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mj

Unleavened Fresh Kitchen

Farmstand Salad

Farmstand Salad

This week’s #FridayFeed restaurant branding review is Unleavened fresh kitchen at 75 and Walnut Hill in The Hill Shopping Center.

Order Up!

Unleavened Fresh Kitchen has 4 locations in Dallas. I have to start by saying I don’t love the name. It starts with “UN” and I don’t know that I have ever craved unleavened bread. It just doesn’t make me hungry. I know the name includes fresh kitchen but people don’t read so… (That’s not snark folks, I know people don’t read). The logo on the other hand, I really like. A nice fun script face in my favorite color, orange.

While I wasn’t really in the mood for something healthy, our office neighbor Erin, who reviews with us on occasion was really wanting to go there. She said all of her friends LOVE it. I believe it does skew toward the female crowd and I found out why all of Erin’s friends love it so much – free kids meals EVERY DAY after 4pm (dine in, with adult meal, 12 and under). I don’t have kids at home anymore so I don’t care about kids meals or people with kids, hahahaha – That is definitely snark – if you missed it.

Food:

The menu was not very large and it was definitely healthy. Wraps and Greens are the staples. I ordered the Farmstand “salad” and it was beautiful and tasty and very healthy. Danny ordered the Southwestern wrap in a spinach tortilla with a side of grilled sweet corn and a Superberry tea to top it off. They had a nice selection of fresh and colorful beverages and teas, including cold brew in the bubblers. They do have a morning menu which includes wraps or hash. Hash “anything” sounds good but they are across the street from Snooze a.m. Eatery so it wouldn’t get my vote in a draw. If you haven’t read our review of Snooze, go.

Environmental Branding:

The place was super cute – I loved the interior design. Very bright and modern and clean. Great chairs and varied seating. Designed by Mitchell Garman Architects, I discovered this design team is also responsible for Ascension, Twisted Root, and many others.

Branding DNA:

Great logo. Great colors. Great interior design. Really fresh, clean, healthy food with an UNcompromising commitment to fresh, creative salads and wraps. Naturally, they play off of the “UN” in the name to call out their uncommon goodliness. “Uncommon, untraditional, unexpected. This is our promise to you. Every meal. Every day.” This place is awesome if you are craving fresh healthy gluten-free foods including quinoa, farro, eggplant dip and hummus. Go! Enjoy! 

Digital Branding:

Unleavened has a refreshingly UNtraditional website that features an upward scrolling banner rather than the more traditional side to side. Their website is beautifully designed, but lacks in functionality. When you visit their website you only have two navigation options, our locations and view the menu. If you want to learn more about the brand you’re out of luck. There is a video, that you have to scroll a few times to get to,  that will give you a round-about idea on what to expect when you visit one of there locations, but doesn’t actually speak about the brand or their story. As for their social media, on their Instagram and Facebook accounts they blend enticing food photography with great lifestyle imagery.
–Danny

Score:

MJ gives it a B only because of the name. Danny gives it a B+ only because of their website downfalls.

#FridayFeed:

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

7-Eleven – Home of SLURPEES, Beer on Tap and Tacos?

7-Eleven Beer on Tap

7-Eleven Beer on Tap

Beverages are BIG everywhere! It used to be that your drink choices were soda and tea but with more and more people weaning off of sugar-filled, carbonated sodas, the beverage biz is exploding! In our weekly fast casual restaurant reviews #Friday Feed, we have the opportunity to see what’s trending. Flavored teas aren’t necessarily new but they’re definitely more common, fruity teas & lemonades (see watermelon ice tea from Twisted Root), juices, cold brew coffee, sparkling waters, and small batch craft sodas are all becoming big players.

Self-serve tap systems are definitely hot and because they’re pretty, they cross-function as experiential store design elements (see pics of Piada and Bellagreen). Clear bubblers are also becoming trendy again. There’s something about seeing the pretty colors all lined up that makes these beverages look extra refreshing (see pics from Modern Market, Subway and Unleavened).

We’re also seeing more concepts using reach in coolers to offer an even wider selection of bottled beverages, canned beers, juices, energy drinks, etc. (see Velvet Taco and Tacodeli). With the many delivery service providers (Uber Eats, Door Dash, Favor, GrubHub) delivering to homes and offices, bottled or canned drinks are preferred over fountain drinks in cups with ice, lids, straws, etc.

