Commack residents were greeted by a "Welcome to Moe's" as they checked out the town's newest restaurant Thursday afternoon.
Moe's Southwest Grill opened its Commack restaurant at 60 Veterans Highway, in the Target shopping center, on April 12. The quick-casual restaurant is known for its fresh made-to-order burritos and southwestern menu.
Owner Mike Walsh, of Port Washington, said this the franchise's first location in Suffolk County and his seventh store opening over the last 8 years. He said the plans to open Moe's in Commack has been in the works for over a year.
"The landlord of the shopping center actually approached us about coming to the space," Walsh said.
Moe's bright red, yellow and green colors make it stand out from its surrounding storefronts. Step inside, you'll be greated with a "Welcome to Moe's" from staff over the sound of rock 'n' roll music that pays homage to late musicians including The Beatles, Jimmy Hendrix, The Monkees and more.
"Moe's is a perfect fit for the Commack community. The laid-back atmosphere at Moe's will be welcoming to such a friendly community. Not only do we serve a wide variety of delicious fresh food options, but we make sure our store is fun and full of energy," Walsh said.
The Commack location is the first one that Walsh said he has opened inside a large shopping center, surrounded by names like Target and Chase Bank. He hopes it will help bring customers in the door.
When customers come in, they be able to watch one of Moe's approximately 20 new employees make their food in front of them. Start building a burrito or taco by choosing your choice of meat, wrap or shell, then choice of 20 toppings including rice, lettuce, grilled mushrooms, jalapenos, pico de gallo or Moe's southwestern slaw.
"I fell in love with the concept about 10 years ago. I was big into music myself and even followed the Grateful Dead around for a bit," Walsh said. " I love the food and it's different from everyone else."
Another feature of the store is that is has Coca-Cola's new Freestyle soda found that allows customers to select one of more than 100 beverages from water and sports drinks to soda.
The new store has competitors in the local area including Chipotle, which opened a Hauppauge location on Motor Parkway in August 2011, and Green Cactus Grill. Local residents also know there's on Commack Road.
Moe's Southwest Grill is based in Atlanta, GA, has more than 440 locations in 33 states. It was the Gold Award winner of the 2008 Consumer's Choice in Chain awards.
Moe's will be open on Sunday to Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Thursday to Saturday, 11 a.m - 10 p.m.