A double Mooyah burger with blue cheese and fries. Photo courtesy: Mooyah Burgers, Fries & Shakes
A double Mooyah burger with blue cheese and fries. Photo courtesy: Mooyah Burgers, Fries & Shakes

The fast-casual burger trend is showing little sign of slowing down. In the East Bay alone, small and mid-sized burger chains — Farm Burger, TrueBurger, Umami Burger, Smashburger and Habit Burger Grill, to name a few — have all opened in the last few years, replacing more traditional fast food burger joints like Oscar’s.

Now Texas-based burger brand Mooyah Burgers, Fries & Shakes has made plans to expand into Berkeley.

Mooyah’s Northern California locations currently include Walnut Creek, Rocklin, Los Gatos and Morgan Hill, and Loren Katzmann, a Mooyah development agent and Walnut Creek franchise owner, thinks that the region has lots of room for growth.

“I think just Alameda County alone can support eight to nine Mooyah Burgers,” she said. While she’s looking at growing into locations like Dublin, Pleasanton, Livermore and Hayward, Berkeley is getting top priority.

Loren Katzman in her Walnut Creek Mooyah Burger. Photo courtesy: Mooyah Burgers, Fries & Shakes

Mooyah’s menu is built around the “build-your-own” burger concept — toppings include everything from classic lettuce and tomato to fried onions, fresh avocado, and several different sauces.

“You’ll never get bored with Mooyah because you can always eat something different,” said Katzman. “People love that about the brand.”

In addition to 1/3 pound beef burgers, Mooyah offers turkey and veggie burgers, Hebrew National hot dogs, salads, milk shakes and a four-item kids menu. Each location also bakes its own white bread and whole wheat burger and hot dog buns in house. Gluten-free diners can order “iceburgers” wrapped in iceberg lettuce.

Katzman has owned her Walnut Creek Mooyah for a little over three years, and she says that the restaurant has been very successful. Because of the proximity to UC Berkeley, she believes that any Berkeley location will be “equally well-received, if not better. … It will appeal to college students who want something affordable and quick, with healthy menu options.”

Katzman is currently scouting locations and franchise partners in Alameda county. She has yet to find a location for a Berkeley Mooyah, but she said that she would like to open near campus in a location that has parking. “It will be hard to find, but I think we can do it,” she said. She hopes to open sometime in the next six to 12 months.

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Kate Williams

Kate Williams has been writing about food since 2009. After spending two years developing recipes for cookbooks at America’s Test Kitchen, she moved to Berkeley and began work as a freelance writer and...