Is Mooyah Burger a Mooby's Knockoff?

Mooyah Burger on Bay Area Boulevard is another contestant in Houston's gourmet burger beauty pageant. The chain touts "100% fresh lean American beef (never frozen, no additive, fillers or preservatives)." But if you ask me, the meat at Mooyah burger is too lean. Though cooked to medium, my burger wasn't juicy enough. My tablemate also found a chunk of gristle in his burger patty. The regular order here is a double patty burger made with two 3.25 ounce patties. I went for a cheeseburger made with Swiss--they went crazy with the cheese. But I loved the hand-cut fries.

Was the Mooyah name inspired by Mooby's, Silent Bob's favorite burger joint? No one is quite sure. We got "No Comment" from the Complex Corporation.

Mooyah's red and white tile décor, the potato sacks stacked on the floor, and the double meat regular burger comprised of two 3.25 ounce patties felt like a 5 Guys Burgers and Fries knockoff. But food writers in the chain's hometown of Dallas claim that Mooyah is an In-N-Out knockoff. I wonder if that's because they haven't been to the 5 Guys up there, or if they consider 5 Guys an In-N-Out knockoff also.

Thing is, the In-N-Out concept isn't all that unique-- a brightly lit antiseptic décor, a pared down menu of nothing but burgers and fries, and thin 2-ounce, never-been-frozen meat patties which can be ordered in doubles and triples. With their much larger patties, Mooyah and 5 Guys don't seem so much like In-N-Out knockoffs here in Houston.

Maybe that's because we already have closer In-N-Out knock offs like Tornado Burger that serve smaller 3 ounce patties. (That's a photo of the double double Tornado Burger on the right.) It should also be noted that Tornado eventually departed from the concept when they added Philly cheesesteaks to the menu.

Alice Laussade at our sister paper, the Dallas Observer, wasn't very keen on the Mooyah Burger name. She wrote: "The idiot who named this place really bombed. I wish I'd seen the list he picked from ("OK, so the top four are Dead Cow Meat Huzzah, Fat Fuck Burger Woohoo, Applebee's and Mooyah"). Or at least I wish I could have been there for that moment when his crappy friends (they'd have to be crappy friends to not put up the "You're an ass hat" flag at this point) smiled in his face and said nothing when he told them that he was naming his burger place Mooyah. Mooyah sounds like an STD you get from raping one of the old chicks in the ya-ya sisterhood. It sounds like something that you've got on your face. "There's Mooyah in your eyebrow." And mostly, it sounds like "booyah," which is a word that I really pray does not find its way back into plaid Polo shorts-wearing, Xanax-popping nutbag vocabulary. Oh, and the fries sucked..."

I completely disagree with Alice about the fries.

-Robb Walsh

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Robb Walsh
Contact: Robb Walsh