TaMolly's opens fast-casual spinoff

<!--paging_filter--><p>The long-established regional TaMolly's Fresh Mex Grill LLC has opened a new fast-casual version of the full-service concept in Plano, Texas, modernizing the concept for a more fast-paced urban market.</p>
<p>TaMolly&rsquo;s, with 11 full-service units in Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas, debuted the new Chiladas Fresh Mex Grill last week in a suburban lifestyle mall.</p>
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<p>&ldquo;This takes what&rsquo;s really great about TaMolly&rsquo;s, which is more of a traditional-style Tex-Mex food, and gives a more nuanced, updated spin to it,&rdquo; said Night Keyes, chief executive parent company Williamson Family Investments of Texarkana, Texas. &ldquo;The fast-casual platform is really reflective of how people live now.&rdquo; The company expects to have four or five units in the Dallas-area market over the next year, he added.</p>
<p>The new Chiladas unit covers 2,500 square feet, compared to the 7,000 to 9,000 square feet in a typical full-service TaMolly&rsquo;s, Keyes said. TaMolly&rsquo;s on average have about 240 seats, and Chilada&rsquo;s offers about a third of that. Keyes said a planned patio will add another 1,200 square feet of seating.</p>
<p class="rtecenter"><img vspace="4" hspace="4" align="middle" alt="Chiladas team" src="http://preview.insidepenton.com/nrn/images/ChiladasTeam%20Oct2012.jpg" /></p>
<p>The Chiladas evolution of the 27-year-old TaMolly&rsquo;s concept better fits with the direction diners are going, Keyes said. &ldquo;We realized we needed a different menu here to really speak to the people are looking for this type of food in the fast-casual platform,&rdquo; Keyes said.</p>
<p>Chiladas has positioned itself to be distinguished from popular line-burrito concepts like Chipotle and Qdoba by offering prepared plates. &ldquo;We think our customers will want a little more of the full-service restaurant experience,&rdquo; Keyes said. &ldquo;These are items put together carefully and thoughtfully so people can enjoy it.&rdquo;</p>
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<p class="rteleft"><em>Continued from page 1</em></p>
<p>The new concept is aimed at higher-income suburban working diners with children, who seek quality and time savings, according to Keyes. &ldquo;We expect they are going to be a little bit picky. I think we do well with price, but we&rsquo;re looking at the quality of the food,&rdquo; he said.</p>
<p>The Chiladas team has been working on the menu for about two years to perfect the recipes, Keyes said. Techniques and recipe preparations between Chiladas and TaMolly&rsquo;s are similar, but the salsa is the only same item between the two concepts, said, Chris King, chef for Chiladas.</p>
<p>Three hand-rolled enchiladas (in beef brisket, pork carnitas, chicken or cheese) with a choice of three sauces (verde, queso or sour cream) and a choice of side dish are $6.99. Three tacos are also $6.99. Salads and quesadillas are $7.99. Chiladas also offers beers and margaritas, and a catering menu for groups of 12 or more at per-person rates.</p>
<p>Check averages are expected to be slightly higher at Chiladas than at TaMolly&rsquo;s, Keyes said.</p>
<p>A typical TaMolly&rsquo;s has 50 menu items and Chiladas has about 12, or a quarter of the parent menu, said Travis Strate, operations manager for the Chiladas concept. &ldquo;We wanted to keep the category as Tex-Mex fare, but we took the ingredients to a higher level,&rdquo; he said, citing pork and beef brisket that are slow-roasted for 15 hours.</p>
<p>Keyes added that Chiladas emphasizes the sources of its ingredients. &ldquo;We spent a lot of time sourcing our ingredients,&rdquo; he said. The organic blue corn tortilla chips, for example, come from a single family-owned farm in South Dakota. &ldquo;We work with vendors we develop relationships with,&rdquo; he said. Meats are trimmed and marinated in house, he added.</p>
<p>Contact Ron Ruggless at <a href="mailto:ronald.ruggless@penton.com">ronald.ruggless@penton.com</a>.<br />
Follow him on Twitter: <a href="http://twitter.com/RonRuggless">@RonRuggless</a></p>

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