Moe’s Southwest Grill offers good food and good times in Bangor Township

During college, Cody Bell says he was a frequent guest at the Qdoba in Saginaw and longed to find similar food back home in Bay City.

Unfortunately, Bell was told his hometown didn’t have the population to support his favorite restaurant. But Bell didn’t give up. Instead, he started looking for something to fill the void and found Moe’s Southwest Grill.

Bell opened Moe’s Southwest Grill at 906 N. Euclid Ave. on April 21. The counter-serve chain offers Southwestern fare.

“I looked around at franchises and found Moe’s,” says Bell, who grew up around the franchise business. His grandfather and his dad owned the Kentucky Fried Chicken franchises in the Tri-Cities for over five and a half decades.

Bell didn’t want to follow in their chicken footsteps. Instead, he wanted something akin to Qdoba. He found the food he wanted at Moe’s, but he loved more than just the food at the franchise.

Bell says Moe’s encourages interactions between staff and customers, includes free chips and salsa with every order, and has a great work culture.

“To make it fun, there is music playing constantly throughout the entire restaurant,” he adds, and not just in the dining room. Music also fills the prep area and bathrooms.

“We also yell ‘Welcome to Moe’s!’ when anyone comes through the door,” to set the tone for the interaction. “Some people smile, some laugh, some get a little scared, and some people scream back at us, so it’s fun.”

Bell says he didn’t have any problem filling 35 jobs at the restaurant.

“I had 170 applicants and completed over 140 interviews,” he says. “I don’t know if it’s because it’s a new brand, but all of our employees here are trying to make it a culture here that is fun and exciting. The last thing I want is to have my employees dread going to work.”

A native of Bangor Township, Bell graduated from John Glenn High School.

“I have a lot of support from teachers and staff at the school,” he says. “I like to think I make them proud.”

At 24 years old, the memories of high school aren’t that far away, but Bell says he has the respect of his employees.

“Most of my employees are between the ages of 20 and 30, and that helps them relate to me. While I am still the boss, I know they have stuff going on in their lives, but it’s all about respecting them, and they respect me.”

Bell says he also has a lot of support from other local business owners, and the community.

“Some people don’t necessarily thing it’s possible that I’m doing this,” he says, but “there are other businesses in the (Bay Area) Chamber (of Commerce) who have helped me out.”

Bell says Matt Nemode of Mode’s Tavern and Josh Sharrow from Excited Goat Coffee Company have been two of his biggest allies. “Those type of guys make me feel like part of the business community.”

Originally, he thought about building in Essexville, but Bell says he’s grateful to be where he is.

 “It’s been overwhelming to my staff, my family, and everybody. I can’t believe the outreach we’ve had from the community.

To learn more about Moe’s Southwest Grill, including online ordering and catering, check out its Facebook page.
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