Review: George’s All American Grille

You would think that if a restaurant has been around for 50 years, that they must be doing *something* right. After all, a restaurant couldn’t survive, especially in this economy, without a constant stream of customers, right? And people wouldn’t come back if the food wasn’t good.

That’s why the meal I had last night at George’s All American Grille is such an enigma. Normally, if I have a less than stellar experience, I’ll visit a place twice before posting a negative review. But honestly, the food here was so horrific (and indigestion inducing) that I’d rather eat McDonalds every day for the next month than ever darken their door again.

Always on the search for delicious coney dogs, we took a chance on George’s based on a positive Columbus Alive review and several positive reviews on sites like Citysearch, etc. So our expectations were that they’d be at least as good as the other hot dog joints in town.

Oh, how disappointed we were. This had to be the single worst meal we’ve had since moving to Ohio. Normally, even if I dislike something I order, I’ll finish it because I hate to waste food. I couldn’t finish it, because I started feeling sick about halfway through. And the pictures? So absolutely disgusting that I’m going to do something unprecedented – put them under a cut. I don’t want you fine readers to lose your lunch, so click through if you want the particulars of why this meal was so bad.

First things first – the coneys. We opted for a two coney dog combo ($5.75 with cheese, fries and onion rings). This fell flat in so many ways. The hot dog was of cheap quality and was barely lukewarm. The coney sauce was kind of bitter and tasted like Thanksgiving because there was an overwhelming flavor of sage. And probably worst of all, a huge glop of watery onions were deposited in one area of the dog, leaving it so soggy that it didn’t survive the 5 minute ride back to my house without nearly falling apart. These coneys are supposedly award-winning: I’m curious to know what awards these have won and how long ago, because they were darn near inedible. The fries served with it were super-soggy and quite greasy. The onion rings? Straight out of a bag.

Coney Dogs

We also opted for one of their “Hillbilly” burgers ($4.55), which was to be a 7 oz. burger topped with coney sauce and cole slaw. If this burger started out at 7 oz, I’d hate to know what the fat content of the meat was – I’ve had double cheeseburgers at McDonalds that were more substantial. The meat was overcooked and dry, and the coney sauce and cole slaw only made a bad burger worse.

Hillbilly Burger

The component of the meal I thought was the worst was one of Paul’s choices – the Grilled Bologna ($3.85). Normally, I’m a huge fan of grilled bologna, but what we got was an absolute abomination. The bologna was of questionable vintage, a watery fine-grained mix reminiscent of Eckrich, which was burned on the outside and barely lukewarm thoughout. Combined with the cheese and pickles? The whole thing tasted almost slimy. My husband said that they weirdly seasoned the meat as well, as it was too salty for him to finish.

Fried Bologna Sandwich

And just about as bad was the “Quadruple Chese” grilled cheese sandwich ($2.95) – if there are four kinds of cheeses in this, it’s news to me – all we saw was a big old glop of yellow-orange gack, reminiscent of Velveeta. Paired with a mealy tomato and rubbery undercooked bacon? Another sandwich we couldn’t finish.

Grilled Cheese

And finally, we got an order of Chili Mac ($4.60 for a large with onions), which is essentially a 4 way by any other name. They must use different chili for this dish, because the chili tasted dramatically different – more of a refried beans/canned chili vibe than the Coney sauce that was on the other dishes. Overall, it was just really odd to my palate, and not in the least appetizing. While it was the most edible of everything we ordered, I still sent it to work with my husband because I was too queasy to finish it.

Chili Mac

Since George’s is a West side institution with a huge following, I questioned whether or not to post this review – whether or not I should slaughter this particular sacred cow. At first, I thought they just might be having an off night. But after thinking about it for a while, I realized that by batting .000 with my order, this *can’t* be an isolated incident. I’m just not willing to take another one for the team to find out.

Your mileage may vary. But with much tastier (and cheaper!) options in town, I’d suggest steering clear.

If you’d like to go: George’s All American Grill, 155 Georgesville Rd., Columbus, 614.279.9511.

George's All American Grille on Urbanspoon

11 thoughts on “Review: George’s All American Grille

  1. belle

    so i am from tucson and am in columbus for college and i am a huge foodie. my mom and friend are coming to visit me and i wanted to explore some good resturants with them while they’re here! would you care to recomend anything? i love italian food and thats hard to get in the South west. we love tea so we’ll try Zen Cha which sounds good. we all love greek food and delis and gourmet stuff…any food basically. anything delicious we need to try?

  2. dave

    I read the review from columbus underground and thought I would give it a try. I had the two coney combo and also was grossed out. The hot dogs were a strange color form the water they sat in. If dogs are to be steam or float in water they need to be the type that can handle it. These were bad, and that sauce they call coney was awful as well as those grated onions. Service was so slow and I was there around 11:15am, fries and rings also were terrible. Go down the W. Broad and Wilson and get some gyros at the old taco bell building, alot better than George’s.

  3. Bill

    To compare the gourmet cuisine of McDonalds or Taco Bell to what I ate at Georges is a travesty. I though my “Hillbilly Hurger” was made out of actual Hillbilly. And honestly, I thought cooked properly Hillbilly would taste better.. Bring a pail!

