ST. GEORGE — The management of a new restaurant coming to the corner of St. George Boulevard and University Avenue would like to hear menu item ideas from Southern Utahns.
Morty’s Cafe, a fast-casual restaurant specializing in burgers, sandwiches, shakes, fries and salads, will be opening this summer in the building that previously housed Maverik – Adventure’s First Stop – convenience store, 702 E. St. George Blvd.
The cafe’s co-founder, Preston Parker, and other restaurant management staff set up in front of the soon-to-be-renovated building Friday evening to meet the community and talk about plans for the restaurant.
Parker and co-founder Ty Mortensen started Morty’s Cafe in Logan, launching in September 2014 at a store near the Utah State University campus.
“It’s been really successful,” Parker said of the Logan location. “The community’s really embraced what we are – what we stand for.
“And here we are, 3 ½ years later, and we’ve got a location here in St. George that is perfect for what we’re looking for – downtown, hip, fast-casual – two blocks away from Dixie State University.”
The restaurant was named for Mortensen’s high school nickname after he pitched the restaurant idea to Parker five years ago.
Watch video in the media player top of this report.
“Something that was important to Ty and me from the beginning is to be integrated and involved in the community,” Parker said.
Since the original store’s opening in Logan, the restaurant has partnered with nonprofits, service groups, family-oriented organizations and art programs with cross-promotions and sponsorship opportunities.
“It’s really a mindset of being integrated in the community so that rising tides lift all ships,” Parker said. “We all benefit from working together in something we believe in.”
They plan to carry that attitude forward from the St. George location, and Friday’s meet-and-greet was the first step toward that goal.
Morty’s Cafe management is also looking for suggestions for its St. George menu, which already includes uniquely crafted burgers and sandwiches, as well as healthy options, such as quinoa salads.
There are two ways the cafe invites the public to contribute ideas.
“One is that we recognize that (the customer base of) any location will have a different palate, something they want here that another location might not want,” Parker said. “So, in that regard we listen to the community. ‘Are there any menu items that you would be interested in having?’”
Community input at the Logan location led to Morty’s Cafe offering a Reuben sandwich, featuring pastrami, sauerkraut, provolone, Swiss cheese and house-made Russian dressing on old-style Rye bread.
“The second way is a partnership with early supporters,” Parker said.
A GoFundMe page has been set up for the St. George location of Morty’s Cafe, offering perks for early supporters starting at the $5 level, with one support level even allowing for a custom-made sandwich to be featured on the menu.
“If you’re at the $2,500 level, you can have a menu item named after you – anything within reason,” Parker said. “We’ll work with you and put a menu item together – a sandwich, a burger – and then we’ll name it after whatever you want it to be named.”
Regardless of the donation amount, Morty’s Cafe will offer reward opportunities for early supporters.
“We did this in our first location and it worked out really well,” Parker said. “It’s our way of saying thank you for being an early supporter.”
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Written by JOSEPH WITHAM, St. George News.
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