Stacked for Total Control

Stacked is for the control freak in all of us.

Priced a notch below the gaggle of gastro-pubs that have opened in recent months, but with a foodie bent that surpasses your average fast-food joint, Stacked opens today in the lifestyle wing of Torrance’s Del Amo Fashion Center.

Created by the team behind BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse, Stacked offers a customized menu of burgers, pizzas, salads and sausages that customers order using iPads sitting on every table.

“It’s not about the iPad, it’s about the experience it facilitates,” said co-founder Paul Motenko. “We wanted to do something very simple and very focused … but with tremendous choice within that narrow focus.”

And, indeed, customers will find themselves spoiled for choice as they drag and drop a dizzying number of combinations and visually build their meal.

Want a burger?

There are six types of buns, including whole wheat and gluten-free.

There are seven types of patties including salmon, veggie, pulled pork and Angus beef.

Customers can choose among three types of lettuce, seven cheeses, 17 toppings, a dozen sauces and nine condiments including peanut butter.

And there’s also the vast number of toppings available for pizzas, salads, the eight different sausages or the half-dozen kinds of fries and chips.

Those

paralyzed with options can order off the menu, which includes a Mac `n’ Cheese pizza and cookie/ice cream desserts.

In terms of drinks, Stacked offers 17 wines, two dozen sodas and teas and a panoply of 20 beers that include such craft brews as Stone Levitation Ale and Mad River Steelhead IPA.

“You can have the order in the kitchen within 10 seconds,” Motenko said. “But it’s not about speed, it’s control.

“It can be a quick experience, it can be a leisurely experience – it’s up to you to control it,” he added. “If you really do this well, you can be out of here in 20 minutes – but you can take as long you want.”

Not surprisingly, Motenko is a self-described “control freak” who created the first in what’s intended to be a chain of eateries in response to the frustration he felt in full-service restaurants.

After resigning from BJ’s, he spent 2MD+,%30,%55,%701/MD-,%0,%55,%702 years crisscrossing the country sampling the best burgers and pizzas the nation had to offer.

The result is Stacked, a 160-seat, 6,300-square-foot restaurant with the spare, industrial gastro-pub vibe, but without the prices that come from serving gourmet food.

With the average check around $10 a head, the place is designed to fill the gastronomic void between fast food and gastro-pubs.

Predictably, there’s a social networking element, too.

Those who create a culinary masterpiece can post it on Facebook and their friends can order it, too. Customers who become Stacked members – it’s free to join – can store favorite menu combinations for the next visit.

“It’s amazing,” said Molly Wilder of Santa Monica, who was sharing a “Get Your Greek On” pizza customized with Roma tomatoes and artichoke hearts with a friend at the recent soft opening. “(The iPad ordering) is going to be great entertainment for families.”

Torrance’s demographics prompted today’s noon opening of the first Stacked at the mall.

It’s just down the elevator from the 18-screen multiplex, one of the nation’s busiest cinemas, to tap into the tech- savvy teenage demographic. And it’s surrounded by dense offices filled with time-challenged workers who will dash in for a quick lunch.

Two other locations will open later this year in Cerritos and San Diego.

And yes, there are paper menus for those intimidated by technology, while servers will take orders in person, too.

To ensure a non-greasy iPad on every table – and bar stool – after guests have finished their meal, servers wipe down the sturdy units equipped with proprietary software (there’s no playing Angry Birds at the table).

“We really believe we’re going to see a very broad demographic,” Motenko said. “Young people get it immediately, but everyone seems to appreciate what the technology can do for them.”

Especially control freaks.

nick.green@dailybreeze.com

May 31st, 2011 | Posted in Fashion
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