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