Sam Wall
editor@ourvalley.org

Moe’s Southwest Grill will soon be opening across from the Radford University Campus and will be giving its first 50 customers a free burrito every week for a year.

The restaurant, which offers a variety of “southwestern” options like burritos, tacos and nachos, will open to the public at 11 a.m. Thursday, and is located at 314 Tyler Avenue next to Subway.

The chain’s Radford location franchisee is Mickey Baker of Bristol Tennessee. Baker is part owner of another Moe’s in Bristol as well as 19 Subways in Tennessee. He said that being the sole proprietor of his first business is nerve-racking.

“I’m excited and scared to death at the same time,” Baker said.

He said that he had been looking to open his own franchise for sometime when his real-estate agent contacted him last spring about a location he might be interested in.

Baker said that he had never been to Radford before checking out the Tyler Avenue location, but said that once he saw the city and the property’s proximity to campus, he was confident that it was the right fit. The plans were finalized in early June.

The new Tex-Mex joint already has just over 30 employees, and plans to hire at least 10 more in the next few weeks. Baker said that his employees are a mix of RU students as well year-round city residents.

There will be an invitation-only VIP opening on Wednesday that will give employees a chance to get some hands-on training as well as offer the community a chance to try the food for free.

Baker said that it will also double as a fundraiser where attendees are encouraged to give a small donation that will benefit Bobcat Backpack Program, an organization dedicated to providing food for needy children in Radford City Schools to take home every weekend during the school year.

He said that he and the owners of the Bristol location did something similar when it opened, raising over $2,000 for a local boy and girls club, and hopes that it will be a success again on Wednesday.

Baker said that he expects there to be a line of customers hoping to win the free burritos for a year well before the store opens. Those that win will have to download the Moe’s app where a voucher for a free burrito will be loaded to the phone weekly.

Moe’s Southwest Grill is based in Atlanta Georgia where it was founded in 2000. The chain has over 650 locations nationwide. It will be open Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. For more information, visit www.moes.com.

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