Grill ’em All wears its influences on its sleeve.
The name is a pun on Metallica’s debut album. Portraits of rock legends Kerry King and Lemmy Kilmeister hang on a wall. Flatscreen TVs play classic wrestling matches and cult horror movies. Speakers blast Iron Maiden and Megadeth.
The restaurant has risen from its humble food truck beginnings to make its home in a decidedly un-metal shopping plaza in Alhambra. It’s easy to see why they inspire puzzled looks from the uninitiated and repeat visits from the converts. To all those put off by the presentation and to the skeptics smelling a cheap gimmick, let there be no doubt. Grill ’em All succeeds by using a half-pound beef patty as a blank canvas for some downright inspired combinations.
For instance, the “Samoa Joe” offers cheddar cheese, bacon, grilled onions and barbecue sauce topped with sliced pineapple. The “Behemoth” goes a step further than the cheddar-bacon-onions trinity by adding a pickle and shoving the whole thing between two grilled cheese sandwiches. In the mood for breakfast, lunch and dinner? How about fried chicken, bacon, cheddar and a maple sriracha glaze between two waffles? “Jump in the Fryer” indeed.
They don’t leave out the normies either. Those who just want lettuce, tomato, pickle and thousand island dressing need only ask for the “Winger aka the Stewart,” named for the dweeb on “Beavis and Butthead” and his favorite hair metal band.
You might tell yourself that you can build these flavorful Frankensteins in your own kitchen, preferably at 2 a.m. after a bar crawl, but you would be wrong. Creations like the signature burger – the Dee Snider – are carefully crafted. Named for the lead singer of hair metal band Twisted Sister, it combines crunchy peanut butter, thick-cut bacon and a Sriracha-raspberry jam to give you just the right blend of sweet, salt and spice. Even the real Dee Snider approves, scrawling his recommendation on a blackboard wall by the menu.
Having already had the Dee Snider before, I went with October’s burger of the month. I held off on the monthly special bread pudding – roasted apricot with dulce de leche frosting – because my heart can only take so much. The “Xibalba aka the Pentagon Jr,” is named for the Pomona, California hardcore band and the Mexican luchador, respectively. The name was apt as it packed quite the punch. Chorizo sausage, crumbled cotija cheese, salsa verde, fries and shredded lettuce provided just the right balance of meaty goodness.
They did not skimp on chorizo or overload on fries. The lettuce did not make the fries soggy. The buns held the patty and toppings better than previous visits. Napkins are a necessity when you’re eating burgers bigger than your fist. Pick up a fork while you’re at it. You could make a second meal from what falls onto your fries.
There’s plentiful outdoor seating if you don’t mind the music blaring from the loudspeakers overhead. There was a decent draft and canned craft beer selection. With burgers clocking in around $12, draft beers $7 and fries sold separately, expect to spend a little more than a fancy date at McDonald’s but take the plunge. Aside from maybe a little heartburn, you won’t regret it.
Grill ‘Em All: http://grillemallburgs.com/
For a complete map of all locations featured in this blog, please follow this link: The Grand Appétit Map