UC Merced graduates open restaurants

MERCED, California

One of the new restaurants opening at the Promenade Shopping Center will feature gourmet hotdogs, while the other touts a better burger. The owners of each new spot are hoping students from the nearby university will help them succeed.

The new gourmet hot dog restaurant is only about four miles away from the UC Merced campus where the owners earned their degrees and learned to be pioneers.

Victor Nguyen, Perla Flores-Luna, and a third recent graduate chose hot dogs because Perla's parents own several hot dog stands in Southern California. They and their experienced contractor felt the affordable food would appeal to all residents, including students.

Eldridge Johns is also hoping students will visit his new hamburger restaurant. He's opening California's first Mooyah in the same shopping center.

Johns also owns the Wing Stop restaurant next door to "House of Dogz," and says its success gave him the confidence to take on this new family-friendly franchise.

The UC grads also want to start more businesses in Merced, even though they're from different parts of the state. And they're hoping to inspire other students along the way.

The owners of both restaurants say they're also proud to be bringing jobs to this community. House of Dogz will hold its grand opening this Saturday. Mooyah is set to open October 17th.

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