The Rex

I took a drive out to the Rex with my friend who is involved with the brainchild behind this, her brother.  I was excited to see what they were doing.  I am a big believer in the fast casual restaurant from the local level to the chain.  There are more up and coming new players in this space and although real estate and marketshare is owned by the old school players such as McDonalds and Taco Bell, I do believe that they will either buy up these new places or just lose marketshare.  People are looking for a change particularly the higher end customer.  After all, who doesn’t love a good burger, fries and a shake?

The Rex is located in Mineola which is smack-dab in the middle of a residential and commercial area.  Everyone drives so 5-10 minutes from each of those areas is a smart location.  It is also located in a strip mall that happens to have other restaurants that drive traffic so another smart move.

The attention to detail is obvious.  Comfortable booths.  Clean crisp look.  Ordering counter that then delivers to your table.  Three TV’s above the bar that show different things depending on the time of the day.  Beer, wine and cocktails.  Simple easy menu.  I tried everything.

The lobster roll is simple, chunky and fresh.  Just a light bit of mayonnaise to hold the lobster together served inside a soft potato bun that is just a tad crispy on the outside.

The fried chicken sandwich comes regular or spicy.  I opted for the spicy.  Large white boneless chicken breast that is deep fried, super crispy and served with lettuce, pickles and their own house made sauce.

The burger is similar to the In and Out burger but much cleaner.  Two patty Niman-Ranch beef served medium-rare on a toasted potato bun with lettuce, tomatoes and the house made sauce.  An excellent burger.  I tried everything but this I kept going back to.

The french fries are crispy and you can’t stop eating them.  They have a handful of dipping sauces which are all interesting but at the end of the day I am all about good old Heinz ketchup which they have.

The shakes are killer.  Insanely thick topped with fresh whipped cream using Haagan-Daaz ice cream.  This is not a lo-cal addition but oh so good.

I admit I didn’t even try the salads because it is all about these 3 sandwiches.  They will continue to grow the business here and then if you are lucky they will take it on the road but don’t look for this if you live in the city.  This is a new kind of local restaurant to serve the under-served suburban areas outside of major Metropolitan cities that are reading about the new places that are opening but have yet to show up at their local strip mall.  Smart business…and delish.

Comments (Archived):

  1. AMT Editorial Staff

    Agree about the segment — that the “traditionals” have much to fear. Look at the expansion of salad joints like Sweet Green, Tender Greens, Urban Plates…Really tasty, high quality food that doesn’t feel/taste manufactured. Now, I don’t frequent In N Out, but I know many will say this place will last…at least they innovate with their “off menu” items. This sort of “fun” generates community and loyalty — key traits for survival.

    1. Gotham Gal

      all the places you list are really good and you don’t feel like you are eating unhealthy which is key.

  2. JLM

    .That is a great looking lobster roll and at $19.95/each is a good price for a typically pricey luxury feed.Nobody goes to a McDonald’s for atmosphere. In fact, the takeout business is probably as important as the sit down restaurant. McDonald’s is attacking the physical plant and their newest physical plant is quite nice; still, it is not a destination. Revenue driven by proximity to high traffic (astride the Interstates) is enormous.Places like this, the Rex, are really destinations and when presented in surroundings with a high “cross-shopping index” (the basis by which tenant mix is designed in an artful shopping center by professional retail developers), they can be wildly successful. Moreso if they become the “neighborhood joint.”Nobody, thus far, has been able to scale these type of facilities (Red Robin, Shake Shack maybe) on a national basis and there are no secrets to their menu or packaging thus driving the “copycat” threat directly and powerfully.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  3. LE

    Comfortable booths.Interesting fact fwiw. Not sure if this is still true since I haven’t been to a McDonalds (even to use the restroom) in a long time but one of the design decisions at McDonalds was making it uncomfortable for people to linger and stay for a long time. Or at least not any longer than was needed to eat a meal. That way more seat turns could be had. It worked at that price point.

  4. SFG

    The burger and that yummy shake make me drool! I AM there the next time I’m back east!

  5. jason wright

    Wow, the anti resolution January lifestyle. I don’t know if I would last too long on meals like this. Do you eat it or only photograph it?

    1. Gotham Gal

      Both. ?

      1. pointsnfigures

        I think if I ate here often enough, I would outgrow my profile pic.

        1. Gotham Gal

          That’s hilarious

  6. pointsnfigures

    this place looks awesome