Alhambra will soon hear the gnashing of metal on metal when Ryan Harkins and Matthew Chernus bust open the city's newest restaurant, Grill ‘Em All Burgers, on Jan. 19 at the Renaissance Theater Plaza. Harkins, a chef who has worked in kitchens across the country, and Chernus, a former professional wrestler, started the Grill 'Em All Burgers food truck in 2009. Center stage on the menu are monstrous, meaty mutations of American classics like the Behemoth: a burly bacon cheeseburger with grilled cheese sanwiches as buns. Harkins and Chernus' heavy metal take on the burger meal made them the first ever winners of Food Network's The Great Food Truck Race.
Alhambra Source tracked down the eccentric duo to see what Grill ‘Em All has in store for Alhambra.
What are "Metal Burgers"?
Matthew Chernus: If you meet Ryan and me, you'll know that it's just who we are. We love metal. It's not some gimmick or marketing scheme. We love our food. That's how we can get ourselves to do this 12 to 18 hours a day.
What led you to come and build a brick and mortar in Alhambra?
MC: To be honest, it kind of fell into our lap. We were casually looking for a space when the former Johnny Rockets came up as a possible location. We viewed it with some friends of ours that have several restaurants and we all agreed that it had a ton of potential. And then we fell in love with the neighborhood too.
Will the menu here be any different from the one on your food truck?
MC: Yeah, we're keeping four or five of the originals, a few of the specials and we're introducing four new burgers at the brick and mortar.
Have you gotten a chance to explore the area?
MC: We have really started to explore Alhambra recently and have found some gems. Belly Busters is one of the most amazing sandwich spots we have been to in California and we also recently stuffed our faces at Dog Haus. Can't wait to dip our toes into the night life too!How has city government been treating you?
Ryan Harkins: Everyone here has been great actually. Everyone seems really stoked on us being here and the feeling is mutual.
Is this restaurant going to be used mainly as a prep kitchen for your food truck or as a full restaurant?
MC: We are not using this as a prep space: This will be a full-on, balls to the wall, Grill Em All restaurant. Painted sh** on the walls, beers, metal on the TV. It's going to be like no other place in town.
A lot of local metalheads will be calling this place home. Could you describe your ideal customer? Who are you building this restaurant for?
RH: Our ideal customer is anyone with money and a love of burgers. Ha! The place is really coming out great Andy Anderson does all our artwork and he has really outdone himself in this space. It looks insane! We are building this restaurant for everyone: Long-haired heshers, suits, hippies, families, freaks, kids, you get the idea. We love what we do and are grateful people seem to as well. This is a place where everyone is welcome and we welcome you to come!
Grill 'Em All is located at 19 E. Main St., Alhambra, Calif., 91801. The restaurant will be open every day from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. starting Jan. 19.
Interview was edited and condensed.