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Kelly's Grille

Update 4/22/10: Kelly's Grille is closed.

Kelly's GrilleIn a word: As good as the Great Dane on the food front.

The specs: #0294
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; WiSJ review.

JM ate the Fitchburger with a Sprecher.
Nichole ate the citrus pepper salmon with a decaf.
The bill was $28, or $14/person, plus tip.
JM and Nichole gave Kelly's Grille an A- (see our grading rubric).

Latest Kelly's Grille news and reviews

From the outside, Kelly's Grille looks like just another bland corporate-parkland bar. Nestled in rolling green lawns in an office park in Fitchburg, it could be anywhere. The 70s rock on the sound system just reinforced this image. But the understated golf paraphernalia and clean lines in the dining room is where Kelly's departs from the average sports bar (if only into yuppie territory). That, and as we discovered, the food is much better.

SprecherJM started with a root beer - listed as Gray's in the menu, but (not unhappily) Sprecher in practice. Served with a chilled glass, this brought no complaints. Nor did the first cup of a robust pot of coffee the waitress put on just for Nichole. Yum.

BurgerThe Fitchburger, JM's dinner, featured ham, swiss, and onion straws in addition to a massive slab of ground beef. He still wakes up screaming sometimes, not really. He did feel the toppings were lost in the giant burger, which also featured an oversized wheat bun that held up under the load pretty well. Still, he figured he could have been blown away, and just wasn't. The fries, on the other hand, were outstanding. They were hot, fresh, the ideal french fry texture, and salty in a good, good way ("It's like the salt is put on the fry before it was deep-fried."). Nichole stole more than a few.

Salmon

That's not to say she didn't have enough to eat herself. The citrus salmon was one of a few nonstandard entrees that grabbed her eye on the menu. The fish itself was moist and tender throughout, with lemon and lime flavors permeating every bite. The salt and pepper crust was fabulous, as were the grilled fruit slices that served as garnish but were too good to set aside.

The veggie skewers had a good variety of peppers, onions, squash and potatoes. They were flame-broiled without any marinade, which was surprising - but they're also on the appetizer menu, served with szechuan sauce, so maybe they're supposed to be a blank slate. Finally, the coconut rice was sticky and very coconut-ty, if cloying after more than a couple bites.

So, who knew?  Kelly's Grille seems like an ideal lunch choice if you don't wanna fight the crowds at the Great Dane, if you're in the area.  Otherwise, a special trip for special fries is not out of the question either. Of course, be prepared to eat a little too much, but that may be just what you're looking for.

Comments

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Ah, but the question remains: WHICH Great Dane?

Depending on the location, the quality range runs from very poor to rather tasty.

The husband and I stopped in at Kelly's last week for their Monday night 2-burgers-for-$9.99 special.

The burger was fine, cooked exactly how I asked for it. I made the mistake of getting cheese on it, which got lost among the huge patty and toppings.

The fries, while plentiful, were disappointing. They were not the raved-about crinkle-cuts pictured above, but thin little shoestrings (thinner than McD's). Whatever they do to pre-season their fries was hurtful rather than helpful, given the surface-area-to-amount-of-potato ratio.

We split a slice of carrot cake for dessert - while I'm guessing it was just the standard Sysco, it was still good, but would have benefited from a 30-second whirl through the microwave to take the chill off.

Our waitress was adorably perky. One thing I was curious about though, was whether the woman who opened the door for us when we got there and again when we left was supposed to be a greeter of some sort. She was dressed in a white sweatshirt, jeans and sneakers, and was having a personal conversation on her cell phone both times she opened the door for us. I'd really like to think she was just some random customer who spends too much time on her phone but is still nice enough to open doors if she happens to be standing there, but I never actually saw her at a table.

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