Now let’s talk about 7-Eleven and that Beer on Tap. I LOVED 7-Eleven when I was a kid. While the last 2-3 decades have not been good for this once amazing brand, they are working on a turnaround. They just opened a brand new 7-Eleven at Sylvan & I-30 near Oak Cliff. The signs say “A store like no other”. They are calling it the Sylvan | Thirty “lab” store where it will test new concepts, platforms and products. The store also includes a Laredo Taco brand inside. This store has a wine “room”, a build your own toppings bar for frozen treats, BEER ON TAP, grind & brew coffee machines, bulk snacks and candy. A bonus for a store design nerd like myself, they have LED strip lighting under every. single. shelf. to highlight the beautiful bags of candy and snacks.

Following Amazon Go, The “lab” store is also testing “Scan & Pay” – you grab the products you want, scan them with your phone’s camera and pay with CC, DC Apple or Google Pay. Now you’re free to skip the line, you just scan your QR code at the “confirmation station” (a little white acrylic box on the counter by the front door) and get on with your day. I’m going to try it this weekend for sure. Cool stuff 7-Eleven, I’m ready for your come-back!

#FridayFeed:

Every Friday, Studio B Dallas visits a local fast casual concept for lunch to critique the brand (and eat lunch). Look for our restaurant branding reviews each Friday! MJ & Danny

Burger Wars

Burger Wars Collage

Burger Wars Collage

BURGER WARS! We’ve reviewed 10 plus burger joints on #FridayFeed. One question remains, who has the best burger in Dallas? Leave us a comment below with your favorite.

#FridayFeed:

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

Rex’s Seafood & Market

Parmesan Crusted Tilapia

Parmesan Crusted Tilapia

This week’s #FridayFeed restaurant branding review is Rex’s Seafood & Market on NW Hwy and Hillcrest in Dallas.

Order Up!

Rex’s has a super popular location at the Farmer’s Market and we heard they were opening a traditional location near Highland Park. Rex’s doesn’t really fit into a fast casual category – actually we don’t know any seafood concepts that do. You go from Long John Silvers (fast) to Joe’s Crab shack (casual) pretty much, right? But – we haven’t reviewed any seafood yet and figured it was close enough. AND, we heard that Coeval had done the design – more on them later – let’s talk food.

Upon entry, we were greeted by a server who offered us a look at the “market” case of fresh seafood, a seat at the bar or a table for two for lunch. We chose a nice booth along the wall where we had a good view of the open space. The menus were nicely designed and pretty – not a piece of paper on a clip board or busy laminated kind with cartoon photos of crabs and such. Colors are a deep ocean blue and butter yellow.

I love lobster bisque so I ordered a cup to start with and the parmesan crusted Tilapia with fried Brussel sprouts and cheesy grits for my entrée. Danny ordered the fried shrimp basket with fries and broccoli with a side of jalapeño ranch. The bisque was perfect. Creamy, velvety, yummy. The tilapia came with a lemon butter sauce on top and it was delicious. Fried Brussel sprouts  – yum. Cheesy grits – could have been cheesier. I love grits so I inquired about shrimp & grits which they said they have on the weekend brunch menu. They offer a nice selection of desserts and ice cream as well .:) They have daily specials and a sweet happy hour special M-F from 3-6 – Gulf Oysters $1 and Premium Oysters for $2 each and $2 off all draft beer and wine.

Environmental Branding:

Rex’s has a really nice neon script logo sign on a background of clean plank wood and a storefront of windows so the natural light is really nice. The overall interior design is really buttoned up. They chose a nice mix of materials and colors and have several unique design features. The nods to “seafood/ocean” were more like home decor than pier & bait shack – I didn’t see one galvanized bucket of crackers or a lifesaver or net and buoy – thank goodness! I’d call it refined casual – a great middle space between a crab shack and an Oceanaire – a neighborhood restaurant where you can get beautiful fresh seafood for lunch or dinner or pop in and have a cold draft or glass of wine while you have the market steam some clams for take out.

Since our reviews include interior design, we like to give credit to the designers. Coeval Studio is responsible for the design and have worked on so many great concepts – Whistle Britches, Liberty Burger, El Bolero, The Rustic, Happiest Hour…nice work!

