After moving to our UTC location last year, I drove down to Renaissance Towne Center to see what were some of the lunch options. I quickly noticed that JK Burgers & Hot Dogs ( it replaced the long standing Chicago on a Bun which I first posted on back in 2005 a few years ago)was gone and had been replaced by a shop named Chicago Fire Grill.
I love my Chicago Dogs (the Missus especially enjoys SuperDawg), so much so that I even ordered one at Hot Doug's (after I ate the Foie Gras and Sauternes Duck Sausage of course). So, I decided to stop by.
The design of the place remains the same....though now it's bright yellow. another very unique thing about this shop id the Owner, George, who chats everyone up, has very unique opinions, and always cracks me up. He does remind me of the colorful characters I've met from or in Chicago.
So of course I got the Chicago Dog, priced nicely at six bucks, which comes with what I call very typical Chicago "Natural" style fries.
The fries were very hot, potato-ey, and really reminded me of what you'd get at places like Jean and Jude's Red Hots. Usually not my favorite style since it can get soggy and there not much crispness; but this was pretty good.
The dog; from Vienna Beef had a nice snap, the dog had, in the typical way been "dragged through the garden", with tomatoes (a bit too unripe), sport peppers (a favorite), the radioactive fluorescent green relish, and the typical, standard issue poppy see roll. I didn't ask if it was a Mary Ann Poppy Seed Bun, but it sure looked the part.
The roll didn't stand up for very long. It was also cold; so I don't think it had been steamed. Other than needing celery salt; this was a good facsimile, and a good deal at six bucks. Plus George's unending rambling to customers cracked me up.
I was told to come back and get the Lamb Burger. Being a good soldier, that's exactly what I did. A lamb burger and fries for nine bucks ain't too bad these days. It was pretty hefty.
The fries didn't hold up too well on the very short drive to the office.
The burger itself looked fairly messy, but the bun really stood up well.
Loved the gaminess. When I was asked for doneness, I answered "medium", thinking, like many burger places in San Diego, this was just a question and my burger was going to be well done regardless of what I said. I was wrong; it was moist, with a nice chew, and totally medium.
Loved the milky-saltiness of the feta cheese, and the nice mild acidity and creaminess of the tzatziki. Nice pungent onions helped cut through any richness....though again, the tomatoes weren't ripe enough to add anything to the sandwich.
Overall, a pretty good burger.
Having been quite satisfied with my previous two choices, I decided to revisit and order the one item that call Chicago home that I enjoy more than a Chicago Dog......an Italian Beef sandwich. Which I ordered "wet"........
While the roll; a perfectly respectful Gonnella Roll; I'm thinking par-baked, held up well. The beef was really tough and surprisingly dry. It also lacked flavor and the jus, of which the folks at the shop nicely packed for me wasn't beefy; it had way too much herbs in it and was quite greasy.
The fries this time around were also on the greasy side, I'm thinking from the jus that had dripped on it.
Well, two out of three ain't bad.
I'll keep coming by; basically for the Chicago Dogs and the prices. I'll definitely try some of the other sausages and burgers....but that Italian Beef is definitely a "no go".....oh, and I'm definitely looking forward to George's "words of wisdom" as well.
You can read Soo's post on Chicago Fire Grill here.
Chicago Fire Grill
8935 Towne Centre Dr.
San Diego, CA 92122
Mon - Fri 11am - 9pm
Sat - Sun Noon - 9pm