Many of the buildings in the historic "old town" section of downtown Auburn, CA date from the California gold rush era of the early 1850's, but have been tastefully "modernized" and are in use. Add in the narrow streets, the steep hills, and the Sierra foothill ambiance... it's a magical experience, which will leave you both breathless and hungry. When you're hungry, you're in luck, as Old Town Grill is located in historic "old town" Auburn, and you couldn't wish for a better restaurant.
As with all restaurant reviews I publish, I have no affiliation with the restaurant reviewed, and there is no monetary gain on my part, as I am simply a person who likes to eat, and I love to write-up, and publish my dining experiences.
Photo: Old Town Grill is located in historic downtown Auburn, CA, on Sacramento street. The narrow streets, hills and period brick buildings make for picturesque surroundings. It's early Monday afternoon, March 10, 2020, and I've arrived ready to enjoy lunch.
In keeping with the "old town" spirit, the Auburn location of Old Town Pizza - which I have yet to review - is located below Old Town Grill.
If the building looks at all familiar, you may recall back in the day it was the home to Awful Annie's, who has moved to another location that I've yet to review. Click on THIS LINK to review the visit we paid to Awful Annie's at this location, back on Friday, November 14, 2014.
Photo: Sign set up on the sidewalk in front of the restaurant welcomes you, and leaves no question where you are. I love the $5.99 mimosas, which is $3.00 below what most other restaurants charge. If it was morning, I would have ordered a mimosa, but it was early afternoon, and I was in the mod for a beer.
Photo: You enter the restaurant from the patio, and you'll be greeted by super friendly Rachel, who welcomes you with a smile. The covered patio is protected from the elements by thick, clear plastic curtains, which help to shelter diners from the wind and rain. During warm weather, they are opened, which gives diners an amazing view of the historical section of downtown Auburn. On this March afternoon, although the temperature was mild, and in the low 60's, I was glad the blinds were in place.
Photo: The dining room is very compact - may I say small? - and features a beer and wine bar, where there are several varieties of beer on tap. The dining room is "country" decor, which makes it very comfortable, cozy, and features lots of historical atmosphere.
Photo: Old Town Grill is open for breakfast and lunch, and the menu is five pages, and offers a selection for every taste. You can order anything from the menu anytime the restaurant is open. This is one page from the "lunch" section of the menu, highlighting "Burgers," which caught my attention.
I arrived at the restaurant with "burger" on my mind, and it was only a matter of "which one." After looking over all the choices on the "Burgers" section of the lunch menu, I went with the "Ortega Chile Burger."
Photo: My friendly server, Michelle, pours a Sierra Nevada "Pale Ale" from the tap, for me to enjoy with my lunch. The beer and wine bar is located inside the compact dining room. After touring the Sierra Nevada brewery last year, I'm a fan of their product. You can enjoy my brewery and eating visit to Sierra Nevada Brewery by clicking on THIS LINK.
Photo: The kitchen door was open to the patio, so I stuck my head in the door and took a photo of the talented chef plying his trade.
Photo: My table was set with two varieties of Tabasco sauce, along with salt, pepper and a bottle of ketchup. My friendly server, Michelle brought two bottles of mustard, on yellow and the other Dijon, along with extra napkins. That's a Sierra Nevada "Pale Ale" from the tap for me to enjoy.
Photo: As you're relaxing on the patio at Old Town Grill, you get a great view of Sacramento Street, the "old section" of downtown Auburn, where many of the buildings date back to the 1850's, and a view of the historic Placer County courthouse.
Photo: Meet Michelle, my amazingly friendly server, who brings my lunch to me with a smile. Yes, that's an "Ortega Chile Burger" and I requested my burger to be cut in half, as it's easier to eat that way. Michelle provided outstanding service, and treated me like a member of her family.
Photo: I'm all smiles, as I'm ready to enjoy my "Ortega Chile Burger," along with a pint of Sierra Nevada "Pale Ale," poured from the tap. I can't imagine a better lunch.
