Sometimes it’s hard to find a good place for an office lunch or a family gathering. Joe is allergic to gluten, Mary has diabetes, Heather is a vegan and can’t afford to eat out. Stonefire Grill is here to fix everything. When the fast-casual restaurant invited me to a press lunch at their Pasadena location, I was dubious. I am wary of chains, and it didn’t help that I got them mixed up with Pitfire Pizza. I checked out the website and I was really impressed with the diversity of their menu. They even have a guide for which menu items can be adjusted to meet various dietary requirements.
There is a whole host of vegetarian options, like pizza, pastas and sandwiches. Vegans can enjoy pizzas sans cheese, a roasted cauliflower pita, and almost all of the side dishes. People like diabetics who are on low carb diets can go crazy with grilled chicken, fish, shrimp, and even ribs. Again, almost all of the sides are low carb. For people following a glycemic index plan, I would also take the mashed potatoes and breadsticks off the menu. Gluten-free friends also have a number of choices from the grill and most of the side dishes.
Then there is salad, the great equalizer. Everybody can eat their salads. I tried their BBQ salad with tri-tip and it was excellent. The vegetables are chopped fresh and salad dressings are made in house. Dressings like Cilantro Vinaigrette, Lemon Tahini and Sesame Ginger. Vegans and vegetarians can add quinoa in place of meat on any salad.
I have not forgotten about people on a budget. Stonefire Grill just introduced a $7 menu. With a drink it’s $8.49. Even with a tip, you still can get out of there for ten bucks. Choices include salads, salmon, pesto pasta, pizza, and sandwiches. They also run a lot of dinner specials.
The dining room is large and open, but the way the tables are arranged provides a good amount of privacy. I always like really high booths. Naturally, you can’t really measure customer service when the restaurant knows you are there to write about them. But the PR guy in a business suit who met me and gave me the spiel was busing tables and working the register when I didn’t need him. I asked if he worked out of that restaurant. He said, “Well, I’m here.” Impressive. If I were the boss on Undercover Boss I would pay that guy’s student loan and send him on a cruise. Yes, Stonefire Grill comped my food. But I did honestly think that the chicken breast was moist with a nice char on it, and their BBQ sauce is delicious. And the salad was amazing. Now you have a safe place to take your carnivorous boss or your mom who only wants soup. Tomato soup. Only.