Writer: LOUANNA CAMPBELL / Photographer: SARAH A. MILLER / Tyler Morning Telegraph
Two years ago, former restaurant managers Jason Shields and Christopher Moore started looking for ways to start their own restaurant.
The two began making funnel cakes and turkey legs in Moore’s mother’s backyard for family and friends. Eventually, the gatherings grew beyond typical cookouts. And when the entire neighborhood could smell the funnel cakes, they wanted to have one.
“My mom’s neighbors were smelling the funnel cakes and we had over 20 people over and people were still coming,” Moore said. “When the health department came to the door and warned us, I knew it was time to start seriously thinking of a way to start a restaurant.”
Moore, his fiancée, Jessica Jimenez, and Shields, started working on a business plan. The group of entrepreneurs found a location and decided to focus on funnel cakes, burgers, wings and some other interesting items that are not available anywhere else in Tyler.
Candies, Funnel Cakes & Moore opened 10 months ago at 2122 N. Grand Ave. in Tyler.
“It’s like fair food without the rides,” Shields said. “It’s not just funnel cakes. We have deep-fried cheesecake and we do deep-fried Oreos.”
They use fresh strawberries and sometimes their loyal customers come up with their own ideas for their funnel cakes.
“Our most popular funnel cake is the strawberry cheesecake,” Shields said. “We also have some that we have named after our regular customers who started asking for the same thing when they came in. The McClendon is named after a customer who wanted fresh strawberries and powdered sugar on his cake.”
The funnel cakes range from $4 to $10 for the decadent cakes with several toppings and ice cream. Some of the flavors on the menu include birthday cake, S’more, Cookie Monster and a savory funnel cake that is the restaurant’s version of chicken and waffles.
“The Scooby Snack is our version of chicken and waffles,” Moore said. “It’s a funnel cake topped with two chicken strips and honey.”
Candies, Funnel Cakes & Moore make their burgers slightly different than most restaurants. They also have their unique version of chili cheese fries.
“I hate biting into a burger and having that one slimy piece of tomato,” Moore said. “We use shredded cheese and cherry tomatoes that we cut in half. Our chili cheese fries have ground beef, bacon, chili and cheese.”
Kool-Aid pickles are also on the Candies, Funnel Cakes & Moore menu. They are available in grape, sour apple, mystery and watermelon. The large dill pickles are pricked with a fork and placed in jars of Kool-Aid to absorb the flavor and color of the liquid.
Moore said he is expanding his funnel cakes and partnering with Jose Villanueva, owner of The King Tortas, at a new location on Palace Avenue, where Tamales el Pollo and Moore is scheduled to open in February.
“We’ve worked in the restaurant business for over 10 years,” Moore said. “We’re not treating this like a business. We treat it like it’s family. We did a toy drive for The Salvation Army this past Christmas and we will continue to do those things.”
Candies, Funnel Cakes & Moore is open from noon to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday and Monday.