Photo: From the "Burgers" section of the lunch menu, I ordered the "Ortega Chile Burger." The menu describes the "Ortega Chile Burger" as, "1/2 lb Angus beef, topped with Ortega chilies and Swiss cheese." That's a very simple description for an amazing burger. All burgers come with fresh lettuce, tomato, onion, dill pickle, along with a cup of garlic mayonnaise. There are many sides to choose from, including soup, salad, fries, sweet potato fries, fruit, chips or even onion rings, but I went the "middle route" and choice fries.
The menu advertises the burger with Swiss cheese, which seems sort of odd for an "Ortega Chile Burger," and when Michelle asked me if I'd prefer another variety of cheese, I ordered pepper jack, which when combined with Ortega chili peppers... let's say that it added a little spice to my afternoon.
The burger starts off with a half-pound Angus beef patty, cooked to your specification, in my case, since I'm a "joe average" kind of guy, is medium. The meat was cooked to perfection, in my case, medium, which made it juicy, tender, and cooked all around, as opposed to being crusty on the outside and pink on the inside, or just "blah," as you find in your favorite fast food restaurant. When it comes to meat, you get what you pay for, and Old Town Grill delivers a quality meat patty.
If you want a burger, you need a bun, and the Angus meat patty was served on a fresh, sesame seed bun. I might add that Old Town Grill gives you the perfect balance of meat vs. bun, which is crucial to a great burger. Also, there was a layer of thick, pepper jack cheese, along with a ample layer of diced Ortega chili peppers, which gave the name to the burger, the "Ortega Chile Burger."
Fresh garnishes included romaine lettuce, sliced tomato, onion and dill pickle, on the side, so you could assemble the burger your way. Say you don't like onion - what's wrong with you? - you could just leave them out. Aside from the "customization" qualities, I love burgers served this way, as the "hot" stuff is warm, and the "cold" stuff is cool, and when you assemble your burger, you get a taste sensation of hot and cold, which helps to make for a superior burger. Yes, I have had some experience in burgers of all, shapes, sizes and kinds, as a burger of any variety is one of my go-to foods of choice.
Condiments on the side are two varieties of mustard, a cup of garlic mayonnaise, two varities of Tabasco sauce, and a quintessential bottle of ketchup. I applied Dijon mustard to the Angus beef patty, along with the garlic mayonnaise, and used some of the ketchup on the fries, and enjoyed.
The fries were delicious, but nothing special. I can tell you they were perfectly golden brown on the outside, chewy tender inside, lightly season, and neither excessively salty - but you gotta have some salt on fries! - or greasy. Just plain good!
The burger was absolutely perfect, as the meat was tender and juicy, the bun was fresh, the meat vs. bun ratio was perfect, and when the veggies and condiments were added, it made for a well-balanced burger, and an absolute burger-taste sensation! If my description sounds a bit "clinical," let me just state in plain English: This burger was simply amazing! If you're a lover of a fine burger, the "Ortega Chile Burger" at Old Town Grill is for you.
Photo: Cross section of my "Ortega Chile Burger" sits on a bed of the golden fries, with pickle, onion and lettuce on the side. Check out the Ortega chilies and the thick layer of perfectly melted pepper jack cheese. The "hot" meat, cheese and diced chili pepper are on the bun, and when you combine the "cool" veggies, you get a burger taste sensation.
Photo: One bite into my "Ortega Chile Burger" made me a believer in Old Town Grill, and the talent of their chef. Michelle suggested she take a photo of me taking a bite out of my burger, and I happily obliged. Every bite into my "Ortega Chile Burger" was sheer serendipity.
You can't go wrong dining at Old Town Grill, as the food is amazing, the atmosphere is "49'er charming," and the staff are some of the friendliest in Placer County. If you dine outside on the spacious patio, you'll enjoy a breath-taking view of "old" Auburn, which will enhance your savory meal. Take my advice, and head over to Old Town Grill, located in "old town" Auburn, CA, for an amazing dining experience.
Old Town Grill
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