Dad’s Classic Grill
The mall is typically the last place I would look for good food and to be honest, I cannot remember a time that I’ve actually taken a dinner break and went to the mall food court. A couple of nights ago, I did just that.
I had been hearing about a burger place that opened in Woodland Mall for a while now. It was hard for me to believe that this was serious chatter. Mall food courts are usually filled with the same fast food chains..a pizza place, a couple Asian places, a Subway maybe.
I sort of ignored what I had been hearing until I saw the Top 10 for the Grandwich competition. This mall food court restaurant actually had a spot in the top ten. I decided it was time to stop ignoring the chatter and go see if I had judged this place wrong without ever seeing it.
Dad’s Classic Grill is part of the Cafes in the Woods food court inside the Woodland Mall in Kentwood. I’m not really a mall shopper, but I have been to Woodland Mall on a few occasions to pick things up on my dinner break. I had not been to the food court though and I was a little surprised when I walk in. It isn’t quite the cavernous, bright, cheery mall food court you’re used to seeing.
The Cafes in the Woods have their own entrance next to JC Penny on the southeast side of the mall. The food court is set up with one long row of restaurants along one side of the wide walkway and a seating area on the other side. They try to give this more of an upscale mood with dark woods, dark lighting, and a space that doesn’t look like something from Mallrats or Life on a Stick (high five if you get that reference).
Dad’s Classic Grill is about halfway down the row of counters. It’s set up like all the other food counters with an order area and a pick up area that is separated by a toppings bar. The menu is simple. It’s sandwiches. You can order a single, double, or triple burger, a pulled pork sandwich, a chicken sandwich, or a hot dog. Cheese, bacon, pulled pork, and chili are extra, but after that, the toppings are free.
I ordered a Classic Double and added American cheese and bacon. They also had an option at this time to add a fried egg (it was part of their Grandwich entry so they just offered it on all the burgers…this is not a regular feature), but I passed and kept it simple. I also decided to make the meal a combo with a small Coke and an order of the Signature Tater Tots which they do in lieu of fries.
The cost for the sandwich and tots was just under $11. The sandwich is made fresh so there was about a seven minute wait. When it was done, it was passed through the kitchen window to the employee working the front counter. She took it and asked what else I would like on the sandwich. They have all the usual condiments at this station and you just kind of build your sandwich like you would at Subway. I like to keep my burger simple so I added BBQ sauce and jalapenos.
The tots came out of the kitchen right after the sandwich did. They come plain, but there are four choices of seasonings to add on. I went with the classic house seasoning. It was added to the brown paper bag of tots and shaken up.
I had the sandwich bagged up so I could head back to work. The burger was a little too big and messy to eat in the car, so I started in on the tots.
Fair warning here, I’ve never been much of a tator tot guy. I just never thought they had a lot of flavor and I’ve always preferred fries. These tots were super crispy on the outside and warm and steamy in the middle. They seemed a little hollow to me and I felt like I was just eating the crispy outside. The added flavor didn’t really do much to help the tots. I just didn’t feel like they had a whole lot of taste. Again, I do kind of have a prejudice against tots. I ordered them thinking this place would change my mind. They were fine and they were filling, but they didn’t do a whole lot for me.
When I got back to work, I slowly unwrapped the huge burger. The meat and BBQ sauce were overflowing from the brioche bun that was trying to hold everything together. I could see right away that the burgers were fresh meat and hand pattied. The burger was delicious. The meat was so tender it crumbled under it’s own weight. The meat was full of flavor that was enhanced by the sweet BBQ sauce and the spicy jalapenos. At first, I thought I would pulling some of the peppers off, but this whole sandwich just worked so well together that it actually quelled some of the spiciness of the peppers leaving just a hint of the spiciness that I was expecting The meat clearly stole the show here as it was cooked fresh and left me wanting more…even though the double was more than enough to leave me feeling satisfied.
Dad’s Classic Grill is not the typical mall food court restaurant. I think I foreshadowed that pretty well. It’s actually kind of amazing to me that this place even exists in a food court. It’s the kind of burger joint that could make it on it’s own. I wish they had fries on the menu instead of tots, but if we’re just talking about the burgers, this Dad’s Classic Grill does it right. There’s no need to settle for three hour old pizza when shopping at Woodland Mall when you can get a huge, juicy, delicious burger.