Although I know it will never happen, I am on the hunt for a place that will hit the spot like Colima Burgers did. No burger joint will ever be able to take the place of Colima Burgers in my heart, nor will another place ever feel like home the way Colima Burgers did. That place held too much nostalgia for me, too much of my childhood, and really too much of my life to ever be replaced, but I am hoping (despite what my waistline might want) that I will be able to find a place with burgers and chili cheese fries that are at least nearly comparable.
Prior to leaving Hawaii, as I’ve mentioned before, I had a food blog. A food blog that focused on local hole-in-the-wall joints, so I’ve actually eaten at most of the greasy spoons in my area, and I have an idea of what is out there. But I haven’t been to most of them since I’ve come back home. Over the next few months, my husband and I will probably be working our way through a lot of those local joints again.
To start us on our journey, I figured I would start with the recommendations that came up on Facebook after the news of Colima Burgers broke. Loyal patrons now desperate to find their chili cheese fries fix asked the online community, “Where do I go now?” Three places were recommended over and over again –
- Nogales Burgers – I haven’t been there in years, but I was never a fan.
- JB Burgers – A place I went to once and reviewed on my old blog, but don’t actually remember what it was like.
- G&D Burgers – A place I didn’t think I’d been to, but upon writing this and digging through my old blog discovered apparently I had been…it is not the same.
We will eventually get around to trying Nogales Burgers again, but we wanted to start off with places we felt like have a fighting chance of being, “the one.” Although JB is closer, G&D has a killer Instagram that really sells their food.
G&D is a traditional-looking SoCal burger joint and they do sell the expected cheeseburgers and chili cheese fries, but this place is actually known for their teriyaki and has a pretty impressive menu. We knew we would be ordering our usual, cheeseburger (lettuce and dressing only), double cheeseburger (lettuce and dressing only), regular fries, and chili cheese fries, just to establish a baseline, but we couldn’t help but be in awe of the menu. Surf and turf, teriyaki chicken, fried rice, burgers, tots, onion rings, and more!
While we were staring at the menu, a man stuck his head out the window and struck up a conversation with us. (We assumed he was the owner, and later confirmed that this was most likely the case through some Instagram deep diving.) He asked if it was our first time and when he learned that it was (remember before writing this I had no idea I had been there before), he wanted to know how we found out about the place. I was hesitant to tell the truth and I was going to say Yelp, but last minute I decided to be honest and shared that our burger joint had closed down and G&D was recommended as a place to try when the news broke. When he found out it was Colima Burgers we were referring to, he then shared that he grew up on Colima Burgers too. He loved their chili cheese fries and even talked about how sweet the owner was and although he knew nothing about her, she knew everything about him. (Sounds familiar.) A few minutes later we even came to learn that he also went to Rowland High School, as I did, and graduated just a few years before me.
Considering part of the pain that came along with losing Colima Burgers was the welcoming atmosphere, starting our first visit off at G&D with that open and friendly of a conversation really felt good. And it made me really hope that the food would be good too. (I hate when I have a great customer service experience at a place and then am totally let down with the food. I don’t want to be mean when someone is so extra nice.)
We finally settled on our usual and threw in an order of teriyaki chicken fried rice. We got our food and then headed to a nearby parking lot to enjoy our meal.
The burgers were phenomenal. My husband and I have both already decided that it is our current new local favorite. It has all the elements you expect in a SoCal greasy spoon-style burger, but better. My husband and I have been talking about this for days and still have yet to come up with a proper way to explain the burger. The best we have come up with is that it tasted higher quality than a lot of burgers from similar style places. Also, from the meat to the sauce, all the elements stood out on their own but still worked together to form one cohesive burger.
The fries were fresh and crispy, and G&D makes their own homemade ranch, which again, isn’t like anything I’ve ever tasted, at least not at a greasy spoon. It was thick and the flavor subtle, but still exactly what I wanted with that meal.
The chili cheese fries were different but good. The chili had actual hunks of ground beef but didn’t taste meaty. (I don’t like my chili, especially on chili cheese fries to be meaty.) It also wasn’t too tomato-forward, which seems to be a problem I run into with a lot of the local joints in the area. The chili cheese fries had a lot of flavor. A flavor I’ve never experienced before. If I’m being honest, it wasn’t for me personally, but I can see why someone would love them, and if you like chili cheese fries I would recommend giving them a try. (My husband had no problem with them.)
Although the chili cheese fries weren’t for me, I do look forward to trying some of their other chili cheese items, like their chili cheese onion rings. I think that might actually work for me.
In regards to the teriyaki chicken fried rice, I can’t say too much about it. We over-ordered and we had to take the rice home as leftovers. When we did end up finally trying it, it was reheated the next day. That being said, even reheated it was still pretty good.
Because we got our food to go, and then ate it in the car, I wasn’t able to get many photos that really do the food justice. I will update this post with better pictures, but in the meantime please check out their Instagram for some mouth-watering pictures!