Branding DNA:

Great logo, nice menus, pretty interior. The only thing missing was a view of the ocean.

Digital Branding:

Rex’s Seafood has a great website. Easy to navigate, parallax scrolling and user-friendly online ordering for pick-up. Their social media accounts feature great lifestyle photographs, mouthwatering food imagery and even some shout outs to their suppliers. Their supplier spotlight is brilliant! This shows customers that they put thought and care into where their ingredients come from.
–Danny

Score:

MJ and Danny give it an A.

#FridayFeed:

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

Hopdoddy

Hopdoddy Neon

Hopdoddy Neon

This week’s #FridayFeed restaurant branding review is Hopdoddy in College Station, Texas, Whoop!

Order Up!

Hopdoddy is an Austin-born brand and has 35 locations in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas (22 TX locations). You enter to an order line which directs you to the counter where you can order from a menu of “burgers, sides, shakes & bar”. They tout handmade buns and handmade burgers in their in-house bakery and butchery – most of which have cool names like the Dubliner and the Buffalo Bill and maybe they’re a little “famous” for being one of the few places that has the Impossible Burger – a burger made entirely of plants. Photography and presentation both excellent. They also have a cause – the Goodnight/Good Cause burger for which they donate a $1 for every one purchased. They have raised more than 1 million dollars for local charities. That supports their culture message that they are “part of the neighborhood.” I like it.

This FridayFeed review was a road trip version. Danny didn’t make the trip, but I took 4 college kids with me for this Friday Feed so everyone ordered shakes, burgers and fries. The shakes had those “colossal” straws and looked pretty damn good. Sides menu is pretty simple – fries, fries and salad. I ordered the hand cut sweet potato fries which were good. All of the food was good but after Rodeo Goat, the burger bar is really high so I’d have to put the burger in third place behind the Goat and Liberty Burger.

Environmental Branding:

Hopdoddy (“hop” is for the beer and “doddy” is a Scottish term for cows) is a cool burger chain that doesn’t feel chain-like. I’ll start with the lighting and ambiance. Warm woods, perfect lighting, inviting atmosphere all around. There’s a bar in the middle of the space and seating around the perimeter. A mix of high booths and tables line the wall and There’s a nice upholstered banquette along the order line. Like many brands, they have an open kitchen where you can see people busy prepping orders. Not all open kitchens look that great, but this one looked clean and organized and the sounds and smells really added to the overall ambiance.

The downside to the seating was that we couldn’t all sit together. I was surprised that there wasn’t a community table – who doesn’t design a community table anymore? Maybe it was just this location. 9:30 pm dinner in a college town on a Friday night, this place was hoppin’.

Branding DNA:

The College Station Hopdoddy interior and exterior was designed by Levy from Austin. A google search indicates that Catie Lucey is responsible for a lot of Hopdoddy graphic design – posters and new menus. A disclaimer on her site indicates the logo was designed by a *previous designer.

Digital Branding:

Hopdoddy’s website is one of the better restaurant websites out there. It’s fairly easy to navigate and uses a great flexible grid layout that keeps things interesting. Their Instagram and Facebook do a good job at mixing marketing images and food photography together, but could use more lifestyle imagery like they have on their website. Lifestyle images are key because they let the customer know what type of atmosphere to expect when they visit one of your locations. Mouthwatering food porn will draw people in, but lifestyle photography will make them take action and visit your restaurant.
–Danny

Score:

MJ gives it an A. Danny gives it an A-.

#FridayFeed:

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

PORCH SWING

Porch Swing Restaurant

Porch Swing Restaurant

 

Come for the food. Stay for the music. PORCH SWING Restaurant opened to a full house Monday, February 18th in Mesquite, Texas across the street from Town East Mall. 

Porch Swing restaurant is a new concept by seasoned entrepreneur, Antonio Swad, best known for his concepts Wing Stop and Pizza Patron. Porch Swing offers a menu of southern classics – Fried Chicken, Chicken Fried Steak, Ribs, Fried Catfish, Pork Loin, Shrimp and a Grilled Meatloaf. The menu also includes homemade cheesy drop biscuits and a Pie Company baking and serving scratch made pies like Cookie Top Pecan, Buttermilk, Banana Cream and Toasted Coconut to name a few.

