By Richard Gorelick
The Baltimore Sun
12:17 PM EDT, June 21, 2013
Bang Bang Mongolian Grill is closed in Canton, but one of the partners in the franchise operation plans to reopen the location as an independent restaurant named Soyombo Mongolian Grill.
Opened in February 2012 in the Can Company, the Canton location was the first in Maryland for Bang Bang, a create-your-own-stir-fry restaurant based in West Des Moines, Iowa. A second Maryland location opened in Bowie March 2012 and remains open but is also converting from a Bang Bang into a Soyombo.
The partnership in Maryland's Bang Bang franchise was led by Shawn Dhillon, a doctor of internal medicine, who said he was attracted to Bang Bang because of its philosophy of healthful eating.
Soyombo will keep Bang Bang's stir-fry concept, Dhillon said, but will have more menu items, including pre-made dishes. Soyombo will also be a better fit for the Canton market, Dhillon said.
"We’re modifying it for the Canton area," Dhillon said. "We're going to add to it and make it a full-service concept."
Customers liked Bang Bang's customizable meals, Dhillon said, but had no reason to stay around after their meal. For one thing, there weren't any TVs at Bang Bang, which meant customers were going elsewhere to watch sports games.
"We're keeping the grills but now we're going to make it more upscale," said Dhillon, who hopes to have Soyombo open in the early fall after renovations to the Can Company space. The Bowie location will be converted, too, Dhillon said.Bang Bang is one of several regional Mongolian grill concepts in the marketplace, including the Burnsville, Minn.-based BD’s Mongolian Grill, which has 32 locations scattered around the Midwest - and even one in Ulan Bator, Mongolia - and the Missoula, Mont.-based HuHot Mongolian Grill, which was tapped by the industry publication Nation's Restaurant News as one of its 50 "breakout brands" for 2013.
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