"tucson underground"
Navigation border corner


legends / the grill

Grill's interior, top; Lilly, right

IMAGES: cia romano © 2003

100 E Congress St, Tucson 85701 | 623-7621

You're at a club and the bright house lights come up. It's closing time and you've been dancing up an appetite. Or you bypassed dinner for drinking. Whatever. So you stumble on down to The Grill. The venerable diner opened in the 1920s as Minerva Caf≥ and has been going non-stop ever since. The Grill means sustenance -- good stuff, too -- for most downtowners and visiting bohemians. The Red Room (aka the smoking section) features musicians such as Topless Opry, Tom Walbank, and Cum & Go up close and personal. Rush hour is at 2 AM.


Red vinyl booths along the outer wall (most of which have random slashes in them). The vintage Formica counter with spinning stools is the centerpiece of the room. Check out the historic photos and menus are on the far rear wall. (You'll feel as if you are in The Shining when you see those old images of the place where you're standing right now.)


Awesome. High diner. The usual fare as well as excellent dinner specials -- steak or portobella mushrooms, you choose. Sandwiches are made with Boar's Head meats. If none of this is good enough, choose the big bowl of Cap'n Crunch. Every dish has an unexpected garnish -- your big bagel is served on a dinner plate with a slab of cream cheese garnished with sliced green onions. If you are coming with a group of people, just order the bowl of Tater Tots. Your friends will love you forever.


If you are going to the Grill around 1 am, expect a wait for a place to sit and perhaps a server. You'll have enough time to thoroughly read the menu. It has a full page of rules that you should follow - - not just for your dining experience at the Grill, but for living life itself to the fullest. Well, not really. (Pigs' feet make people think of Satan? Do they even serve ham hocks here?)


The Red Room (the smoking section in the daytime) hosts live music on random nights. Also located in the Red Room is the extensive list of imported and American beers. Many local musicians are fed and watered here. Whatever you do while you are at the Grill, just remember the motto (found on the back of the menu): "When dining out, insist on food." Drew Burke, he who publishes the well-regarded poetry mag Spork, may have cooked your dinner. If you laughed out loud at the menu, he was probably involved.