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Monthly Archives

November 2018

#FridayFeed Twisted Root Burger

This week’s #FridayFeed restaurant branding review is Twisted Root Burger in Deep Ellum.

Danny and I chose the original location to review so we could see this brands roots! Deep Ellum is Deep Ellum so there’s not much to say about the exterior. The interior looks like it’s the original. It functions well and it wasn’t dirty, it just needs a new paint job and a little freshening up. The brand is “college burger & beer joint” with stickers on everything so it’s not suppose to look chic but you CAN scrape the tape scraps off of the windows and add some new stickers and paint every once in a while. Upon checking out the website, I see they have 19 locations. I’m going to guess that the newer locations are probably a little “shinier.”

I don’t want that intro to make you think I don’t like this place. I think the branding is fantastic. This brand constantly delivers throughout the experience. When you order they give you a laminated name card from a giant stack of famous people. I was Serena Williams. Oprah was there, Betty White, Ice Cube. That’s cool and everybody seemed to enjoy it. Chuck Norris plays a huge part here. The bathroom was filled with Chuck Norris joke graffiti. I love Chuck Norris jokes.

The fun continues as you reach the tea dispensers. There’s Sweet watermelon Ice Tea and UnSweet Ice Tea with photos of the actor smiling and scowling. That’s funny.

Owners Quincy and Jason “met in culinary school, after jobs in stock brokerages and telephone line repair’, and opened Twisted Root in 2006 making “ gourmet burgers” before they were a thing. Diners Drive-In’s and Dives visited in 2009 which put them on the map.

Probably the most genius thing I’ve seen in a while, was the tv screen that was a loop of the brand story. No volume, just a really well done video that told the story of “everything Twisted Root.” While I was eating, I discovered that they make their own buns, burgers, sauces, etc. They also offer Wagyu beef and wild game burgers. They even make their own whiskey. It’s a great story and it created a “connection” of the brand to the founders which adds emotion to the experience. This brand ENGAGES with its customers on many levels. This especially apparent on their social media platforms. It makes me want to meet Jason and Quincy!

Packaging was good. The burgers were served in branded disposable trays. The cups were branded and their custom sauces were on each table with branded labels which included Quincy’s Grandpa’s Secret BBQ Sauce. 

Let’s get to the burgers! I ordered the Freshman 15 “topless” – that’s a beef patty, cheese, smashed French fries, bacon and a fried egg minus the top bun. JUST the thought of my Freshman year at college added to my enjoyment! Danny ordered The Spicy Goat and a side of fried pickles. We also tried all five of the pickles from the complimentary pickle bar. The homemade custard shakes looked delicious – we just can’t eat dessert if we want to actually work the rest of the afternoon. 

MJ gives Twisted Root Burger Co an A+ for branding and Danny gives it an A.

Every Friday, Studio B Dallas visits a local fast casual concept for lunch to critique the brand (and eat lunch). Three rules apply: it’s a concept we haven’t been to or it’s been in the restaurant news and it’s within 10 miles of our office. Wait, four rules – it can’t be sushi. Danny doesn’t do sushi. If you have any suggestions on where we should eat next, feel free to leave it in the comments. Look for our restaurant branding reviews each Friday! MJ & Danny

#FridayFeed Dallas Grilled Cheese Co.

This week’s #FridayFeed restaurant branding review is Dallas Grilled Cheese Co. in Bishop Arts.

Talk about a name that makes you want to eat there! What’s not to love about bread, butter and cheese? They have a very well-crafted menu.

Let’s start by talking about the croutons. Normally a crouton is the toasted leftover bread but these are little squares of grilled cheese sandwiches that are DEEP FRIED right before they land on your salad. No lie, they say people order sides of croutons and I believe it.

On our visit we got the bruschetta bites. They were deliciously crisp and clean. A nice option for pre-cheese gluttony. We split a salad, which was just a salad except for the amazing croutons. Danny got the Bacon Jalapeño Popper Grilled Cheese and I got the Rustic. Both amazing. I can’t wait to go back and try the Brie & Bacon on a rustic Paisano. They offer Waffle-cut sweet potato fries which were yum. We didn’t get to dessert but I want that bread pudding.

Regarding branding, we love the logo, we love the neon signs and their “story” is right on.

It’s all love until I start talking about the interior design. The interior design is industrial and is 98% metal and wood. The seating was just too much of the same and the chairs were really hard and uncomfortable. I’d love to see some “cheese colored” upholstered booths incorporated. I also think it would be cool to have a semi open kitchen with a big flattop grill where I could hear some grillin’ but unfortunately there was no food theater in this design. This location has a full bar with TV’s. 

Website delivers everything that is needed and their social media really capitalizes on local SMU games. I’m going back for the food and the bread pudding. I give this concept an A for food and a B for environment. Danny gives this concept an A+ for food and a A- for environment.

I want to add one comment to our weekly restaurant review experiences: we see a TON of delivery service providers (UberEats, Favor, GrubHub, DoorDash, PostMates) picking up food. See Forbes article on this billion dollar business. 

#FridayFeed Crisp Salad Co.

This week’s #FridayFeed restaurant branding review is Crisp Salad Co. in the Shops at Park Lane.

