Mouthful Elevates The Humble Burger (Gallery and Story)

Mouthful owner Tyler Wood finishes a burger in the kitchen on Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2017, in Casper. Wood started the gourmet burger restaurant in 2016 in back of Moonlight Liquors. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

Mouthful relies on word of mouth.

The gourmet burger joint, located behind Moonlight Liquors & Lounge at 2305 E. 12th, seems like an insider’s secret. To get there, you need to enter a plain brown side door, walk past the pool tables and bar and into a small room with a few tables. Once there, you’ll be set for one of Casper’s most unique burger experiences.

“I knew that I’d own a restaurant. I didn’t know it would be this early in life,” said Mouthful owner Tyler Wood. Wood, 29, opened the restaurant in August of 2016.

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“I was going to travel around and have a food truck, that was my goal,” said Wood. Last year, while ducking into Moonlight’s lounge for a few drinks with friends after a wedding, he suddenly saw his future. One of the friends in the group worked at one of the previous restaurant incarnations at Moonlight and showed Wood the space. It was in rough shape, but he quickly became excited of the idea.

Wood credits the name Mouthful to his brother, who mentioned it while brainstorming. “It lit a fire,” said Woods. “Mouthful! I’m like ‘that’s it! That’s my restaurant!'” recalls Wood.

Wood quickly secured a lease. “I taped out all the credit cards, scraped together all the cash and got the place,” said Wood. “We opened the doors and it hasn’t been easy but it’s been going ever since.”

Wood saw an opening for gourmet burgers in Casper, and went with the concept. “We use 90/10 ground Angus, hand shaped to order, with a recipe that we mix every morning into our beef,” said Wood. All ingredients are made fresh, and the fries are hand cut.

While Wood offers traditional burger combinations on his regular menu, what he most enjoys creating are the rotating specials. Recent offerings include a surf and turf burger with paprika mayo, sautéed shrimp and gouda cheese, and a “rowdy cowboy” with habanero BBQ sauce, bacon and an over easy egg. Wood is most proud of a spinach alfredo special he recently offered.

Wood has years of restaurant experience, starting when he got his first job at Dairy Queen at 14 and then in various restaurants around town. He learned to love food at an early age while watching his late mother cook in the kitchen. “She was always in the kitchen. That’s where I learned about the experience you get when you’re around food and good people. It feels like home regardless of where you are,” said Wood.

In spite of the the slowing economy and the hole-in-the-wall location, Wood has been able to go from a one-person operation to hiring three employees simply on reputation. He posts often on his Instagram and Facebook pages, and is proud of the five star ratings he’s earned online. Business is growing steadily enough that he’s now planning an additional location downtown in the Atrium Plaza, aiming to open early next year.

Wood knows he took some risks starting a burger joint in a nearly hidden location and during a down economy. As his restaurant’s reputation grows around town, Wood is excited about his path forward. “There are burger fanatics everywhere,” said Wood. “Bacon and burgers! It’s like its own food group.”

Mouthful is located inside Moonlight Liquors and Lounge at 2305 E. 12th Street and opens at 11:30 to 2:30 and 5:00 to 9:00 Monday through Friday, and 12:00 to 8:00 on Saturday. 

Tyler Wood hand forms a patty to order on Thursday afternoon at Mouthful in Casper. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

Mouthful’s signature brand heats up on a flame. Wood uses the “M” brand on the buns to give them a distinct look. He first experimented with branding the patty, but decided the bun stood out better. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

Tyler Wood reaches for a to go container in the small Mouthful kitchen in Casper. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

The bun gets Mouthful’s brand near the end of its time on the grill. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

Tyler Wood smothers a patty wth tomato basil sauce for an Italian-inspired combination at Mouthful. Wood has 5 regular burgers on the menu along with 5 other options he is constantly changing. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

A finished grilled mozzarella, pesto and spinach Mouthful burger is ready to serve. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

Tyler Wood poses in his Mouthful restaurant, located in back of Moonlight Liquors. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)