"There were a couple of instances where orders were just not right, and we will try to get those fixed. For a first day in business, things overall went quite well." – Christian Ziebarth
As a follow up to our news of the Naugles relaunch, we joined a select group of fans for a private Naugles opening over the weekend. Christian Ziebarth knew not to inform the free world of this, using the opportunity to work out any kinks with an understanding audience. Here is what we learned.
1. How did it go?
Initially, there were a couple of (technical) glitches that occurred, but feedback was positive. The kitchen did go through 50 pounds of beef in a little less than six hours, and ran out of the cheese they thought would be a sufficient supply. In addition, Naugles also ran out of tortillas, which Christian then went and got more of.
Fueled by the enthusiasm of their fans, Christian made sure to thank everyone who helped in small and big ways. They anticipate their soft opening phase to last anywhere between a week and a month. Hours will vary day-to-day (based on inventory), and are somewhere between 11 a.m. and 9 p.m. Let's put it this way: Christian went to the local restaurant supply store four times Tuesday before calling it a day. An old Naugles photo posted online caused readers to believe Fountain Valley is a 24-hour drive-thru. It's neither 24/7 nor drive-thru, but they aspire to be open for business every day.
2. Who visited?
Many parents brought their kids to experience Naugles for the first time. Even the granddaughter of Dick Naugle made it out. At least one Del Taco employee was present. Ziebarth let them know they are perfectly welcome, and that he frequents Del Taco several times a month.
3. How much is it?
Christian mentioned that all prices are tax-inclusive, eliminating some of the guess work. A hand-written menu made slight modifications between day one and Tuesday.
For instance, the cheese burrito ($2.50) was a frequent request, but nailing down the process of a seemingly simple item isn't easy. Hardcore fans know not to confuse it with a quesadilla. Sauce, cheese and tortilla are melded together just right for a uniquely special taste. Sides of chips and a taco salad cup were not listed originally, but were offered over the weekend.
In the meantime, only a small selection of core items will be offered. Any additional changes will be minor– like the possible addition of dessert.
4. What's up with the beans?
Per Ziebarth, there is no lard in the beans, "Our beans are cooked in-house from dried whole pinto beans. Our chef has a great method for cooking beans."
Our favorite bite of the day (we split six items with a Naugles fan) was a combo cup. A simple Styrofoam container with cheese, beef and beans hit the spot. A drizzle of original sauce made it even better.
5. How can you help out?
While some folks gave words of support, others demanded additional operations in their hometown. As with most projects, it's a question of cashflow. And if you didn't already know, he's got a site for that. If you've got deep pockets, you can also franchise by emailing email@example.com. No matter how you show support, it'll be appreciated.
Naugles is located at 18471 Mt. Langley, Suite M in Fountain Valley.