Daily Grill

This California-based outlet might be steep for classic American diner fare, but its $2 kids meals are a hit

Restaurant Review
Photo by John Anderson

Daily Grill

11506 Century Oaks Terrace, 836-4200
Monday-Thursday, 11am-10pm (bar until 11pm); Friday-Saturday, 11am-11pm (bar until 12mid); Sunday, 11am-9pm
www.dailygrill.com

Like most parents, especially working parents, I am continually pulled between the urge to order an easy weekday meal from a restaurant and my better judgment not to spend the extra cash. After all, regular meals out for an entire family can become an expensive habit. So when I heard about a recent promotion offering $2 kids lunches at Daily Grill in the Domain, I knew I wanted to investigate. This California-based outlet is a sleek interpretation of a classic American eatery whose concept blends studied chic with timeless comfort. Here, framed black-and-white photos of Fifties movie stars in various Hollywood restaurants line the walls, a fully stocked bar dominates one-half of the restaurant, and snug booths define much of the seating area.

Like diners of old, the nostalgic menu features classics such as chicken potpie, meat loaf, fish and chips, meaty hamburgers, and ample-portioned desserts that reach for the sky. A dressed-up dinner menu of steaks, pastas, fish, and chicken dishes reads like a greatest-hits list from the past 40 years. However, unlike diners of yesteryear, regular meals at this uptown Daily Grill can bring a gold-studded price tag. At lunch, most sandwiches and burgers start at $10. A BLT runs you $8.95, while a tuna melt with fries will set you back $11.50. OK, so the portions are huge, and it is conceivable that two people could split a sandwich. I'll also give extra credit for the fact that the tuna melt, on crisp grilled rye and dripping with cheddar cheese, mayonnaise, and flavorful tuna salad, was an excellent rendition on the genre. Nonetheless, when I drop $12 on a sandwich, I generally expect to eat something a little fussier than a tuna melt.

Still, as I recently discovered with the kids' meal specials, good values can be had here. For an unspecified time, all kids meals at Daily Grill are just $2 (with purchase of adult meals) and include a fountain drink, any item off the kids menu, and ice cream for dessert. A few weeks ago, I took four 8-year-old boys to lunch there. Their responses were overwhelmingly positive, and generally, the kids were impressed by the restaurant's clubby atmosphere. Two of the boys stated that "the food was great, and the service was great." And it is true that the waiter was very patient and completely unbothered when one of the boys spilled his drink on the table. However, neither did he make any moves to clean it up, leaving us to manage with saturated root-beer napkins as a centerpiece.

The kids menu offers more variety than most restaurants. Just about everything kids love is on it, from hot dogs and macaroni and cheese to pasta with tomato sauce. I was delighted that the children's chicken nuggets were made of real chicken breast, cut in strips and flour-dusted to order, and the fish sticks were actually just miniature versions of the same fish and chips featured on the adult menu. My own son ordered the kids cheeseburgers, which were the size of White Castle sliders and served on fresh brioche-style buns. He greedily devoured both of them. "Those were the best burgers I ever tasted," he declared. The kids also uniformly loved Daily Grill's crispy shoestring fries. When asked how Daily Grill compared to McDonald's – the gold standard of restaurants for most 8-year-old boys – one child responded, "McDonald's is down here [holding his hand close to the table], while this place is up here [holding his other hand above his head]."

Mom's opinion of Daily Grill is slightly more tempered. The food is competent if somewhat typical, but with careful ordering and planning, Daily Grill can be a bargain for families.

Sign up for the Chronicle Cooking newsletter

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

If you want to submit a recipe, send it to food@austinchronicle.com

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Food Reviews
A Trio of Mediterranean Dining
A Trio of Mediterranean Dining
Just when you thought you couldn't possibly get any shawarma, right?

Wayne Alan Brenner, Sept. 4, 2020

Hot Sauce: Your Lifestyle Is the Target
Hot Sauce: Your Lifestyle Is the Target
What does your favorite condiment reveal about who you are?

Wayne Alan Brenner, Aug. 28, 2020

More by Rachel Feit
Kitchen Ghosts
Kitchen Ghosts
Unearthing Austin's culinary history: Schneider Beer Vaults

May 20, 2016

Walking the Fine-Dining Line
Walking the Fine-Dining Line
How much is too much for Austin diners?

May 6, 2016

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Daily Grill, Domain, kids menu

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle