BD's Mongolian Grill
BD's Mongolian Grill is an American restaurant chain specializing in patron-prepared stir-fry meals in a style known as "Mongolian barbecue". Grillers use 3-foot (0.9 m) metal "swords" and cook on an 8-foot (2.4 m) diameter gas flat top grill reaching temperatures of 600 degrees Fahrenheit (300°C).
BD's was founded in 1992 by Michigan State University alumnus and entrepreneur Billy "BD" Downs and his wife after a visit to a similar restaurant in London. The restaurant is headquartered in Royal Oak, Michigan and has 32 locations as of 9 June 2013, mostly concentrated in the northern Midwest. In May 2005, BD's opened a franchise in Ulan Bator, as the first American-franchised restaurant in Mongolia.
Part of the profits made by the Ulan Bator franchise are used for charitable purposes. Mongo Charities was established in June 2005 to help raise funds for the Mongolian Youth Development Foundation. The foundation is a non-governmental, non profit making organization with major emphasis on providing youth development programs in Mongolia and working to assist Mongolian youth in their development into active members of society, by providing social, educational, cultural and physical activities. In honour of those activities, Billy Downs was named "Cornerstone Humanitarian of the Year" by the National Restaurant Association in 1996.
Origin of the cooking style
Public relations material of the chain says that the preparation technique was modeled on a practice of the Mongol Empire, when soldiers would gather large quantities of meats and prepare them with their swords on their overturned shields over a large fire.
There is no historical evidence for this claim, and most of the ingredients used as well as the preparation method are entirely unknown to the actual cuisine of Mongolia. In reality, "Mongolian barbecues" first appeared in Taiwan in the middle of the 20th century, inspired by the Japanese-style teppanyaki which was popular there at the time.
- "History" at BD's Mongolian Barbeque website. Accessed 1 May 2007. (English)
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