Ennis restaurant Hwy 55 open for business

Eatery puts God first, then service, outstanding food next

By Patty Hullett
For the Daily Light

One of the newest and busiest new businesses in Ennis is a family-owned restaurant chain known as Hwy 55. They opened their doors on May 28, and their popularity continues to grow.

The Hwy 55 standalone store front is seen at its first Texas location, in Ennis.
Hwy 55 menu items: at left Is a Philly Cheese Steak, and right is Shrimp Po' Boy Sandwich.

The family-friendly restaurant originated in eastern North Carolina 30 years ago. Kenney Moore opened his first store in a mall in Goldsboro in 1991. He remains the CEO today,

but his son, Andy Moore, is now the manager of the new Ennis location. He says, “It’s a ton of fun for me to get to work with my father as the company’s chief business officer.”

Hwy 55 sees a combination of daily customers for dine-in and the drive-thru line.

Son follows father in restaurant business

Andy Moore explains how he got into the restaurant business with his father. 

“I started off dropping fries in our Mt. Olive, North Carolina, location when I was 16 years old, and I have worked in several different positions at the Home Office before landing on my current role. Our directors of operations for Texas, Andrew King and Bridget Brodie, along with their dynamic and hard-working management staff, have many years’ experience running high-volume restaurants at Hwy 55. They are total rock stars, and they’ve made an amazing commitment to growing Texas, with 10 people relocating from North Carolina to the Lone Star State in the past few months.”

Andy and his wife Lauren moved to the metroplex three years ago and have made their home in Dallas. He claims that she is not only his biggest cheerleader, but as a brand manager at Frito-Lay, her business expertise and  advice is invaluable.

Andy says he grew up in Mt. Olive and attended Duke University in Durham for his undergraduate education. He went University of North Carolina – Kenan Flagler for his MBA. After graduating from Duke in 2012, and he got his degree from Carolina in 2019, while also working at Hwy 55.

Hwy 55 history 

Until now, Hwy 55 has mostly operated in the state of North Carolina. There are two locations in Texas – the other restaurant is in Bedford. Hwy 55 of Ennis is only the third-ever stand-alone location, with others being located in strip malls. Their transition to stand-alone locations has been a three-year process that has seen an evolution in many parts of their business, from branding and interior design to technology and the cook line.

Managerial staff who have relocated from North Carolina to Texas for the Ennis Hwy 55. Back row, from left: Aaron Juarez, Andrew King, Kody King, Cody Jacobson, Will Clark, and Andy Moore. Front row, from left: Emilia Jones, Jessica Medeiros, Bridget Brodie and Leslie Radford.

During this period of change, though, two things they did not change were their service and food. For 30 years, Hwy 55 has been about treating every guest like he or she is a king or a queen, and serving great food — like fresh, never-frozen hamburgers and made in-house frozen custard, Andy Moore relays.

Andy is not shy about sharing that their establishment is a Christian-based business. He says, “While we welcome people of all beliefs to Hwy 55 to eat and work with us, the heartbeat of our company lies in God’s commandment to 'Love Your Neighbor.' This powerful message is what the LYN logo on the side of our building, on our uniform sleeves, and on our packaging means. We use LYN to: 

- Serve, meeting the needs of others before our own needs are met

- Love, connecting with each other and our neighbors like we would our own family

- Show grace, always."

The drive-thru side of the building features their restaurant motto,  "Love Your Neighbor."

How Hwy 55 came to be located in Ennis

Andy Moore relays, “When my wife and I moved to Texas three years ago, I drove through (literally) dozens of towns and markets before we decided to make Ennis the site of the state’s first stand-alone  Hwy 55. I was really taken in by Ennis' community spirit – the Bluebonnet and Polka Festivals, the feeling of a Ennis-Hachie football game on a Friday night, and the town’s special, friendly charm. It’s tough to quantify a town’s “energy,” but Ennis unquestionably has it!”

He added that the folks at Ennis Economic Development, City Hall, and the Chamber of Commerce were also a huge help in opening the restaurant.

"We held our grand opening of our business on May 28 at 5 p.m. I’ll never forget the sight of people lined up at the door and cars wrapping around the parking lot and onto Sonoma Trail. We got hit with our fair share of challenges that first week, but the staff and operators handled everything so well. Our guests, too, deserve a special ‘thank you’ for their patience as we worked to get better every day,” he says. 

A look at the drive-thru lines on opening day at the new Ennis standalone Hwy 55 restaurant, close to the I-45 Expressway.

Hwy 55’s menu includes all sorts of burger varieties, but also they are famous for the Philly cheese steaks, po’ boy shrimp sandwiches, tasty fries and tater tots, salads, yummy kids’ menu items, milkshakes, and other frozen custard treats.

Goals for the future

Andy Moore says, “I was just talking about this the other day with one of our directors of operations — we decided that our main goal right now is to have every day be better than the last day … To have our drive-thru be slightly faster, our food be slightly better, our waitstaff make one more genuine connection with a guest. We’re setting our sights on achieving that goal every day.”

He continues, “We absolutely want to be a vital part of Ennis for many years to come. Now that we have our feet under us operationally, we plan on connecting with the Ennis ISD to learn how we can best support the city’s schools. Our employees are already showing themselves to be amazing resources in these efforts, too— they’re active in many things outside of Hwy 55, and will be able to help guide us towards worthy causes and community events.”

The Hwy 55 family wants to be anywhere they think they can provide a truly excellent

restaurant experience. Their aim is to grow from within and provide amazing opportunities for their staff members.

“We are excited to spread our ‘Love Your Neighbor’ culture across the State of Texas!” Andy Moore exclaims. 

Some of the friendly staff at the new Hwy 55 restaurant in Ennis. The restaurant has been open for about a month.
The new dining room of Hwy 55 is seen in Ennis.
The cook line team works together to fill orders at Hwy 55.