Fresh off the Grill: Chef Mike’s Charcoal Grill

Fresh off the Grill: Chef Mike's Charcoal GrillEarlier this week, I was over on the west side of town for meetings in the morning. The meetings actually went late, and we had to push one of them back until after lunch. So… what’s for lunch? Since I am on a diet, I am not able to eat anything, well, good. So we decided to just see what was around us. Our meetings were in an office park, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find something good to eat. Well, there was nothing good to eat anywhere in sight. We got in the car, headed back toward the highway, and were going to try the next stop down the interstate. That’s when we say a huge vinyl sign for Chef Mike’s Charcoal Grill. (Yeah, the sign was vinyl.)

We made a quick U-turn, and headed back only to get lost trying to find it. The entire area is confusing, but we eventually ended up in the right place. I told Braden, the guy I was with, “A Chinese buffet would fit well here. Perhaps some sushi.”

What are we getting ourselves into?

So we walked in, and were greeted by a man wearing a golf shirt and khaki shorts. He was nice enough, and sat us at a table in the dining room. We sat down, and were quickly greeted by our server. I forget her name, but she was very nice. She was able to greet us so quickly because there was hardly anyone there. It was 12:10 in the afternoon on a Tuesday. The line at McDonald’s was ten cars deep.

We both ordered something to drink, and began to look at the menu. I needed something healthy, so I was looking at the salads. Braden ordered a salad as well. He had a half Caesar salad and an order of fries. He ordered water to drink. I ordered a full strawberry grilled chicken salad and a Diet Coke to drink.

The bill was $21.

Braden’s salad was $5. His fries were $3. So that was $8 for a side salad and some fries. He said the fries were good, at least. (He ate the salad first, then the fries. I found that interesting, as I like to mix things up as I eat.) My salad was $10. When it hit the table, I about asked the server if she heard me correctly. I had ordered the full salad. This salad was TINY. It had some chicken on it, though. So I ate that. The dressing was pretty good, too. You know, it’s funny… I am not writing this to be mean or downgrade the restaurant, but just wanted to share my experience with you. That, and the price points. Oh, and the air conditioner.

Keeping the Room Cool

The first day of summer was earlier this week. So you would expect to, by now, have your air conditioner on. Well they had their AC on at Chef Mike’s… it was sitting in the middle of the room. The header image up there, that’s the AC on the right hand side of the image. Sort of looks like a laundry shoot.

Step Into My Office

I am not sure who the guy that sat us was, perhaps the owner. But during our meal, he was having a conversation with another one of the servers. I am not sure what was really being said, or if he was mad at her… or another employee. But he wasn’t happy. I heard a few “bad words” in there while he was telling his story.

I just find that very unprofessional, as an owner, manager, employee… anyone. If you work for a restaurant, or any place that has a rotation of customers, watch your language. The restaurant also serves families. (There were no families in there when we had lunch, by the way. I will tell you, though, on their website their tagline is, “A family restaurant right in your neighborhood.”)

The restaurant does have a bar. We didn’t order any alcoholic beverages, as it was our lunch break, but the bar did look nice. They have a few TVs floating around as well. They also have a HUGE projector at the back of the restaurant. They were playing sports while we were there.

Paying the Tab

So we are all finished, and ready for our check. Again, I can’t compliment the server enough. She was great. She brings the check in one of those old school check presenters. You know the ones I am talking about, with the black pleather and the spot for your credit card. She sits it down, and I think nothing of it. I put my card in there and she rings me up. (I did leave a good tip. She was nice!) Before I signed my credit card slip, I noticed that the Chef Mike’s logo was actually a sticker on the check presenter. I found that odd, so I decided to investigate. Sure enough, under the sticker was a logo from a different restaurant.

Braden and I laughed, as it truly was one thing after another from the moment we walked in. I did tell him, based on what we saw and experienced before we ordered our meal, that, “I am going to be mad if I get food poisoning from this place.”

Finding a Better Value

When we got back to the office, I told Braden, “I have never paid so much money for so little food.” That’s a pretty good way to describe this place. They do have a 3-pound burger that is made for sharing. I saw a few pictures of it, and it looks big… but the burger is $50. There is no way that burger is that good to justify $50. The menu did have a lot on it. They have burgers, and steaks, and pizzas. It’s your typical bar food, but with a kick. (Think Applebee’s or T.G.I. Friday’s.) Again, I am not trying to rip on this place. I would potentially go back. But someone else would have to be picking up the tab.

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