  4. Rex

    Really, you review food based upon carryout? Maybe it's just me, but I don't think any person (professional or amateur) should review food based upon carryout, even if the restaurant makes it available. But it's not as if the remainder of your review screams credibility anyway.

    You fault the "watery" onions for making the coneys soggy, which is amusing in itself because I think onions are something like 90% water. Regardless, if you covered a cinder block in coney sauce, mustard and onions, it too would likely become soggy after a 5 minute ride home in warm packaging. What in the world did you expect of a pourous hot dog bun wrapped around a warm, moist hot dog that is covered with sauce, mustard and onions?

    And you could not be more wrong about the onion rings. They are handmade in the restaurant. Somewhat of a connoisseur of onion rings over, I would put these rings up against ANY other ring I have ever had. Perhaps it is just a matter of taste here, but the generic statement that they are "from a bag" offers an unfair and inaccurate criticism. The fries, while I will acknowledge are nothing more than average, are not uncommonly greasy for a food that is fried. And again, any french fry that you take home becomes soggy at some point.

    I could attempt to criticize the remainder of your review, but to be honest, I have never ventured beyond the coneys, rings and fries in my 25+ years of eating there.

    Perhaps you should do a little more than "darken the door" of George's and have a seat at the bar – enjoy the hot fresh offerings and even the friendly service. I know it might be impossible to leave the comfort of your own awesome West Side residence for more than the 5 minute drive, but you owe it to this restaurant after publishing such a negative and unfounded review. Complete bush league on your part.

  5. columbusfoodie Post author

    Other hot dog places in town (Village Coney and Dirty Frank's immediately spring to mind) have no problem packaging their takeout in such a way that it's as edible when I get home (a 10-15 minute drive as opposed to the 3-5 minutes it takes me to get home from George's). The onions were unusually watery. The sog that was a part of just everything was more than your run of the mill takeout container sog.

    The pictures speak for themselves. As does the fact that just about everything we ordered ended up in the trash because it was inedible. The reasons I disliked the meal are more than laid out in the review, as are the reasons why I wouldn't be doing a second visit before reviewing it badly.

    Has the place changed in the past year and a half since I posted the review? Maybe. But I'm not spending my money to find out. I'd much rather give my hot dog dollars to Village Coney or Dirty Frank's.

  6. Rob bob

    Tony’s Coneys is right down the street. Get a pair of the works coneys and a peanut butter shake. Hands down, amazing.

  7. charlie

    Wife went there once and she remarked to the waitress that the onions tasted kind of bad….sour…. The waitress said, "Yeah, people have been saying that all day ." Duh……get a clue !!!!!

  8. Kelvin

    I’ve been eating here since I was 5, and having traveled to different places in the U.S.A. and around the world, I’ve tried a lot of different foods. Georges is up there with the best!! So here we have two writers ,who, wanting to play the expert, not only try to claim that the food is bad, but goes on to paint it as downright horrible. these two writers both admit that a lot of people rave about Georges and then both go on to say that these people have no idea what good hotdogs taste like. (Wrong side of town?, Hillbillies? Just plain ignorant ?) Just because you somehow believe (in your minds ) that your “superior”sense of culture or taste should take precedence over those who “rave” about Georges doesn’t make it the truth !!! The food is there for all to taste and for all to form opinions about,and yet you believe that your opinions are the only ones that make a difference. Arrogance on your part? I’m the first one to say so !!! Also George’s has been around a lot longer than 50 years!! Good food quality beats bad research quality hands down !! Try as you might , you CAN’T “kill this sacred cow”. Your words, not mine. One last thing for you swamp kitty, here in Ohio we don’t cook with swamp water!!
    Sincerely , Kelvin.

  9. swampkitty05 Post author

    Kelvin – Bad is bad, and I just called it like I saw it. My blog, my opinion. Take it for what it’s worth – one person’s opinion and experience. Want to throw your opinion into the ring? Start a blog of your own. Never claimed to have superior taste or culture – some things transcend that (like watery onions, or the hot mess that tried to pass itself off as food). If you love George’s, by all means frequent them. Me? My hard-earned dollars will go to one of the local taco trucks, where you can get an awesome meal for just a few dollars.

  10. Shawn

    First off, Georges does offer carryout, but by no means does it make the food inedible. Some meals ARE NOT meant to be carryout! Georges Coneys are one of those. I have been a customer for a few years now and yes the Coneys don’t survive the wrapping and trapping the moisture in. But name one other place they do. I know of two on the westside and they aren’t nearly as good and they don’t survive the “car” ride home either.

    You mention the “chili” being different on the Chili Mac than the Coneys. Thats because Coneys have Coney sauce, NOT chili sauce. Getting that confused is a shame. In by no means does the Coney Sauce resemble Chili Sauce.

    Georges has been around more decades now! They are doing something right, and they have been for a very long time! The place is small, service is excellent, food is good most of it is home-made. This blog looks more like a hate attempt at a restaurant and/or bias as sin! To start a blog with the the wording and biased opinions is misleading.

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