Old Towne Grinder
177 North Glassell St.
Orange, CA 92866
It has been ten months since I last had lunch with my cousin Chris. He is a bright college student at Chapman University in Orange. I should have had lunch with him before this, but you know how life can get. He is busy studying and getting straight A's, I have my fantastic job and this blog to keep working on, so life kind of slips away little bit. The next thing you know it is Christmas Eve, and you haven't seen your extended family all year. So needless to say, I was more than happy to come see my cousin Chris.
Chapman University, for those of you that do not know, is located in downtown Orange. This area has seen a plethora of new restaurants open up in the last decade. So Chris and I have an almost endless amount of places to try during his lunch breaks from his endless studying. On this trip up to Orange he wanted to try Old Towne Grinder. He might have just chose this place because he doesn't like walking far, but I had wanted to try this place too, so it filled the bill for both of us.
Like all of the business's in downtown Orange, Old Towne Grinder's building has quite the history. According to Old Towne Grinder's web site this building at the corner of Maple and Glassell used to be Wally's Market back in the 50's. I was thinking that if Wally walked into this restaurant today, he would not be in for such a shock seventy years later. Old Towne Grinder still has that old time charm of a lot of places in Downtown Orange. There are soda bottles all over the place here, and if you are an old time soda freak, or just a soda fan in general, this could be your paradise. Tons of sodas for you to try. I am not much of a soda drinker, so I was all about the food. Let's see how it all turned out for us.
I was pretty hungry, so I started with some Chili Cheese Fries ($4.99). These chili fries were average at best. The cheese was not evident here, and while the chili did add moisture, it was pretty bland tasting. The fries themselves were average fast food style fries. Wish this had been served hotter as well.
I was at a loss as to what sounded good here, so I selected the Al's Philly Cheese Steak ($8.39 with drink). When this sandwich came out I was surprised at the size of it. Bigger than I had imagined for the eight dollar price. The first bite I had of this sandwich was good, but every bite after that kind of became average. The meat really needed to be seasoned, and the cheese needed to be more prominent. The onions and peppers were cooked well, but not enough to save this sandwich. As I was eating this, the bread became soggy. Not the worst Philly I have had, but not anything to make it standout either.
Chris was in a sandwich mood as well, so he got the Half BBQ Turkey Sandwich with Fries ($8.34). I have not seen a BBQ turkey sandwich on a menu in a long time. Chris thought this sandwich was pretty unique by having turkey on this sandwich. According to him the sandwich had plenty of meat, but the BBQ sauce was just okay. The bread did its job of holding the sandwich together, but did not add anything beyond that.
Chris was pretty excited about the fries here. I do not think it was the fries he was excited about, but the secret sauce that came with them. I thought it could be a ranch/Tapatio blend, but it was more on the mellower side. I was not as in love with it as Chris, but it was okay. I did think this was a solid serving size of fries to go along with the half a sandwich. No surprise to me, but Chris did not finish his fries.
Old Towne Grinder really failed to impress me. It was not bad, but everything kind of just tasted average. I thought the prices here were fair for what you got, but that is probably where the kudos for this place end. I could have maybe just gotten the wrong things, but that is the risk you take when you make only one visit to a restaurant. The restaurant was not crazy busy during our lunchtime meet up. They have limited seating inside, but even with the limited seats available, no one had trouble finding a place to sit here. Service was fine during our visit, and the food came out in a timely manner. Hopefully Chris and I will not wait ten months for our next lunch rendezvous.
Out of five postage stamps, (because the owner of Wally's Market, also used to be a postman for 27 years), five being best to zero being worst, Old Towne Grinder gets 2.5 postage stamps.
For more information on Old Towne Grinder, click here: http://www.oldtownegrinder.com/index.html