The design is a blend of contemporary and classic Southern touches with some unique features including double sided porch swings, a state of the art sound system and stage as well as the Pie Company store where customers can purchase a slice or whole pies in custom branded packaging. Porch Swing has a 3,000 sq. ft. covered patio with a massive fireplace, perfect for meeting with friends or watching a game. The LIVE music stage will host bands every Friday and Saturday night.

Porch Swing is gaining momentum in the press and with foodies from all around the DFW. They have been mentioned in Culturemap, Nation’s Restaurant News and Restaurant Hospitality just to name a few.

Studio B acted as the design team on the project handling interior design, branding, custom packaging, photography and apparel. Truly the most fun project to work on EVER! Please go to our portfolio page and check out all of the photos!

MidiCi

Chef Making Pizzas

Chef Making Pizzas

This week’s #FridayFeed restaurant branding review is MidiCi The Neapolitan Pizza Company at Walnut Hill and 75 on the Trader Joe’s side.

Order Up!

We’re always looking for buzz on fast casual concepts so when YELP called out MidiCi as No. 1, we planned our trip.  Of course that was a couple of weeks ago.

First impressions – MidiCi reminds me of a concept in a big Vegas casino. Lots of brass details, those old black fancy footed table bases, a couple of cool light fixtures. The large open kitchen was really fancy with pizza makers in chef coats, big expanse of beautiful white granite counters covered in flour and dough, pretty ingredients and 2 massive wood fired pizza ovens. There was a potted tree in the center of the space and a combination of booth seating, high tops and low tables. You order at the counter and then the servers deliver your food. Drinks are self serve and it was really odd to see a big Coke soda machine in the beverage area while everything else was more elegant. I’ll also note that the wait staff was wearing T-shirts. 

Food:

We like to try a few food items when we review, so I ordered the House meat & cheese board ($16.95). Danny and I ordered two different pizzas. I built my own with white sauce, pepperoni, black olive and mushroom. Danny ordered The Devil’s ($12.45). It was a pricey lunch.

Meat & cheese board looked good and included some grilled bread with a balsamic drizzle. One of the salamis was super spicy so we liked that one, it also had some turkey on the board which I thought was odd – is that normal? – web menu says rosemary ham but ours was smoked turkey. My pizza really wasn’t great. White sauce is not a sauce I found out, it’s olive oil on crust with some parmesan and some baby mozzarella balls – not a sauce. Toppings were spare and the crust was just ok. I guess Danny’s pizza didn’t live up to it’s name because he still ended up putting crushed red peppers on it.

Environmental Branding:

The interior design was really oddly ornate to pair with counter service and a coke machine. Let me take this opportunity to say that music is a huge part of a branded interior and the music was like a nightclub – again, I swear I thought I was in a Vegas casino. They have a playlist online. The bathrooms were notable because literally, it looked like a bathroom in a swanky night club. Glass and brass cart with selection of lotions? Soaps? Candles and succulents – crazy shiny large format tile on one wall – I should have taken photos. Here’s a photo I found online.

Digital Branding:

MidiCi’s website is moderately difficult to navigate. They have a side navigation menu that has 3-5 sub navigation options under each navigation link. This makes it more difficult for the user to find what they are looking for. Also, all their webpages are really short in length. Most pages don’t even scroll down and the pages that do only scroll once. MidiCi’s Instagram and Facebook is a little better than their website, but not much. They have beautiful food photography, but their lifestyle photos look like that of a night club.
– Danny

Something to Chew On:

Overall, I was not into this restaurant. It just wasn’t cohesive. It wasn’t comfortable. It was a mix of fancy things and graphic wall decals stuck to a fancy stucco type wall finish. The logo doesn’t really match the interior. As I’m writing this, I realize I’m not doing a great job of explaining – I think you’re just going to have to drop in and see for yourself. Since we reviewed, it’s rankings have dropped to #90 as of today.

Score:

MJ gives it a D. Danny is nicer than me so he gives it a C-.

#FridayFeed:

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

Bellagreen

Tea and Soda Tap
Tea and Soda Tap

This week’s #FridayFeed restaurant branding review is Bellagreen American Bistro at Central Expressway and Walnut Hill Lane.

Order Up!

