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Tejas

Skinny Fajitas

Skinny Fajitas

TEJAS – Tex-Mex done sexy. I’m in.
This week’s #FridayFeed restaurant branding review is TEJAS at 250 N. Bishop at Ninth Street in Oak Cliff. Studio B just moved to the Bishop Arts District in June so we only heard about what Tejas used to be, which was apparently a counter service, fast casual Tex-Mex burger & fries place. By the time we got here, they had shut it down for a full Covid remodel which included a change in business model-from counter service to sit down casual Mexican cuisine. “Healthy Tex Mex” with bright fresh ingredients and craveable Tex-Mex favorites, vegan options and fresh-caught seafood. 

Order Up!

The menu is exactly the right size. Four kinds of guacamole, deliciously velvety queso, ceviche, carne aside fries, a poblano soup and few salads to start. Complimentary with meals, the chips and salsa are delicious. I’m sure they are fresh fried chips with sea salt and the salsa – I can’t describe – but is thick and tasty – not too much tomato. Entrees include standards like enchiladas, tacos, flautas, quesadillas, fajitas and a couple of plates – all with something just a little special, i.e. homemade flour tortillas, tomatillo slaw, house smoked brisket (which is to die-for). You can also get Skinny Fajitas with cauliflower rice and “cute, delicious and oh so mini!” mini tacos. Great for sharing with the No sugar added Margarita selections.  My first lunch visit included brisket & queso tacos with fresh flour tortillas. Amazing. So good, in fact, that I ordered take out for dinner which included chicken enchiladas with a yummy creamy sauce and the enchiladas poblanos, also excellent. Danny and I went to review this week and I got the skinny steak fajitas with cauliflower rice. The steak was flawless and the cauliflower rice was really really good. I make A LOT of cauliflower rice variations so I know this veggie but I don’t know how they made theirs. It was delicious and I will snoop around to see if I can replicate at home. Danny got the brisket and queso enchiladas which came with special “rice and beans.” I say special because the rice was notably delicious and the beans were like a little bowl of savory bean soup. They were true sides vs plate fillers. Danny gave the whole meal a double thumbs up. Oh – and the tea was delicious.

Branding DNA/Environmental Branding:

The brand comes from Exxir Capital led by Michael Nazerian who says “ Places are the canvas. Experiences are the glue.” Exxir is responsible for a large part of the development of Bishop Arts along with Good Spaces and Jim Lake Companies. The thing about Exxir though is their curation of the experiences with restaurants, apartments, offices and green spaces.* It’s been said that their design is Southern California and I would agree. Tejas is rich with design elements like custom tiles, loads of plants and planters, awesome pops of color and texture, cool furniture, quirky glassware and even the staff uniforms. I hate to call them uniforms because I think the rules are structured but loose, meaning dress for “this” vibe. The lunch and dinner bartenders were wearing different style black bolero hats. It wasn’t contrived. Somehow I think they just attract the right people for their brands and it seriously all works.

Digital Branding:

Tejas has a minimalist website that can be easily navigated and is all about their food. Their Instagram features beautiful candid food photography of their amazing dishes. Overall, their website and social work great together to drive consumers to their restaurant.

–Danny

MJ’s Brand Opinion:

If you’ve followed our Friday Feed Reviews pre-Covid, you know I don’t gush over restaurants very often. It is rare that a brand is buttoned up in pretty much every category. Many times a restaurant will look great but the staff is just wrong or the operations are clunky. I’m guessing that Nazerian is a control freak about his design and his teams – it works. If there’s anything I think that is a little weak it would probably be website interface and their choice for the take out packaging. My two person take out order included 2 kraft handled bags, 3 kraft Champak containers and 5 styrofoam containers with lids. Since we’re packaging designers, we know how much money that adds to the bottom line and this is stock, unbranded packaging, so…it’s costly and not too eco friendly due to the shear volume of pieces. Unbranded Packaging aside – it’s a heart emoji for me.

