Monday, June 27, 2016

A Dinner 70 Years in the Making

17th Street Bar and Grill
17320 17th Street
Tustin, CA 92780

70 is a big number. I remember when I was a kid, I thought 70 years old was ancient. Part of that had to do with the fact that three of my four grandparents didn't live to see their 70th birthday, but the real reason for it of course is that when you are kid, time goes real slow, but as you get older, it seems like Christmas is here almost every month. My dad was turning 70 years old, and that's a pretty big deal, so I was tasked with finding a restaurant that was going to be good for my entire family, one that would not break the bank, and one that was centrally located for all of us to meet. I decided on spending the big guy's 70th at 17th Street Bar and Grill in Tustin.

Located right off the 55 Freeway, in the Enderle Center, which also hosts Zov's, Crab Cooker, and El Torito, 17th Street Grill definitely met my first criteria of being centrally located for everyone. This is the same spot that used to house Hof's Hut years ago, when I used to work in this area. 17th Street Grill is owned by the same guy, Steve Silverstein, who runs the very popular North OC mini chain of pizza restaurants, Zito's Pizza. In fact, this spot used to be called Zito's Bar and Grill up until a year ago, when they switched over to the 17th Street name, and I'm guessing they wanted to distinguish themselves as more of a full service restaurant, rather than a pizza restaurant that most people probably expected.

The menu here is way more diverse than a pizza joint. They of course offer Italian favorites, including pizzas, but also feature fish, steaks, and chicken entrees, along with burgers, subs, and sandwiches. They also have a dozen or so appetizers, and about the same number of salads. Prices are right in the range of $15 per entree, which helped me out, as I was going to be buying dinner for our party of nine. The menu was diverse enough that even my fickle eating nieces would find something to order here. Let's see if 17th Street was a worthy spot to celebrate dad's big 70th.

Any family celebration needs to start with appetizers, as it helps to limit the conversation to a minimum. Kidding of course, or am I? Anyways we started with the Breaded Zucchini ($10) at 17th Street. This was a very good version of this appetizer. The zucchini had a great breading surrounding it, which was crunchy, but did not overpower the zucchini inside. The ranch dressing here is stellar, and made this even better.

Katie considers herself to be an expert on Garlic Knots ($7), and she considered these to be pretty good, but not good enough to dethrone her defending champ, the ones at Oggi's. These tied pieces of dough were baked and tossed with garlic and butter. I prefer to dip these in ranch dressing, but the marinara was good as well. Definitely a good start to our meals, and got us excited for our entrees.

One more thing before we get to those entrees. Katie was the only one of us to get a salad, and she seemed pleased with this House Salad ($6). The house salad at 17th Street Grill utilizes a base of iceberg lettuce, and is then topped with salami, mozzarella, and mushrooms. Pretty good sized for a small house salad, Katie enjoyed the freshness of the produce here, and they were very generous with the cheese and mushrooms.

Since 17th Street Grill is owned by the folks that brought us Zito's, it was no surprise that pizza was ordered by members of my family. My brother in law went with what I probably would have ordered if I was going the pizza route, the Butcher Shop ($15 for the 12 inch version). This pizza was a carnivore's dream; pepperoni, ham, sausage, and bacon, then covered in mozzarella. My mom, who's a lighter eater went with a simple 8 Inch Pepperoni ($8). No complaints about either of these pizzas. My brother in law loved the thick crust here, the meats lacked a greasiness to to them, and both my mom and brother in law took some home for lunch the next day.

This Jalapeno Turkey Dip ($12) proved to be very popular, with Katie, my sister, and the birthday boy, my dad ordering it. This sandwich included sliced turkey, jalapenos, plenty of provolone cheese, au jus for dipping, all on a french roll. It usually comes with fries, but all three of them opted for the healthier fruit option. Not exactly the meal of choice that I'd want to start my 70th year with, but there were no complaints from any of them with this sandwich. Even Katie, who is sometimes sensitive to heat, had no problems with this sandwich, and liked the way the flavors combined here.

We don't eat with kids too often, so it's always interesting to see what kids order when they go out to eat. My nieces took advantage of the children's menu here, and had the Spaghetti and Meatballs ($4.99) and the Chicken Fingers ($4.99). The spaghetti looked like the better of these two options, but fickle Lillie only ate a few bites of this after being promised she could have dessert at home if she made an effort to eat. Most of this got boxed up for my dad's lunch the next day. The chicken fingers were more well received by Kaylie and Gracie. They liked the chicken fingers well enough, but they both loved the fries here.

For awhile now I've been craving meatball sandwiches, so I tried the Meatball Sub ($11) at 17th Street. This sandwich used a French roll as a base, and then filled it with meatballs, marinara sauce, and plenty of mozzarella. Not one of the best I have had. The meatballs here were too small, and kind of got lost under all the cheese and sauce. The meatballs should have stood out more, but that was not the case here. It was okay, but nothing great. The fries were pretty average, and I ended up giving some of them to my nieces.

17th Street Bar and Grill is not going to blow your socks off with their food, but for this occasion they were a great choice, if I do say so myself. Knowing my family as I do, I knew they would end up liking this restaurant, as it had enough variety, and at a fair price. If I were coming here again, I'd probably stick with the appetizers and pizzas, but I might be tempted to try one of their burgers next time as well. We had great service on this evening, and the food came out in a pretty timely manner. The restaurant side was not nearly as full as the bar side, which made us feel like we had almost the whole restaurant to ourselves on this Monday evening. I'm glad we could all celebrate my dad's big 70th as a family. Happy birthday old man.

Out of five microwave ovens, (not because they use them here, but because they were first sold the same year my dad was born, 1946), five being best to zero being worst, 17th Street Bar and Grill gets 2.5 microwaves.

For more information about 17th Street Bar and Grill,  head to their website here:

17th Street Bar & Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


  1. Thanks for the review. Been driving by that place for last couple of years. Was always curious. For a shopping center in the middle of Tustin; it sure has a very broad range of restaurants. Isn't there another place in there called Belcan's as well?

    Gotta be honest, I really miss Hof's, especially the one in Brea.


  2. Cupie - You are quite welcome. I've heard of Belacan, it's a Malaysian restaurant, which I have yet to try.

    I loved Hof's in Brea. My friends were bartenders there, and they had a great bacon cheeseburger on their menu. Thanks for taking the time to read the blog. I appreciate it.

  3. Oh man, my brother was a bartender there. Made some good friends with those guys. Castillo, Cusiter, Dickson, Mayhew, and even Pesl.


  4. Cupie - Small world. I know some of those names. My really good friend is Erven, who tended bar at Hof's, along with Jack. Crazy.