Independence Grill – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

The Independence Grill will be much missed
The Independence Grill will be much missed

NOTE: The Independence Grill became another casualty of the economy, shuttering its doors on Sunday, March 14th, 2010. Below this review is a photo retrospective of some of the many things which will be missed about this terrific restaurant.

On January 6, 1941 as President Franklin Delano Roosevelt closed his state of the union address to Congress, he described his vision for a better way of life through what he considered the four essential human freedoms: freedom to worship, freedom from fear, freedom from want and freedom of speech. Those four freedoms, now widely considered the central tenets of modern American liberalism, inspired a set of Four Freedoms paintings by Norman Rockwell, the most famous and successful commercial artist of the time. The Four Freedoms are depicted on framed Rockwell prints in the foyer at Independence Grill.

In an age in which the patriotism of candidates for political office is called to question by opposing candidates, there is no question as to where Jerry Wright stands on the matter of loving his country. Jerry is the proprietor of the Independence Grill which he launched on Monday, November 16th, 2008, several months after closing the Great American Steakhouse, my favorite Albuquerque steakhouse.

Jerry’s vision for his new restaurant is that everyone, regardless of political ideology, should be able to share a meal and civilly (if not amicably) discuss their differences in the hopes that they will arrive at the realization that we all have more in common than we do differences. Ideally that meal should be at the Independence Grill.

The Betsy Ross Flag (ask Jerry about his great grandmother Prudence)

The Independence Grill celebrates Americana with an ambience awash in patriotism. From the American flag on Jerry’s lapel to the Gadsden flag (which depicts a coiled rattlesnake ready to strike and the words “Don’t tread on me”) to the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights, the restaurant reminds one and all that the Constitution is color blind and neither knows nor tolerates classes among its citizens. Don’t forget to ask Jerry about the flag (pictured above) given by Betsy Ross to his great grandmother Prudence Wright several generations removed.

Patriotism even pervades the menu, and not just the Americana inspired appetizers, entrees and desserts. Jerry took some liberties with Jean Leon Gerome Ferris’s famous painting Drafting the Declaration of Independence which depicts Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin at work writing the Declaration, several preliminary drafts crumpled on the floor. The reproduction on the menu has Franklin uttering “I’ll have the burger.”

The burger is just one of the American entrees on the Independence Grill’s menu from which Franklin would have been able to choose. The senior statesman would not, however, have ordered one of the restaurant’s American Kobe (Wagyu beef) cheeseburgers. Franklin was actually a vegetarian, eschewing beef and advocating a vegetarian diet as being healthier than a diet filled with meat. That doesn’t mean Franklin would have gone hungry at the Independence Grill, nor does it mean he couldn’t have had a burger.

When Pigs Fly Monster Pig Wings

Franklin would have had the “World’s Most Dangerous Portabella Burger,” which includes a “carnivores beware” warning on the menu, apprising beef-eaters that it “may make you swear off meat.” The Portabella Burger, which Jerry claims is so good he plans to have at least one a week, features fresh mozzarella, sun-dried tomato and pesto stuffed in a juicy Portobello mushroom served on Ciabatta bread. The menu includes several other vegetarian-friendly entrees, but not Thomas Jefferson’s favorite food, green peas.

Jefferson was well acquainted with and fond of the beef of Hamburgh, Germany and had hamburgers been available in his time, he would undoubtedly have indulged. Fond of rich French foods, he would have loved the Independence Grill’s menu which showcases the rich, unctuous American Kobe cheeseburgers. Jerry considers American Kobe beef the very best beef available) and has made this flavorful meat the foundation of his menu.

Because man cannot live on burgers alone, Jerry’s menu is replete with Americana favorites such as Kobe hot dogs, prime rib, steak, fish and so much more. It’s an ambitious menu sure to please even the most discriminating diners.

Kobe Double Dog Dare

American ambition means an assemblage of appetizers you don’t find just anywhere. The list starts with a shout out to a previous tenant of the building. That would be the Liquid Assets famous calamari and the Thai dipping sauce which made that starter one of the most popular in town.

While many restaurant serve calamari–squid for the uninitiated–as an appetizer, it’s not easy to find a restaurant (especially in landlocked locales like Albuquerque) which serves it well. In most cases it’s overdone, a chewy, rubbery amalgam of twisted slime. Rarely will you find squid with a delicately fried and painfully thin crust and seemingly rarer yet is a dipping sauce more innovative than the standard and boring marinara.

The Independence Grill gets it right on the first count. The calamari is melt-in-your-mouth delicious, a calamari as good as you’ll find in the city. Alas, the dipping sauce is more than a bit on the cloying side, perhaps even a bit syrupy. Real Thai dipping sauces strike a beautiful balance between sweet, tangy and piquant.

The Assets famous Calamari
The Assets famous Calamari

Also available as an appetizer are “American Kobe Doggies,” three corn dogs taken to another level. In the Land of Enchantment, you can’t have appetizers sans green chile and the Independence Grill honors that formula with green chile chicken corn chowder and green chile chicken enchilada.

The appetizer sure to garner a few patriotic salutes and perhaps inspire an anthem of their own are the “When Pigs Fly” Monster Pig Wings. The menu describes them as “great big crispy piggy wings from when they fly too close to the sun.” In actuality, these piggy wings aren’t chicken or even turkey wings. They’re pork “wings” made with the Ossobuco cut of a pork shank. These wings are lacquered with a chipotle barbecue sauce that’s sweet, tangy and more than slightly sassy. They’re served three to an order with a Jalapeno Ranch dipping sauce which the menu claims “brings them back to earth.”

