Father/Son Team Open Mooyah Burger, Look For Fundraising Opportunities

Mayor Phil Kramer, center, cuts ribbon at Mooyah Burgers, Shakes and Fires Dec. 9, flanked by owners Daniel and John Bodnar, left to right. Looking on are Christina Gordon of PayChex, far left, and Alex Shedlock, branch manager of Unity Bank Somerset, far right.


A father and son team switched from doughnuts and coffee to burgers and shakes in opening the township’s newest restaurant, Mooyah Burgers, Shakes and Fries.

Located in the Crossroads at Somerset center at Elizabeth Avenue and Old New Brunswick Road, the new Franklin Mooyah is the fourth of the company’s franchises in the state, and the 101st in the country, said co-owner John Bodnar.

The restaurant held its formal grand opening Dec. 9, with a ribbon cutting by Mayor Phil Kramer.

The franchise is owned by Bodnar and his son, Daniel. The elder Bodnar is a 40-year veteran of the retail food industry, having owned a number of Dunkin’ Donuts franchises. Daniel Bodnar worked with him, and soon decided he wanted to branch out on his own.

Dad was only too happy to help.

“This is what he had investigated and what he wanted to do,” John Bodnar said of his son’s choice of franchises.

The two chose Franklin because of its potential, they said.

“We felt that the dynamics of what’s going on in town, the growth, it’s a town that you can see the vision of where they want to go, and  that this is the right place to be,” he said.

“This town is really starting to grow,” Dan Bodnar said. “When you drive around you can see there’s more people coming into the area, and to be part of a town that’s growing and becoming even more vibrant is exciting.”

Mooyah Burgers’ niche is its fresh ingredients, John Bodnar said. Meat is delivered twice weekly and is never frozen, he said. Produce is sourced locally when available and is also delivered fresh. Even the buns are baked on-site, he said.

“This looked like part of the new way people like to eat,” John Bodnar said. “Not just something frozen, or something pre-cooked, but something ready made for you when you came into the restaurant, at a reasonable price.”

Daniel Bodnar said he was also attracted to the company because of the opportunities it offered for franchisees to play an active role in its future.

“I enjoyed the (Dunkin’ Donuts) environment, but I wanted something a little more challenging that required a little more hands-on,” he said. “Dunkin’ is a very mature franchise, and this (Mooyah) is young, up and coming. With Dunkin’, you don’t really have a lot of say, they have their own ways, but here you have a chance to be a part of the growth and see what happens. Maybe your idea is a hit and maybe it’s not, but they want to hear it.”

The younger Bodnar said his business relationship with his father “is more of a mentorship. I just kind of draw on his knowledge a lot.”

Community service is high on the Bodnars’ list of priorities. The restaurant is hosting a “dine and donate” fundraising event on Dec. 11 for the St. Matthias School athletics program.

The store is also participating in the Grades4Life program with Franklin Middle School and Franklin High School, Daniel Bodnar said. Through the program, students earn points for good grades and volunteer work, and will then be able to redeem those points for food at Mooyah.

“I would love every weekend to have a fundraiser here,” Daniel Bodnar said. “There would be no downside in my mind.”


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