This past week’s restaurant choice was the Burnt Lemon Grill located on South Main in Burley. This is a restaurant my wife eats at with regularity, the patronage coming at the result of their excellent salads.

Ambiance: Any restaurant that opens in a space where another restaurant has failed should give every owner the chills. The Burnt Lemon building has been a number of things over its lifespan, starting as a KFC, then being the home to many flash in the pan here one day, gone the next restaurants. Because you are inheriting a space purpose built for someone else, in this case it was KFC, you basically have to adapt your restaurant to a place that fits the original layout. The colors on the walls are bold but that is the extent of what I have seen there. One unique feature of the Burnt Lemon are the various signs and slogans that adorn the walls. They vary in boldness but include signs like “Our aim is to please, your aim will help” that hangs proudly in the men’s bathroom.

Seating: The tables, chairs and booths look the same as they have for each failing business that have existed in the building. Tables will seat up to four and the booths, though rough looking in places, are extremely comfortable. It is possible to hear nearly every word that was spoken by anyone in the building. There are a few televisions in the dining room but I couldn’t hear any audio from them, just pictures.

Noise: I don’t recall hearing anything from the kitchen, just from the people around us. The building sits right on Overland Ave, which some might feel is too noisy, but we didn’t notice the sound of traffic. As I mentioned earlier, don’t have a conversation that you aren’t willing for everyone else in the dining room to hear, even if you use a quiet voice.

Bathrooms: There are separate men’s and women’s bathrooms but the signs on the doors are next to impossible to see in the dark hallway. I had to reach in and turn on the light in the first bathroom in order to see that I was in the proper facility. Both are single occupant bathrooms, so you don’t have to share. They were clean and acceptable but far from perfect.

Service: Here lies one of the chinks in the armor for the Burnt Lemon Grill. There is no service. You place your order at the counter and depending on how busy they are, they might bring your basket to your table. If they are busy, they will simply call out your name. Drinks are self-serve so you can refill to your heart’s content. There are no napkins or salt and pepper on your table nor are there ketchup or other condiments. For those you need to leave the comfort of your booth and serve them up yourself.

Food: There are so many meal options It can be truly daunting to select just one. My first thought was that they really can’t be good enough to have all these options and have them taste good, but for our experience they just might be up to it. I had the Philly cheesesteak sandwich that was quite delicious. There was a good mix of thinly sliced beef along with caramelized mushrooms, onions and green peppers. The bun was toasted on the grill, giving it a fantastic crunch as you took a bite into your sandwich. The meat was slightly overcooked, taking on a darker taste and color than I would have preferred but I ate every morsel on my plate.

Cheryl had the Hawaiian Chicken Salad that came heaping full of ingredients. The mixed greens included slices of grilled chicken, ham, pineapple and tomatoes, accented by a delicious honey mustard dressing that came out with extra sauce. The presentation for the food was nice for both dishes but it was a little odd to have my sandwich come out in a pie tin while Cheryl’s meal came out in a Styrofoam to go container.

All in all, I would give the Burnt Lemon Grill a very good rating. The cost of our two meals was less than $20 and because there was no service, we did not leave a tip. Please don’t judge this book by its cover. The outside of the building is tired and frankly the inside is anything but modern, but the food really speaks for itself. I’ll be adding this to my round of lunch destinations because there are so many choices of terrific food just waiting to be ordered.

The Burnt Lemon Grill is located at 2126 Overland Ave. in Burley, across from the Southern Mr. Gas station. The drive-up window is for take-out orders only. You can pre-order by calling 208-647-0223.

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