TMZ Celebrity Sighting Bonus: While we were patio dining – a porche pulled up and I recognized it was Michael Nazerian. Obviously there to check on his many projects. 😉 MN-Call me about that packaging.

*Exxir also owns Paradiso (review to come – second visit required), Botonist, Good Companions along with Bishop North apartments, Bishop Flats, Camp Bishop and more.

Score:

MJ and Danny give Tejas an A+ in all categories. Go.

#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

Sky Rocket Burger

Toasted Burger Bun

Toasted Burger Bun

SKY ROCKET BURGER – Remember when it was cool to dine-in?

This week’s #FridayFeed restaurant branding review is SKY ROCKET BURGER at 111 S. Hall at Commerce in Deep Ellum. About 3 weeks ago we visited Sky Rocket Burger. We’d never heard of it but decided to go after some colleagues recommended we try it. We love a good burger and fries! 

Order Up!

The menu is super simple. Fresh ground angus prime choice beef burgers, cooked to order with free add-ons like raw or grilled onions, jalapeños, spicy mayo, hot sauce, etc. Premium add-ons include a fried egg, cheddar cheese and bacon. I ordered the single burger with cheese – no changes to the way it comes which is with lettuce, tomato, pickles, served sauce and mayo on a FRESH BAKED TOASTED BUTTERED BUN. Let’s just linger here for a minute. Real butter (because I asked management) slathered generously on a fresh baked bun, toasted until crisp on a flat top grill. Ahhhh-mazing. Danny got the single burger also but added grilled jalapeños. We tried the fries, the tots and the fresh brewed tea. This was truly a classic burger lunch with a delicious fried potatoes. No pretense, no crazy ingredients. The rest of the menu includes: double burgers, triple burgers, grilled cheese and cheese fries. Drinks and a Blue Bell shakes sign indicates they have vanilla, chocolate and strawberry shakes.

Branding DNA/Environmental Branding:

The branding is as basic as the burger. It works for the burger but since we’re restaurant “branders” we think there is much room for improvement here. I like the name but I think the logo and the menu and the interior provide opportunities for improvement. The website is really spare. The about us page says it is a family owned restaurant who takes pride in bringing best tasting food at best prices. What else? We did some googling and found that the concept was opened by Scott Wagner & his wife Tia. The couple has now partnered with a team that includes Alan Talebi who is known for Vidorra and Stirr. According to Culturemap, they opened the Deep Ellum location so they could have the burgers closer to where they lived. Another is planned for Arlington. How about a location in Oak Cliff next?!

Digital Branding:

There’s not much else to say except that we’ll go back – obviously for take out due to this Coronavirus quarantine. DoorDash, Grubhub, Uber Eats and Postmates all deliver according to their Instagram and Facebook pages.
–Danny

A Message to the Owners:

Studio B is a kick ass restaurant branding design studio in the Design District. You guys could use some branding. We could use a new project. We realize the restaurant business is in total crisis right now but there will be less competition when this is over. Let’s use this time and work something out. Let’s talk!

Score:

MJ and Danny give Sky Rocket Burger an A for the burger.

#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

National Taco Day

From Tikka Tacos to So-So Queso we’ve put all 5 of our #FridayFeed tasty taco reviews together in honor of National Taco Day!

 

#FridayFeed Scores:

Velvet Taco Chicken Tikka Tacos. Red Velvet cake. Secret Menu Brisket Nachos. 
MJ gives it an A; Danny gives it an A – click here for the full review
 
Fuzzy’s Taco Shop Solid Nachos. So-So-Queso. Meh Interior Design
 MJ gives it an B-; Danny gives it an B+  click here for the full review
 
Torchy’s Tacos Austin-y yet I still like them. Edgy Fun Brand. Diablo sauce yum.
MJ gives it an A; Danny gives it an A + click here for the full review
 
Taco Joint Unspectacular. Good Tea.
MJ gives it an B-; Danny gives it an B click here for the full review
 