This week MJ is out, so Kinsey is stepping up to the plate! Bellagreen has 8 locations with another on the way. We read about this place from Yelp’s Top 10 Best Fast Casual list – appearing at the #1 spot and for a good reason. After seeing the mouthwatering photos and reading a few reviews our expectations were high and we weren’t disappointed!

This fast-casual restaurant that has everything you would expect from a more elevated causal dining experience without any of the wait or price. They have chef prepared meals made from scratch, affordable pricing and they’re serious about their eco-friendliness. Each Bellagreen is at least 3 green star certified or more. Because their food is truly made from scratch, they can modify menu items to accommodate any dietary restrictions from Keto to Vegetarian.

Diving into the food! I had the The (A) Burger – all-natural 44 Farms® angus beef with mixed greens, tomato, house-made pickles, red onion and cheddar served on a brioche bun with a side of house-cut french fries. I know what you’re thinking… it’s a relatively simple order, yet the burger was packed with so much flavor due to the higher quality of beef. I would rank it second only to the best burger I’ve ever had… The Baby Bella from Liberty Burger. Kinsey had the Chicken Caesar Wrap – sliced all-natural grilled chicken, romaine lettuce, caramelized red onions, sun-dried tomatoes, parmesan & manchego cheese, tossed with their creamy chipotle caesar dressing & wrapped in a chipotle tortilla with a side of sweet potato fries. Truth be told, I stole some of her sweet potato fries and they were AMAZING! Oh and perhaps the best part of all… Bellagreen’s drinks are all on tap from their tea to their sodas. This is a very unique design component we haven’t seen in many places.

Environmental Branding:

Bellagreen, at Central Expressway and Walnut Hill, is nestled among other great concepts such as Snooze, Unleavened, Houndstooth Coffee, Civil Pour, and Hat Creek Burger Company just to name a few. The exterior has a modern appeal with reclaimed wood, large windows and a great patio area that would be perfect on a summer day. Throughout the interior of the restaurant they have intricate hexagonal floor tiling, reclaimed wood and vibrant greenery. Above one of their booths they have a repurposed wine cork mural that adds a really nice touch. Personally, the only thing that feels out of place is the chalkboard artwork on the soffit above the open kitchen.

Digital Branding:

Bellagreen has a beautiful website that is easy to navigate. On their home page they feature a video of their chefs making various foods and consumers enjoying them. I love this! It engages customers and shows them what to expect when they visit a Bellagreen. On their Facebook and Instagram, they do a great job of showing professional food photography shot from a variety of angles with great contrast. They also have great candid lifestyle photography with just a dash of marketing that isn’t overwhelming.

Score:

Kinsey and I both give it a solid A and we’ll be going back very soon!

#FridayFeed:

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

Snooze

Smashed Avocado Benny
Smashed Avocado Benny

This week’s #FridayFeed restaurant branding review is Snooze – an a.m. eatery on Oak Lawn in Dallas.

Order Up!

Our foodie network alerted us to this awesome brand opening just last week at the new Oak Lawn location (right next door to the Green Papaya – ya’ll know where that is – plan to valet park). Snooze has 30 locations with roots in Denver, Co.

I love breakfast foods maybe more than the next person so I was excited to go eat breakfast twice before noon. I ordered the Snooze Classic. Eggs, kick ass bacon and hash browns with coffee. Danny got the Huevos Rancheros and our foodie neighbor, Erin, got the Smashed Avocado Benny with substitution of Hollandaise sauce to Green Chili Hollandaise with a Cappuccino. The poached eggs were beautiful! Presentation and flavor of all of three meals was fantastic. They have ample options for all kinds of eaters – tofu, soyrizo, farro, porridge, etc. and of course cage-free eggs. Oh – and I have to mention that they have my favorite hot sauce line here – YELLOWBIRD Habanero and Serrano.

Service was excellent and the staff seemed really excited to work here. I imagine it is a mad-house on the weekends with the brunch crowd but if you’re a drinker, this place has a full bar with delicious looking cocktails including The Morning Marg, Orange Snoozius and five kinds of mimosas.

Branding DNA:

The interior is SO vibrant and full of color. Orange, which is the best color, is their primary brand color but they have a full “fresh retro” color palette. I was impressed right away with the totally branded interior. It’s a brand-a-palooza in there! Not only did the upholstered booths have custom embroidery, they used their logo and icons on practically everything including a wide range of fun and hip branded apparel. The Snooze AM Eatery brand is credited to XAN Creative. I checked them out and they do some awesome work!

