Friday, May 23, 2008

*** CLOSED *** Novrozsky's ~ Keller, Texas

Novrozsky's is a classic example of a Regional chain that feels like a Corporate chain. Based in Beaumont, TX, they have 10 locations. 7 are in southeast Texas and another couple in southwest Louisiana. The odd store out is the one here in NE Tarrant, located in Keller. One look at their website tells me that this Keller location is the beginning of a grander ambition. Many of the original stores look local and regional. So much so, that I feel I should visit one separate to this review.

Though I've designated Novrozsky's as a hamburger place, as does the chain itself, it really fits the "eclectic" category better. And that's one of the problems I have with it: They really don't have a distinctive or specialty menu at all. It tries to be all things to all people, which is never a good idea. They have salads, baked potatoes, fish, chicken, healthy choices, appetizers, and of course burgers. They do not at all play to their home grounds of Beaumont. Sure they pay lip service with a couple of Po-Boy sandwiches, but it seems like a throw in, rather than a feature. They don't appear to have a "signature" dish. They do have a buffalo burger, which I've had at least once (it's good), and that's about the only item one doesn't find in most restaurants of this type.

According to my notes this visit was my 4th, and I hardly remember the last 3 (they opened sometime in 2004/05). I've tried something different each time, and never walked away disappointed. Nor have I walked away completely satisfied. That's exactly how I feel when eating at a national chain. This time I tried their cheeseburger, since it's part of their original namesake. It is a good cheeseburger, but it doesn't stack up against the hearty competition of our area like Johnny B's, Kincaid's or Chapps.

Perhaps my biggest complaint with Novrozsky's is they have no sense of place. The restaurant is quite nice actually, a large, comfortable and clean space with beer signs and old souvenirs decorating the walls - with 4 flat screen TVs going on similar to a sports bar. Perfect for a university setting, or maybe a downtown location, or a nice shopping area. In those type of areas, I could easily see walking in for a couple of brews, grabbing some appetizers or a cheeseburger while catching parts of a game. Except Keller is none of the above. It is Soccer Mom suburbia, where the employment is elsewhere in DFW. There are large open spaces that require auto transportation to get anywhere. There is no university within miles. And it's not an ideal place for families and certainly not the appropriate setting as a high school hangout (though they try anyway with the video games). They should, like we mentioned in the Johnny B's thread, play to the local high school crowd. They can keep selling beer to the adults, but it doesn't have to look like a tavern. Not to say that a sports bar isn't a bad idea - as there are a couple of successful sports bars in Keller alone. But Novrozsky's doesn't look or feel like that either.

Personally I can't see how this place stays in business. I've never seen it close to crowded, and it must cost a fortune to lease in such a nice, newer space. Novrozsky's anchors a newish strip mall off of Keller Parkway, and shares space with many known chains like Popeye's, Sonic and Dickey's. If you are the owner of this store you may want to take my suggestions above to heart.

Website: http://www.novrozskys.com/

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