HuHot Mongolian Barbecue, already with several locations in the Denver area, is launching its fast-casual concept, NuHu Mongolian Express, starting tomorrow at 11 a.m. in the Golden Triangle. With a menu of six signature bowls, three style of noodles, rice, a wide variety of fresh vegetables and eight sauces, chief operations officer Jeff Martin says the combinations possible are virtually unlimited. Throw in fresh-grilled roti, egg rolls and side salads and Martin believes NuHu is a perfect fit for the urban bustle of Broadway and the neighborhood's museum district.
"Selecting fresh vegetable and having them cooked right in front of you matches well with the fast-casual concept," Martin explains.
The company selected Denver as not only its base of operations (HuHot got its start in Montana) but as the recipient of the first NuHu. "Denver was an easy choice," Martin says, adding that the city is one of the nation's hotbeds for fast-casual growth.
He's confident that NuHu offers something a little different than the competition, though, primarily in that everything is fresh and raw until customers place their orders. The order counter is designed to give guests a view of their bowls being assembled and grilled before being presented steaming hot in about two minutes.
Sauces are designed so that they can be combined without resulting in clashing flavors and heat levels are marked on the menu from zereo to five flames. Gluten-free and vegetarian selections are also available and clearly marked.
Martin says growth plans are in the "grow smart" phase right now, meaning that the company plans to add locations slowly as the concept catches on, starting with Denver and moving concentrically outward. "Denver could easily support 11 or 12 NuHu locations," adds Martin.
Right now HuHot restaurants are 75 to 80 percent franchised, but Martin expects new NuHu locations to be primarily company-owned for the initial wave of expansion, although franchise opportunities will be available.
NuHu will be open in the Golden Triangle from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m daily.