Ask anyone about downtown Arlington, TX and you will likely get a funny look. Having grown up in Arlington, TX I can understand why. My entire life this area consisted of two small blocks of old run down buildings. My parents would tell me stories of days gone by. When there was a functioning movie theater and it was the place to be. I always found this a little hard to buy. All of this has been flipped upside down in the last six months! With the addition of several new restaurants and more space available to lease, people are once again flocking to the downtown area.
One of the newest Arlington hot spots is The Grease Monkey Burger Shop and Social Club. I have heard their hamburgers are juicy and yes of course, greasy. That's just how I like them! Being the burger connoisseur that I am, I had to get down there and give one of the burgers a test drive.
When I arrived, I was happy to find that there was plenty of parking and no cost to park. The area feels very safe and secure which is something most cities cannot claim about their own downtown. The exterior of the building had some large print nostalgic photos of a downtown. It appeared they were taken half a century ago. I wasn't sure if these were actually taken in Arlington, but it certainly added to the downtown feel.
The overall feel is that of a sports bar. However, I would not go so far as to call the Grease Monkey a sports bar. I truly love places that have outdoor eating and the Grease Monkey has a great deck for dining in the Sun. In addition, the walls around the bar open up to bring the outdoors inside.
If you read my review of Ted E's you may recall I was a bit heartbroken when I wasn't able to try my first ever fried hamburger. So I was ecstatic when I saw those words "Chicken Fried Burger." Sure enough, it was a battered and fried hamburger! Even better, it was listed proudly on the permanent menu and not just a monthly special. I will have to admit that I was a bit nervous ordering it. I couldn't help but wonder if I was passing through the realm of trying something fun and simply venturing into pure gluttony. Is there a line that just shouldn't be crossed and if so, has this burger done it? I looked down at my sons Nike shirt and saw those words "Just Do it." I decided to throw caution to the wind and I just did it! I was given the choice of three sauces that would come on the side. They offered BBQ, Gravy, or Buffalo Wing Sauce. I was living on the edge at this point and just went crazy. "Give me the Wing Sauce" I commanded proudly!
I was happy to find that they offered kids meals. I ordered a cheeseburger for my son and a corn dog for my daughter. We all had drinks and somehow our total with tip was only $20! I know several fast food places that would cost more than that.
I was given a buzzer that would let me know when my food was ready. I sat on the outside patio with my kids and enjoyed the atmosphere. About ten minutes later I was buzzed and went back inside with my kids to get my food. I was told the through a second set of doors I would find the main part of the restaurant and that there was a bar with all the "fixins" for my food. Unfortunately, I was already holding my 20 month old son and two trays of food. One of the cooks saw my predicament and kindly offered to help out. He was a lifesaver and took one of my trays off my hands. He then went to get me tomatoes, onions, lettuce, pickles and ketchup. After assembling my burger to my liking and I ordered the onion rings based on the cashier’s suggestion and I'm glad I did. Not only were they crispy and thin, but I added a few to my burger and it gave they went perfectly together. My kids meals' came with fries and of course I sampled a few of them. They were fresh cut and not greasy, but nothing out of the ordinary. The onion rings are definitely the way to go.
I'm not sure that Grease Monkey has figured out its own identity yet. I saw a mix of young hip college kids, families with children, and even some retired couples riding Harleys. The one thing all of these people had in common is that they seemed to be having a great time talking to each other and eating good food. Maybe they were smiling because the money they were saving on food could afford them an extra beer or two. The only complaint I have about The Grease Monkey is that it's not located closer to my home so that I could go more often.