A triple dose of food madness unleashes this Saturday, as multiple stalls officially launch in Downtown Santa Ana. What began as a double tasting served up 50% more flavor when we became privy to an additional concept under the same roof; more on that later. For now, let’s get our quesadilla and burger on!
Our previous encounter with All Flavor No Grease was at Foodbeast’s Oozefest. Previously a pop-up menu, this is Chef Keith Garrett’s (a.k.a. Chef Ocho) first dedicated spot. Taking over the space formerly held by Jinny’s Pizzeria, the growing popularity of his #AFNG hashtag means fans are excited to convene at a consistent location. In addition to Garrett’s notoriously delicious quesadillas, expect tacos and burrito options doused in the same sour cream and green sauce he’s known for.
When asked about the expansion to 4th Street Market, Chef Ocho remarked, “All Flavor No Grease started from our front porch. All we ever wanted to do is create unity through the community by serving great food. Our #AFNG has been able to expand thanks to those who come to support our vision. We are excited to open up our first store at 4th Street Market (next to a couple of other great kitchens.) and create the #AFNG expereince right in the heart of Santa Ana. Stay tuned for 2019, as we haven’t even gotten started yet, Boyyy!”
The verdict: Where’s the grease? Gone. Vanished into the atmosphere. Our digits were oil-free and happy to indulge in another bite of our Triple Threat, a combination quesadilla of shrimp, beef and chicken.
With their original location at TRADE in Irvine, Ground House’s expansion was an exciting one, especially for restaurateur Bear Degidio. For their soft opening, a photo shoot, DJ and live Instagram feed were all on his agenda. Hey, when you’ve got rainbow bun burgers and over-the-top apps served on a custom double lazy Susan, it’s time to throw a party!
Per Degidio, “We are the most disruptive burger restaurant on planet Earth. We are here to bring a new experience to eating a burger that’s more than just food, but a memory equivalent to asking a date to prom, or your first time ever watching LeBron James slam dunk. From our Magical Burger to our Fry Roulette, we are loud, unique, and creating a lane of our own in the food world!”
Our verdict: Mr. Bear’s larger-than-life personality matches the brand he represents. Our fry roulette was a steal at $18 for six different tastes and endless sauces for dipping, as three of us only made a dent. Pro tip: Eat the plain and sweet potato fries first, as they’re the ones to get soggy fastest. Our table had no criticisms about the burgers. We were partial to the Lone Star, dressed with bleu cheese, jalapeños, and horseradish bbq aioli on Texas toast. Alas, the Magical wasn’t available that day, so we couldn’t begin to imagine how crazy rainbow sprinkles and mini marshmallows on our cheeseburger would taste.
Bonus: Steel Pan Pizza, the next concept lined up to launch, was also in soft opening mode that day. The quick story is that they are Detroit-style, which (if you’re not familiar) is a thicker, square shaped pizza. It definitely leans more towards Chicago deep dish, but not quite. As a pizza fan, this is already our favorite new pizza for the year. Why? Because we’re done with the thin crust trend. Give us a caramelized crust and good chew, and all is good in the food hall world. We loved their signature pan pizza, with white sauce, bacon, arugula and chicken. Salad, macs and even a cinnamon version are part of their lineup.
All Flavor No Grease, Ground House Burger and Steel Pan Pizza are located at 201 E. 4th St. in Santa Ana. www.afng108.com website is forthcoming; additional Ground House info can be found here. Steel Pan will be at www.steelpanpizzaco.com soon, but they are on Instagram at @steelpanpizzaco.
A contributing writer for OC Weekly, Anne Marie freelances for multiple online and print publications, and guest judges for culinary competitions. A Bay Area transplant, she graduated with a degree in Hospitality Management from Cal Poly Pomona. Find her on Instagram as brekkiefan.