By CHRIS EBERHART
A Harrison man is looking to bring a Texas burger chain to Westchester County.
Anthony Grippo, who has been living in Harrison for the past 10 years with his wife and three children, is in the midst of a search for the next location of MOOYAH, a burger chain that began in Texas in 2007. The franchise currently has stores in Texas and 14 other states in the U.S., according to the company’s website.
Anthony D’Amore, a development agent for D’Amore Burgers, LLC, and owner of the soon-to-be-opened MOOYAH in Garwood, N.J., said MOOYAH is expanding and seeks to make a name for itself in the New York-New Jersey food market.
“I love New York and New Jersey [as the new location for MOOYAH],” D’Amore said. “People are always getting up early and going to work and going out to eat. They appreciate good food and, when they’re putting their money on the table, they expect quality food and a good experience.”
D’Amore said the restaurant makes every component of the meal fresh after it’s ordered, which, coupled with a drawing wall for children, separates MOOYAH from competing burger places in the New York-New Jersey market like Five Guys and Smash Burger, according to D’Amore.
“We are more family oriented. There’s a place for kids to draw on the walls. And we don’t cheat the process. Everything is made fresh on site; everything from the burger to the fries to the bun. That’s the difference,” D’Amore said. “I think we reach the consumers’ needs better [than competing burger places].”
Grippo echoed D’Amore’s sentiment.
“The food is better. It’s fresher. Nothing is frozen. Fries are hand cut with a six-step process. They bake the buns in the store. And the stores have more of a fun vibe. It’s very kid friendly,” Grippo said.
As a company, MOOYAH—already a 58-store chain—set a goal to reach 100 stores by the end of 2014, and D’Amore and Grippo were confident the company will reach that goal.
“There will be over 100 stores. They’re going to get that done,” D’Amore said.
Part of the 40-plus stores planned to be built is Grippo’s location in Westchester County.
Grippo said Harrison is an option for Westchester’s first MOOYAH along with Rye and Mamaroneck. He said he’s looking for an area with heavy traffic and demographics rich with families and students.
The goal for Grippo is to open the first of six stores by fall this year. Once the first Westchester County store is up and running, he said he will research other areas in Westchester and Fairfield counties to add another five locations, which he hopes to have completed by 2017.
“I’m going to have six stores. If I find six locations in Westchester, I’ll build all six here. I might go three [in Westchester] and three [in Fairfield],” Grippo said.
Grippo will be the owner and operator of each of the stores he opens, which he bought for a price he couldn’t disclose. He will be tasked with building and operating each of his stores.
“I always had an entrepreneurial spirit and wanted to run my own business,” Grippo said. “And I loved the better burger market. I did some research and came across MOOYAH. I loved the family-oriented atmosphere and how everything is made fresh.