returns to Williamsburg

The inside of the Settlers Market MOOYAH. Staff are being trained for opening day. (Andrew Harris/WYDaily)

If you’re a fan of burgers, fries and shakes, the following information may just make you scream “Mooyah!”

MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes will be returning to the Historic Triangle. The burger joint will open for business in Settlers Market in James City County Monday.

The new MOOYAH will take the torch from a MOOYAH restaurant once located in downtown Williamsburg on Richmond Road, adjacent to The Crust Cafe. Both MOOYAHs have been owned by husband and wife Amit and Trupti Patel.

“Our thinking is we are going to be slammed busy,” said Trupti Patel, whose son is currently a William and Mary student.  “We are very excited about it…everyone is asking [our son], ‘When are your parents opening the MOOYAH?’”

The couple, who have been married for 22 years, also own four Subway franchises — three in Charlottesville and one in Newport News. Trupti Patel said the pair closed the downtown MOOYAH because, with the William and Mary student body largely out of town four months each year, it was difficult to make ends meet during those months.

Located across from WhichWich and next to Uniform Plus, both Trupti Patel and MOOYAH Director of Franchise Sales Jordan Duran agree the new site, in one of Greater Williamsburg’s commercial hubs, is perfect for MOOYAH.

“We always planned on reopening [here] once we got the right place,” Duran said. “We believe where our new restaurant is located is a great place for everyone in the Williamsburg area.”

Co-owner Trupti Patel (left) and General Manager Bridgette Belcher posing inside MOOYAH. (Andrew Harris/WYDaily)

Trupti Patel said she is hopeful that with several apartment homes in New Town just a short walk away, the new MOOYAH will be a popular dining destination. She added that many other restaurants in New Town close by 9 p.m., whereas MOOYAH will stay open until 10 p.m.

Duran said MOOYAH currently has 100 locations across the country. The first MOOYAH opened in Plano, Texas in 2007.

“It’s a great brand. We’ve doubled in size since I started” four years ago, Duran said.  “It’s been really exciting to see the brand mature… Our food has to speak for itself and I believe it does.”

Patel said she hopes the fresh USDA Certified Angus Beef, hand-cut fries and milkshakes will make Mooyah a popular stop for residents.  

While the Mooyah Cheeseburger is still a patron favorite, Duran said the company has expanded the menu since closing its downtown location. Guests can now try chicken sandwiches and tenders, as well as new varieties of burgers. New items will rotate on-and-off the menu monthly as well.

MOOYAH operates a restaurant in Newport News and Hampton, and the Settlers Market location joins the ranks of what Duran said will soon be many more locations across Eastern Virginia.

“Virginia is one of our key target states for development,” Duran said. “We want to focus building out the region where we are. We’re looking at potentially adding locations in Norfolk, Chesapeake and expanding into Richmond as well.”

Duran said MOOYAH’s expansion could eventually continue north to Alexandria, Va., and Washington, D.C.  He added that he is searching for franchise partners to open MOOYAH restaurants.

Patel said she and her husband will employ between 30 and 40 people. Those who are already hired have begun training for their new jobs.

One of the employees is General Manager Bridgetee Belcher, who worked for the Patels at their former MOOYAH location. She said she is excited for the new MOOYAH to open Monday.

“I’ve been waiting for a year.” Belcher said, adding she looks forward to working with many new employees.  “When you have a good crew, it’s like you’re hanging out with friends.”

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