Chief’s Burgers & Brew
Lomas Santa Fe Drive and Cedros
Solana Beach, CA
By Judi Curry
Three of us took the Coaster up to Carlsbad Village for an excursion that we had talked about doing for months. On our way home from Carlsbad, we stopped off in Solana Beach and one of the “natives” suggested that we have lunch at Chief’s. It was relatively close to the train station, and because the other restaurant that had been recommended was closed, we decided to go there.
Actually, we can blame the decision of Irene because Ro and I didn’t care which of two restaurants we went to – “Chief’s” or an Italian restaurant “Caffe La Bocca.” (We now know that we would have enjoyed Caffe La Bocca more, but we will return there at another time.) Irene picked “Chief’s”.
Chief’s Burgers & Brew is a bar with food. It was Friday afternoon, the Master’s Golf Tournament was on, and there were many people eating and drinking at the bar watching the game. Every now and then cheers would go up and people were enjoying the atmosphere.
We found the inside to be quite warm and stuffy. It was a warm day – clouds were forecast – but there wasn’t a cloud in the sky – and there was little air movement inside. We elected to eat outside which in turn was cold…windy… hot… and… nice.
There is an extensive menu – from “starters” to salads, soups, burgers, sandwiches, “everything but the kitchen sink”, etc. Nothing was “cheap” – French fries starting at $3.99 or/and a cup of soup for the same price and most of the meals in the $8-10 range.
The best bargain of the day was their “daily specials” – but, again, not inexpensive. Since it was Friday, their special was two Fish Tacos, Spanish Rice, frijoles, served on either corn or flour tortillas. The cost was $9.99. (Without the rice and frijoles, each taco was $3.99.)
Ro and Irene ordered one order of the Fish Tacos special and split it. In the kitchen the chef separated the order and each received their own taco with their own COLD rice and warm beans. (Ro told the waitress – when she finally appeared to see how things were doing – and her comment was “oh, I’ll have to tell the cook.)
When I asked the server what she suggested she said the “Western Cheeseburger BBQ sauce, with cheddar, lettuce, tomato and onion. It came with French Fries or a small House or Caesar salad, for $10.99. I elected not to have the Western Cheeseburger and, instead, ordered a regular Hamburger with lettuce, tomato, onion, and thousand island dressing. I elected to forgo the onion.
It should have included my choice of white, wheat or onion bun; (I was not offered a choice.) It was supposed to be served with French fries or a small House or Caesar salad – again I was not offered a choice. The cost was $8.99.
I have to say that the hamburger was one of the better ones I have had in a long time. It was comparable to Ragland’s or Hodad’s. It was juicy; cooked well; and very enjoyable. It was so large – 1/2 pounder – that I took half of it home to share with Buddy. Both Irene and Ro said their Taco’s were excellent; well cooked; crispy; and hot. They were both disappointed that the rice was cold, and even more disappointed that the waitress didn’t seem to care.
Ro had an iced tea and she said it tasted very fresh. I had an Arnold Palmer – after all, the Master’s was on – and it, too, was tasty. But it was served with very little ice, and I needed to ask for more to cool it off. Our total bill, with tip, was $33.
In spite of the food being good, our server left a great deal to be desired. She only came back to see how things were when we were almost finished with our meal. We had to ask for things more than once before we got them – ice for the my drink; WI-fi number; etc. The menu said to “ask your server for selections we have today for dessert” and when we did she said all they had was New York Cheese Cake.
But…she was the one that suggested we try the Caffe La Bocca for Gelato – which was an excellent suggestion. Would we go back to Chief’s? Probably not. But..we would return to Caffe La Bocca! And not just for the Gelato.