Everyone has their favorite spot to dine out. It's usually the type of place where the waitress or bartender knows your order, your first (and last) name, and even what table you prefer.
Of course, you know all their secrets, too. Like special dishes that aren't listed on the menu, and what day to get them.
At Granger's Grille in Delray Beach, the dozens of classic, homestyle menu items have been attracting a loyal following since the restaurant first opened in 1995.
Here, owner and chef Tim McLarney has been serving his famous chili -- a recipe he's been using since 1977 -- alongside many of his other homemade comfort food favorites. Take the glorified grilled cheese, made with a six-cheese blend and customizable with everything from fried green tomatoes and fried bologna, to broccoli and jalapeños. The reuben corned beef sandwich is another house favorite, made on-premise each week, sliced thin and piled high, then topped with sauerkraut, homemade thousand island dressing, and swiss cheese. There's even a few seafood hits, like McLarney's award-winning conch chowder, or a fried shrimp roll served on a toasted hoagie roll with onions, tomato, and tartar sauce.
Until recently, each menu item was prepped and made by McLarney himself, a self-taught chef who traveled extensively to compile the Granger's menu. Today -- almost 20 years since the lunch and dinner spot first opened -- Austin Steller has taken over as chef de cuisine while staying true to the exact preparation for each of McLarney's dishes.
McLarney still insists in making a few things himself, however, like the homemade soups and sauces, most of them secret recipes. That includes the special rub recipe for his smoked ribs, what has become a twice-weekly special loyal patrons have been raving about for decades.
But you won't find the ribs dish on the menu; you simply have to know when to get them.
General manager Francesca Velluzzi knows rib day -- every Wednesday and Saturday -- will be busy. At Granger's, you can't reserve a table, but you can reserve your food, and people often do. Velluzzi said she'll spend the early part of the afternoon taking rib orders by phone, selling out in a matter of hours.
The ribs are the product of a three-day prep process, starting with McLarney's special rub. They're left to marinate over night, and the next day chef Steller bakes them low and slow. Finally, they're smoked for several hours in the morning, grilled, and served in full- and half-portions a side of homemade corn bread, cole slaw, and chuck wagon beans ($20-$14).
Follow Nicole Danna on Twitter, @SoFloNicole.
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