Tucked tightly into a strip mall, AJ's Grill doesn't ooze with class and sophistication. But when there's Polish and jumbo dogs on the premises, does it really matter? The solo diners and couples who gravitate to this box with a grill arrive in search of sustenance, the quick and no-frills kind.
As shown by the yellow and red signage out front, cheap combo meals steal the show. Two junior char cheeseburgers with fries and pop for $4.50 is one such deal, as is a Vienna beef hot dog with fries and pop for $4.25. Other specialties include: Philly steak sandwich (packed with grilled onions, peppers and mushrooms, topped with mozzarella cheese) for $5.50, and chicken breast ($6.99) or gyro ($7.99) plates, and jumbo beef Polish (thick 10-inch Maxwell street variety) for $3.50.
Aside from the phallic and charred themed menu, the decor is nothing to brag about. Booths covered in flowered vinyl and cheap dime store paintings with a farm motif are hardly the setting for a marriage proposal, or a first date, but more in line with a quick bite before heading to the beach or pit stop after a long road trip.
Breakfast offers various plates for a steal, such as egg sandwich on toast ($1.79), or French toast with choice of bacon, ham or sausage for only $4.79.
Two friendly cooks man the grill. When asked for a recommendation, the cook suggests chicken taco ($2.50), one of the four Mexican options on the menu. Two chicken tacos turn out to be fresh and filling, with a healthy portion of seasoned grilled chicken, cheese, lettuce and tomato atop soft corn tortillas.
It may not be fancy, but AJ's is wallet friendly and fast, and is open late night.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Marla Seidell