I love this location. Crisp and neighbor Zoe’s look onto a beautiful patch of green grass across from a nice Starbucks and other retail shops. Upon entry, I see white subway tile, whitewashed planked wood walls and natural wood accents along with a really cute display of pots and plants – I love this little decorative detail! Layout and furniture all work well. The Crisp logo and signage are “so fresh and so clean clean!” Props to OutKast here if you missed the reference.

The concept is apparently all about chopped salads and the chopping is the “entertainment” part of the concept. You can build your own or select a salad from the menu. This all works ok except that I chose arugula as my green and arugula does not need to be chopped. The result was a bruised concoction. Compared to Salata’s topping line, Crisp’s lacks light and organization and labeling – where they could promote their “naturally raised meats and local produce,” per their website copy. The service here was excellent and my salad “artist” offered me complimentary soup since it was my first visit. The menu board system is great in theory but the clipped-on posters looked too thin and were “floppy” – easy fix. There was one singular item in the store that didn’t match – see the restroom sign in the photos. Everything else in this concept was clean and crisp and then they used a vintage style metal restroom sign that looked like it belonged in an old gas station, surely this was a one-off?

Upon review of the website, I discovered that there are only two locations. Based on the quality branding, I really thought this was a larger chain. Maybe it’s growing.

Great logo, nice set of icons, colors, interior design, bowls, printed cups, etc. I liked it so much I investigated who designed the brand and want to give them props. See onefastbuffalo link. I give this concept an A for branding and a B for food and operations but definitely worth a second visit. Danny gives it an A for branding and a B+ for food and operations.

Every Friday, Studio B Dallas visits a local fast casual concept for lunch to critique the brand (and eat lunch). Three rules apply: it’s a concept we haven’t been to or it’s been in the restaurant news and it’s within 10 miles of our office. Wait, four rules – it can’t be sushi. Danny doesn’t do sushi. If you have any suggestions on where we should eat next, feel free to leave it in the comments. Look for our restaurant branding reviews each Friday! MJ & Danny

#FridayFeed Street’s Fine Chicken

This week’s #FridayFeed restaurant review is Street’s Fine Chicken near Oak Lawn.

Street’s Fine Chicken has a great name and a hip location on Cedar Springs so we were excited to try it. The space is divided into two rooms basically, you have a long bar and a few seats upon entry with a hostess stand. The hostess stand clued us in that this was more casual than fast casual. We were seated in the large open dining room which was filled with comfortable booths, banquettes and table seating. It’s a really large room with a lot of white walls and high ceilings. I hate that my primary comment will center around the decor but there were only two things to look at. The primary long wall was decorated with splatter paintings. Fourteen splatter paintings in this room to be exact. The opposite wall was covered in a collage of photos of chickens. Not framed photos of chickens but large paper prints of chickens stuck to the white paneled walls and overlapping each other. I’m just going to say that there is a lot of missed opportunity for decor in this room but the tabletops were gorgeous and the booths were covered in a super supple vintage yellow gold leather. 

The brand is “old school” which I love. Classic style menu full of old school favorites and great names. Fried Chicken, biscuits, gravy, dumplings, deviled eggs, etc. We ordered the Little Devils (deviled eggs) and Pimiento Cheese Fritters for appetizers. Both were tasty and the presentation was really nice. Danny ordered the Hell’s Chicken because well the name is so fun, duh and he loves spicy food. The sandwich didn’t deliver the heat BUT the SIN KILLER hot sauce DID. I ordered the chicken and dumplings which I regretted before the waiter left the table. I know better. Only my dead grandmother can make chicken and dumplings. period. Even more disappointing, my $10 bowl of dumplings didn’t even come with a honey butter biscuit. One thing on the menu that I thought was crazy was this disclaimer under the French Fried Chicken heading – “please anticipate up to 20-30 minutes for cooking.” Sorry – who’s got that kind of time?

I’ll wrap up this review by saying there was yet another JOY Macaron sighting here. There was a JOY branded cooler right next to the hostess stand full of ice cream macaroon sandwiches and the ONLY merchandising/marketing in the restaurant were cheap lucite table card holders with flyers advertising the Joy Macaron sandwiches. The waiter said that since they only have bread pudding for dessert, the ice cream sandwiches sell well and that they keep them under lock and key. What If a customer orders a JOY Macaron? The waiter has to get the bartender to unlock the cooler to retrieve. This is the 3rd Joy appearance in 6 reviews so I visited their site for some insight. You can check it out here.

Street’s Fine Chicken is a concept by Marco Street – brother to Mariel Street of Liberty Burger. We’re going to check and see if Gene Street has any other kids in the restaurant business. Recently, Street’s Fine Chicken earned a mention on Yelp’s Best Fast Casual in Dallas list and has 2 locations. Danny and I give Street’s Fine Chicken a B.

Every Friday, Studio B Dallas visits a local fast casual concept for lunch to critique the brand (and eat lunch). Three rules apply: it’s a concept we haven’t been to or it’s been in the restaurant news and it’s within 10 miles of our office. Wait, four rules – it can’t be sushi. Danny doesn’t do sushi. If you have any suggestions on where we should eat next, feel free to leave it in the comments. Look for our restaurant branding reviews each Friday! MJ & Danny