Tacodeli Excellent queso & chips. Delicious salsas. Terrible hours (closes at 3). 
MJ gives it an B; Danny gives it an B+ click here for the full review

 

#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

Fuzzy’s Taco Shop

Nachos & Burrito Bowl

Nachos & Burrito Bowl

FUZZY’S TACO SHOP – Add Friends and Alcohol

This week’s #FridayFeed restaurant branding review is FUZZY’S TACO SHOP on Mockingbird near Love Field airport. I went to my first Fuzzy’s in Waxahachie about 12 years ago. Cool little taco shop, good food and that’s all I remember. After doing a little research on the brand, I learned that the original founder, Paul Willis was involved in a ton of restaurants and opened the original Fuzzy’s in Ft Worth, near TCU. In 2003, Father and son restaurateurs Alan and Chuck Bush bought the Shop and began franchising in 2009.  The brand has more than 100 locations according to their website.

Order Up!

I ordered the nachos and made them “ultimate” by adding sour cream, fresh jalapeños and guacamole. Danny got a burrito bowl and we got a side of chips & queso, just because. My nacho order was a huge plate of yummy cheesy, creamy goodness. No complaints. Queso was so-so. I LOVE Queso, especially white queso. It was good but I just needed it to be awesome.

Branding DNA/Environmental Branding:

I didn’t notice anything super special about the interior design here. Lots of bright paint colors, MASSIVE – like the biggest I’ve ever seen – Digital Menu Boards and some nice outdoor seating. It’s ok but it’s just missing something. The interior is just a dining room with seats. I didn’t leave there knowing anything about Fuzzy’s tacos – why it’s named that or what it means or where they’re from, what they’re known for, what’s the deal with that cute fish? Don’t blame me but there’s a lot of pressure put on the experience in the fast casual space now. It’s not enough that you have to make great food with some blingy, instagram worthy items and be ever-present on social media – you have to deliver an “experience” on-site as well. Oh, and deliver. with drones. and CBD, make sure you’re thinking about adding something with that… To be fair – an experience can be had when you add friends, family and/or alcohol – which they have plenty in their small little service bar which I loved. Danny and I visit concepts specifically to see what a brand is delivering so we come in with white gloves and take note of everything we like and don’t like. Overall notes – I don’t get the Baja component. The Mockingbird location needs an update and re-paint. I loved the crazy little bar set up at the register. If I was in college still, drinking with friends at a cooler location, maybe I would love it more.

Marketing Miss:

We decided to go to Fuzzy’s because it was on our list but also because I recently connected with the VP of Development on LinkedIn. I’m also doing some research on queso for another project and I noticed their current promotion online. If you donate $2 to No Kid Hungry, you get FREE chips and queso* *Disclaimer – FREE on your next visit…psyche! Anyway…we got there and I realized that the cashier didn’t ask me to donate and I didn’t see a sign for the promotion so maybe this franchisee isn’t participating or maybe I just missed it. Here’s some FREE data for the Fuzzy’s marketing team: I saw FREE queso marketing online. I saw picture of queso & chips online. I went to Fuzzy’s to get queso and chips. I ordered nachos and STILL ordered Queso and chips. Data results: Queso sells!

Digital Branding:

Fuzzy’s Taco shop has a great website filled with bright color schemes and can be easily navigated. On their site they also have a stream of their social media post, which I think is brilliant! My only issue is the parallax scrolling on the menu page of the website. The images are not big enough vertically to be able to see the beautiful food photography. On their Facebook and Instagram account they mix some marketing with and large portion of great food photography and a dash of lifestyle. They do an awesome job with the food photos, but could use some more lifestyle imagery. Overall they have a good website and even better social media posts, but what they’re really missing is the unique factor that sets them apart from other taco joints.
–Danny

Score:

MJ gives FUZZY’S TACO SHOP a B- and Danny gives them a solid B+. This concept is missing something.

#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