Press:

Snooze’s wildly popular brunches land on Oak Lawn in January. Snooze is opening not just one but three locations in Dallas. Pineapple Upside Down Pancakes and Breakfast Pot Pie for everyone!

Digital Branding:

Snooze’s website features beautiful lifestyle imagery, mouthwatering super close up food photography and parallax scrolling. When you visit their site immediately you know the vibe you’ll get when you visit. Their bright and quirky attitude is infectious. It starts with the staff and carries through the entire brand all the way to the customer’s experience. Snooze does a great job in the social media department as well. On their Facebook and Instagram, much like their website, they blend appetizing food imagery with lifestyle photos and add a dash of marketing.
-Danny

Score:

MJ gives it an A for everything but the hours. Danny gives it an A+.

#FridayFeed:

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

Velvet Taco

Secret Menu Brisket Nachos
Secret Menu Brisket Nachos

This week’s #FridayFeed restaurant branding review is Velvet Taco on Greenville Ave.

Order Up!

Velvet Taco has 10 locations with the Fitzhugh location being the O.G. The FOOD at VT is the hero. Notice I didn’t say tacos. This is Velvet TACO but really, their menu is a culmination of delicious international dishes SERVED in various tortillas. The flavor combinations are amazing and the menu is not overwhelming or expected. I ordered two tacos. My first was the fried cod with curry mayo, yum…I didn’t bother with the tortilla or slaw and I would have rather had two pieces of cod on a plate. The brisket taco has a comté (French origin – I looked it up) cheese-encrusted tortilla so basically it’s a tortilla with crispy fried cheese on the outside. AHH-mazing surprise. We ordered the tater tots and they were good. The fried egg on top makes a good picture and since I love fried eggs, I ate it but c’mon, the “spork” is no bueno. Next time, I’m bringing my own fork. Danny ordered the spicy tikka chicken taco. Which is crisp tenders, spicy tikka sauce, buttered cilantro basmati rice, raita crema and Thai basil on a flour tortilla. Danny says  “it’s the prefect amount of heat and extremely flavorful.“ I hear the red curry coconut queso is delicious. I like curry and I like coconut and I like queso but the I’m not sure I’m going to like them in the same dish. We’ll see next visit!

VT has, what I hear, is a really delicious red velvet cake. When you see a photo of it with the bourbon drizzle it looks pretty tasty but the counter presentation and display needs some serious love! 

Secret Menu:

Velvet Taco has a secret menu item that we are about to blow the lid off of. BRISKET NACHOS! That’s right, Velvet Taco has Brisket Nachos and they’re euphoric! The Brisket Nachos are only on the menu at their Ft. Worth location, but remain a secret menu item that you can get at any of their other locations… if you know to ask. The secret Brisket Nachos are blue corn chips loaded with barbacoa beef, queso blanco, roasted corn pico, lime crema, salsa verde, quest fresco, and micro cilantro. Note that they are a “sides” portion so you still need to order some tacos or queso.

Environmental Branding:

Signage is good. Outdoor seating is nice and there’s a giant colorful mural on one wall. There is also a drive up window for call-ahead orders. It achieves the goal of looking simple and industrial. I wouldn’t call it comfortable but there are some cool upholstered swivel stools all along the window bar. I’d really like to see something soft somewhere in the interior.

Branding DNA:

I like the logo. I like the hot pink. I feel the packaging is a little un-evolved for such a hot brand. I’m not a big fan of the menu board design and the margarita sign unless the “start up” look is intentional and then I guess that’s genius. Velvet Taco has the “indie” look working for them, I just think there’s opportunity to add another layer. If the interior was as rich as the food, that’d be sweet.

Backdoor chicken. Clever. I Like it. Adds a quirky layer to this funky concept.


Digital Branding:

Velvet Taco has a nice website. The left side navigation threw me off so it took me a while to find the “about us” and the “location” info. The “about us” video is great. They should put a link to that on the home page. Their Instagram and Facebook pages mix some marketing images with beautiful food photos that promote their WTF, Weekly Taco Feature. They would benefit from adding some lifestyle images that would showcase their brand style.
-Danny

Score:

I give it an A for food & a B+ for environment. Danny gives it a solid A.

#FridayFeed:

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