Classen Grill: better than you expect
A quick glance at the unimpressive, slightly run-down exterior of Classen Grill and you won’t be expecting much more than an average greasy-spoon. Walk inside to find a mix-matched, unpolished interior and your expectations will be reinforced. Try the food, however, and you’ll most likely be impressed. The folks at Classen Grill appear to be masters at managing expectations, setting you up for run-of-the-mill food and surprising you with an edge of quality you don’t expect.
Take the orange juice, for example. I’m not sure you can get a fresher glass of OJ anywhere. They’ve got an orange juicing machine right in the dining room where the juice is squeezed right into pitchers which are then brought to your table to serve. You’ll pay up for it, of course, but if freshness is what you’re after, you’ll love it.
The surprises don’t end there. Read down the menu and you’ll see that this isn’t average diner fare at all. You’ll find creative ideas all across the breakfast and lunch menus.
For an appetizer, I like the chips with red and green salsa ($2.29). There’s nothing special about the chips, but the salsas impress me. There’s a tasty, tangy red one and, my favorite, an unusual green salsa, served warm, that’s not too hot but has a little kick. It’s not that these are the best salsas I’ve ever had, but they are good, and much better than I would expect at an average diner. Plus, they’re a great value as one order can easily satisfy a party of 4-6.
For my meal, I almost always get the jalepeno swiss burger. It’s not on the menu, but it was a special one time and every time I go back I’ve just asked for it and they’ve made it for me. They’ve always charged me $5.99 for it, which is a great deal considering it comes with home fries. Their home fries are thick-cut chunks of potato encased in a very tasty batter, but for some reason, they just don’t seem very greasy.
I think the burgers here are very good. They’re served on a very good bun, which is slightly toasted and a little crispy on the edges. The burger patty is thick with a seared exterior and very juicy inside. It’s always well done with no pink but never, ever dry. On the jalepeno swiss burger, the toppings are fresh and the jalepenos are hot and whatever sauce they put on it is fantastic. Of course, there are several other burger options to choose from and all are good.
Lots of people love the breakfast here, which I can understand. They’ve got things like the Biscuit Debris ($6.89), which is three biscuits topped with ham, sausage, gravy and cheddar cheese and served with hashbrowns. It’s definitely a conversation starter, but for me, it’s just too much. I’ve also tried the migas ($6.99) and the pancakes for breakfast. Both are fine, but for some reason, I’ve never been as wowed with the breakfast as others I know have. For me, lunch is the time to go.
Whenever you choose to go, Classen Grill is worth your attention. You’ll find interesting dishes that almost always exceed your expectations.
Have you been to Classen Grill? Leave us a comment below and let us know what you think.