Although it was a tiny restaurant in a hard-to-get-to corner of a strip shopping center in south Arlington, Mo’s Best Eatery had developed a cult following for its pizza, pastrami sandwiches and burgers, which some people said were the best in Arlington.
Then, in March 2016, owner Mo Zaben closed the Little Road restaurant because of an expired lease. The plan was to open a new location by the end of April on Mansfield’s busy Debbie Lane.
But Zaben had health problems that have prevented him from opening on schedule. Not long after the Arlington closure, Zaben posted on the restaurant’s Facebook page that he had developed fluid in his lungs and had to be hospitalized. Just over a year ago, he wrote another Facebook post about his health problems delaying the opening of the Mansfield location. And then that was the last post — till Sunday.
That was when Mo’s announced that a new lease has been signed for 4306 Matlock Road Suite 108 in south Arlington. According to a Google search for that address, it’s a former doughnut shop a short drive south of Interstate 20, across from a Fry’s Electronics. Construction is expected to begin Tuesday, and the location could open by late summer.
Zaben’s health problems, which have inlcuded asthma and chronic pneumonia, led him to start a GoFundMe page soliciting contributions to help pay for a bronchial thermoplasty, a procedure that would, along with injections of a drug called Xolair, reduce his hospital visits from once a month to once a year.
The GoFundMe page is still live, but it has only received a fraction of its $32,000 goal.
“Mo's burger is good, but it was the piled-high pastrami that made us return,” contributor Cathy Frisinger wrote in a 2014 Star-Telegram review. “Mo hails from Connecticut, but that's close enough to New York City that he knows from pastrami. He'll proudly tell you that he makes it himself, smoking it, then steaming it, then air-drying it, then cooking it again and, finally, drying it one more time. The whole process takes about three weeks.”