Moe’s Southwest Grill debuts in April

By Posted on Mar 16 2021 | By

High energy restaurant with south of the border vibes poised to please

When daffodils are blooming in Warrenton, look for a highly rated Mexican Tex Mex grill opening its doors. The eatery will be located at 95 Broadview Avenue, the site of the former Pizza Hut.

As each guest enters the restaurant, they are greeted with a chorus of “Welcome to Moe’s!” from the employees. Fun is the companion to tasty for this unique establishment noted for serving custom-designed platters with prompt and friendly service.

The operation will draw on a successful franchise founded 20 years ago in Atlanta. Today, Moe’s has some 700 independently owned restaurants, scattered mostly east of the Mississippi.

Frank and Carol Maresca are the owners of the Warrenton rendition. Frank Maresca, 51, is centered on day-to-day operations of their current four Moe’s restaurants; two in Richmond and one in Chantilly, and one in South Riding. Carol Maresca covers the backstory of the eatery.

They opened their Chantilly and South Riding franchises in 2006, with the Richmond locations following later. There are a total of 16 Moe’s locations in Northern Virginia.

The Marascas are not lifelong restaurateurs. His wife, Carol, 46, was an elementary school teacher, and he was in medical sales. “But we always had a desire to do something entrepreneurial. We just didn’t know exactly what.

“We were working in Atlanta in 2002. It’s also where the Moe’s franchise was founded. We fell in love with our first Moe’s Homewrecker Burrito. We spent two years researching the brand and then jumped in with both feet,” said Frank Maresca.

The timing was incentivized by a newborn with another baby on the way. “There was no opportunity for failure. It was simply, ‘make it work!’” said Maresca laughing.

Frank Maresca underscores that with the opening of their fifth restaurant their goal is not to become too big. “One of the things we like is having that local feel in each of our Moe’s. When I walk into our restaurants, I know everybody. Not just the managers. I know the names of every employee.”

As the hungry walk through the doors of Moe’s and hear the welcoming greeting, they fall in line, literally, to choose their entrée and then have their selections customized with a choice of 20 fresh ingredients.

The corporate website sums up the fun and whimsical approach to its food: “From the second you walk into a Moe’s, you’ll notice there’s something different. You feel welcomed. Ever since our employees at the first location in Atlanta, Georgia in the year 2000 shouted “Welcome to Moe’s!” –which probably scared the first guests–the phrase has embodied our entire culture. Everybody is welcome at Moe’s. Except, of course, fugitives.”

The foundation of the meals is natural chicken, grass-fed steak, or organic tofu. These are offered in burritos, quesadillas, tacos, nachos, burrito bowls, and salads.

“One of the most popular items is our world-famous queso. It’s by far the best queso on the planet. If you haven’t had it, it likely will be a life-changing experience,” Maresca proudly emphasizes. “Customers call it our liquid gold.”

The company characterizes its full lineup as a “souped-up version of the taco bar.” As diners moved down the serving line, staff adds toppings as directed. Once completed, the meal, which includes chips, is further enhanced with a stop at the free, freshly made salsa bar.

A self-serve soft drink machine and southern sweet tea wrap things up before diner’s head to their seat or vehicle.

Customers can also order ahead for curbside pickup or through the drive-thru window.

Entrees are in the $8 range.

“Last summer, I had no intention of expanding during a pandemic. Zero. It wasn’t even on my radar,” Maresca said. “But when the opportunity in Warrenton came along to have a free-standing Moe’s, on Broadview Avenue, with a drive-thru window, we jumped on it. I know how great Warrenton is and how great this market is.”

To make all this happen, Maresca will be hiring about 30 employees. For those interested, he asks that they drop by the restaurant for now. A website is being built with a new hire application feature.

The restaurant will be open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. There will be outside patio dining for up to 24 people in the front of the building. The inside dining room will hold 60.

“The location is great, and the drive-thru option will be fantastic. We look forward to doing what we’ve done in our other locations, becoming part of the community. We love working with schools, churches, youth sports teams.

“We are very excited to be coming into Warrenton,” Maresca said.


Published in a March 2021 edition of the Fauquier Times.

Categories : HAGARTY TALES