Family dining restaurant to open in Sycamore Commons

Matthews – Mint Hill Weekly

Courtney Schultz/MMHW photo

MATTHEWS – John Ficara decided to open MOOYAH Burgers, Fries and Shakes in Sycamore Commons because he wanted to operate a business that focuses on family.

“I want this to be a family-friendly, community-focused restaurant … it’s all about the people,” Ficara said.

Ficara, his wife, Robin, and their two children moved to the Brookhaven subdivision in Weddington two years ago, leaving his position as vice president of finance at Orleans Homebuilders in Virginia, to open the first MOOYAH in the Southeast.

Ficara said he chose Matthews because he was familiar with south Charlotte and Union County. He also said it was important to lay roots close to his business, and his family was satisfied with Weddington’s school ratings.

“We want to invest in the local community,” he said. “I want my business to be close to my family; my wife and daughter will work here, as well.”

MOOYAH is a fast food, family-dining restaurant that offers a simple menu with fresh ingredients, according to Ardag Tachian, MOOYAH director of development. The menu includes fresh – never frozen – beef burgers, Jennie O’ turkey burgers, Morningstar black bean burgers, 100-percent ice cream milkshakes, fries and salads. The burgers are build-your-own, with a list of nine vegetables and 11 sauces that can be added to any order for no additional charge.

Ficara said what makes MOOYAH stand out is its customer service.

“Guests’ experience is key; we focus on getting out in the dining room and (connecting with) everyone,” he said.

“The atmosphere is vibrant and colorful, and we are attentive to our guests: greeting them upon entrance, bringing parents highchairs and bringing customers their food and refilling their drinks,” Tachian said of the restaurant’s customer service.

A signature Moodle Doodle chalkboard – an eight-foot-by-six-foot chalkboard – encourages guests to exercise their creativity, Tachian added.

“Children, adults and teens love it; they draw pictures of burgers and shakes. High school students come in after games and write messages in support of their athletic teams,” he said. “People love to take photos and share it on social media, and we take some of those to share on the company’s social media, as well.”

MOOYAH will open on Monday, Feb. 23, at 2233 Matthews Township Pkwy. in the Sycamore Commons shopping center. The 2,600-square-foot restaurant seats 72 customers inside, and 20 additional customers outside under umbrellas.

Ficara said he hopes to host a grand opening in the future.

“It all depends how busy we are … right now we are focused on getting the staff trained and meeting customer service needs,” he said.

Ficara said he’s optimistic about the brand’s growth in the greater Charlotte area, adding he hopes to scout out another location for a second area restaurant once the Sycamore Commons site opens. Ficara, also MOOYAH’s area developer, is looking for more interested franchisees to expand the brand.

MOOYAH opened its first restaurant in Plano, Texas, in 2007. Founder Rich Hicks wanted to enter the “better burgers business with a family-centric version,” according to Tachien. There are currently 80 restaurants in the U.S. with one also in Mexico City, Mexico.

Matthews is the first location in the Southeast; a second Southeast location is planned to open in Miami, Florida, this spring.

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