Why are most of us leery of giving chain restaurants some love? Some would say the priority of most multi-unit fast food joints is to cut costs and run a tight, calculated business that favors consistency over flavor. If you order a Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese in Sydney, it will taste the same as one eaten in Cincinnati.
Last week I visited Wingstop and was knocked out by the quality of the fries. Despite the fact the company operates over 1,000 units across the globe, they remain dedicated to hand cutting potatoes every day.
Mooyah Burgers deserves the same respect. Started in 2007 by Rich Hicks and Todd Istre, this chain now spans across 19 states and ten countries. I tried one of the burgers at Mooyah, and it was delicious, but I wouldn’t say I would go back for the burger. However, I will go back for the fries.
The company uses a “24-hour six-step process” to make their fries. They wash, cut, rinse, agitate, and double-fry large Idaho potatoes in canola oil. The fries are not too thin nor too fat; they fall into the quarter-inch cut. You can order them in three cup sizes: personal, shareable, family. One personal order is generous enough for two.
In one order I found a vast range of the sizes. One measured five-and-a-half inches long. One side was covered with skin, and the fry stood at attention as I nibbled it down. The majority of the fries were three inches long. I found a slight crunch with every bite and a soft hot center. At the bottom of the cup, I found a treasure trove of salty, crunchy nubs.
Two hours after I’d photographed the fries at my home, I noticed they were still stiff. Many of the fries I bring home, end up soft and flabby after sitting around. I don’t know if this is good or bad, but, even cold, these soldiers are tasty. They heat up nicely in a 350-degree oven for about five minutes.
Mooyah makes the fry a major part of their menu. They offer hand-cut, skin-on Idaho, sweet potato, and a combo of the two. Adventurous fry lovers will bask in the Idaho fries covered with a green chile queso or a layer of chili and cheese.
As I mentioned above, hand-cut fries are labor intensive. They can be finicky and unpredictable. If Mooyah can maintain the quality, then they should be recognized for their dedication to the potato.