When a sign above the grill reads, “No WiFi. Speak amongst yourselves”, you know that a good, ol’ fashioned treat is in store. A tiny, hole-in-the-wall that seems stuck in time with great prices and delicious food. It was a goal of mine to find one of these places. When you are near the Record Grill, you might end up walking right past it. The building is tiny and narrow, looking like nothing more than a window-front hot dog stand. Will and I decided on lunch after arriving an hour earlier than we expected from our flight. We were hungry and exhausted. He knew of my goal, so we agreed to at least walk in and give it a shot. It could not have fit the picture I had in my mind any more perfectly: there were four tables, and a few stools at a counter. The grill is right there—you can see them preparing your food. There’s no air conditioning even though the outside “dry heat” temperatures were approaching 100. The menu on the wall bore prices that could have been 20 years old, at least by New Jersey standards.
This is a place for the locals. No frills, just good food. Side by side sat well-dressed businessmen, families, people who look like they just crawled out of bed. White, black, Hispanic. Everyone. It was a real melting pot.
For $5.75 on weekdays, you can get a special (such as sandwiches or a hot meal) of your choice along with two sides. Their breakfast and sandwich prices were also mind-bogglingly low. Burgers for under $3, breakfast for around $5. Because it was a weekend, I went with one of the staples of down-home southern cooking: the chicken-fried steak (which was more like a fried burger). It was $3.50 and the fries I added were $1.85. How good could it be? That’s what I asked myself, because the charm and prices mean nothing without quality. Sure enough, it really hit the spot. The portion was decent, breaded and fried to perfection in front of me. It was crispy and tender, but not greasy. It came on a toasted roll with lettuce and tomato, and the shoestring fries were also a nice touch, managing to be light without holding any grease. It was what I had been searching for at that particular time.
Will was in the mood for breakfast, and ordered the wallet-busting “Breakfast Special”, running $4.50, which included two eggs, grits (or hash-browns), toast, and bacon. He said it was all perfect, and especially noted the homemade grits. Pressing his spoon into the bowl to stir them caused the freshly-added butter to rise to the top. He also added a slice of pecan pie which was outstanding. He saved two bites for me, and I was in heaven. It might be the best pecan pie I have ever had.
Our check, which included all the above plus soft drinks, was $14.40. A family of six next to us, I overheard, paid less than $30. The quality is there. It’s a home-run. This truly is a hole-in-the-wall, and additional pictures are added below to give you a good idea of our experience. They are closed on Sundays, meaning we had to wait before we returned…and return we did. At least twice more from what I remember. 4 out of 5 stars.
This post was originally published here. The Record Grill is located at 605 Elm Street in Dallas, Texas