a bit of history
The story goes like this...centuries ago in the
province of Mongolia, hunting parties and warriors would
prepare fruits, herbs, slivers of meat, cut with the
sword edge, together with a special combination of
vegetables, incense, spices and sauces, and grill their
meals on upturned shields. The meat was carved from the
animals killed during the day's hunt. They piled their
food high upon their war shields, and cooked them over
large bonfires on a hot griddle. This stir fry style
feast, became a natural way of eating from day to day.
This tradition food preparation is called Mongolian barbecue and is followed today by restaurants that prepare food using solid iron griddle that is as large as 3 feet in diameter and can cook at temperatures as high as 300 degrees.
Shon Smith opened the Wok About Mongolian Grill Barbecue at 110 N. Wenatchee Ave., Wenatchee in 1997, the concept was new to the area. "Other Mongolian Grills, in general have a life span of three to five years," he said. "Then they close up and move. We're still here, but we've had to continually change and adapt."
The need to adapt also presented an opportunity to experiment, to see what might work. And that, he said, has helped in the long-run. His latest innovation, introduced last June, was a move from charging by bowl size to charging by the ounce. "It was something I had seen in Whistler seven or eight years ago," he said. "It made sense to me."
The result is a more direct connection between price and what the customers are getting, he said. With today's focus on healthy eating, and people being aware of what they're eating, it's a more direct approach. He soon discovered it also eliminates squabbling about how much will fit in certain size bowl. A good percentage of his customers are on the two-meal plan, filling their bowls to the brim and saving half for later.
The timing of the change was also driven by the opportunity to expand to a new location - in Leavenworth. He wanted to get the new system tested and in place before the restaurant opened last spring.
The restaurant is indeed open and housed on the second floor of Turmplatz, which is between Highway 2 and Front Street, next to the Motteler Building. The space has patios and balconies, with NanaWalls and roll up doors to allow outdoor dining during the summer. The interior decor has hardwood and concrete, more of an industrial look than the Wenatchee space.
"We'd been thinking about a second location for seven or eight years," Smith said. "We needed a place close enough to home, but far enough away not to complete with the Wenatchee location." "Leavenworth is a destination, so it will give us some exposure," he said. Maybe people will see the idea and want to take it to their hometown.
Now you too can enjoy the "Mongolian Grill" experience in two locations to serve you. Why not bring your appetite and fill your bowl and enjoy!
come and enjoy the tradition
Some excerpts courtesy of NCWBusiness.com