The World’s Most Dangerous Portabella, an outstanding appetizer

If you like to live on the edge, try the world’s most dangerous Veggie Portabella appetizer, grilled mushrooms stuffed to the gills with pesto, fresh Mozzarella and sun-dried tomatoes. Several fleshy fungi are indeed engorged with the mouth-watering trio that go oh so well together. This is one of the better mushroom based appetizers in the Duke City.

America’s favorite pastime, I’ll argue is not baseball, but picnics and one thing sure to be a huge hit with the boys of summer is the Kobe Double Dog Dare, a hot dog “raised to the level of art.” At the Independence Grill, the revered American institution is indeed placed on a pedestal. The frankfurter is made from American Kobe beef, sliced diagonally and nestled on toasted sourdough. If you’re inclined, you can add chile sin carne, green chile or Cheddar cheese, but traditionalists might consider that akin to desecrating the flag.

The Italian Burger

Several garnishes (red onion, pickle, lettuce) accompany the Kobe Double Dog Dare as do standard American mustard and a more adult Dijon mustard (and ketchup for all you perpetrators of culinary taboos), with which you can dress your dog. This hot dog is good enough on its own not to need any amelioration whatsoever.

During the 2009 Souper Bowl in which I was privileged to serve as a judge, the Independence Grill’s soup entry placed third among in the critic’s choice tally. That entry, a cream of mushroom soup with garlic roasted sage is one of the very best soups I’ve had in Albuquerque. It’s almost criminal that it’s not on the daily menu at the Independence Grill, but it would be even worse for the restaurant not to feature a soup of the day. They’re all good.

Sandwiches include one side, platters two. In a culinary skirmish you’ll want these sides on your side. They include the veggie of the day, pineapple coleslaw (a holdover from the Great American Steakhouse days), bottleneck fries, onion rings, sweet potato fries, garlic mashers and pink and purple chips. You haven’t lived if you’ve not partaken of purple potatoes which were some of the very first potatoes ever harvested. For old times sake, long-time fans of the Steakhouse might opt for the pineapple coleslaw which Jerry has improved even more, if that’s possible, with red cabbage.

Wood Fired Prime Rib

There are several American Kobe Cheeseburgers on the menu, all inventive and intriguing. While “Kobe burgers” seem to have become de rigueur on many menus, other restaurants treat Kobe beef as a sideline, almost as a gimmicky (albeit, very expensive) afterthought. Jerry Wright has made American Kobe the basis for his burger menu. In fact, you won’t find regular beef in the burger section. Jerry calls American Kobe the burger for the common person and prices it just above the price point of burgers shipped frozen then thawed out and heated at the popular national chains (the ones I rail about).

Serving American Kobe exclusively to an American fast food culture is a risky venture since many of us are used to wolfing down our Big Macs before we even drive away from the parking lot. My own past experiences with Kobe burgers have left me a bit nonplussed about Kobe. Some of that is because I didn’t want to “desecrate” the beef with condiments which might detract from the meat’s natural flavor. It’s hard to enjoy a burger when you practically worship its traditions. At the Independence Grill, the enjoyment of the Kobe is made much easier because prices are so reasonable. The American Kobe burgers are available in one-third or half-pound sizes.

Perhaps because America is named for an Italian explorer (but more likely because the ingredients go so well together), the Independence Grill offers an “Italian Burger,” crafted with fresh basil, tomato, mozzarella and a garlic olive oil drizzle on a buttery Kaiser roll. That combination makes a pretty good salad (Insalata Caprese) and it makes for a pretty good burger as well. There’s rarely enough basil to suit me, but the buffalo mozzarella (the best) is rich, creamy and delicious.

The Green Monster with a blueberry lemon lime drink and pineapple coleslaw
The Green Monster with a blueberry lemon lime drink and pineapple coleslaw

In 2009, Albuquerque The Magazine went in search of the best burger in Albuquerque. Pairing staffers to sample burgers at forty different burger purveyors, their systematic testing methodology involved ordering two burgers at each restaurant: the specialty of the house and a basic cheese burger prepared at medium. The entire staff then got together and ate at the five restaurants garnering the highest ratings. With more than two-hundred burgers consumed, the winner of the Duke City’s best burger was the Independence Grill.

The latest edition to the Kobe cheeseburger family is a called the Green Monster (not named after Fenway Park’s left-field wall). It’s a unique burger that doesn’t subscribe to the ho-hum template green chile cheeseburgers all seem to follow. As much as I love and adore that template, this burger is a welcome change. The burger is made with New Mexican grown full-blooded Wagyu beef. Green chile is mixed directly into the beef along with a touch of garlic and spices. Each patty is hand-formed with a pocket formed within the patty for Cheddar cheese. Melted on top of the burger on a flattop is a cheese crostini which is then topped with more green chile and Cheddar.

The Green Monster has quickly become one of the restaurant’s most popular burgers. It was one of twenty burgers participating in the governor’s green chile cheeseburger challenge at the New Mexico State Fair and though it didn’t win, it has established a following among burger aficionados.

A beautiful steak in the style of the Great American Land and Cattle Company

When the Great American Steakhouse closed, carnivores wondered where their cravings for their favorite steak would get sated. Because Jerry didn’t want to recreate his former restaurant, his new menu includes only one steak, the classic sirloin, but the menu also includes chicken-fried steak, wood-fired pork ribs and wood-fired prime rib, all reasonably priced.

The oven-fired prime rib is swathed with a rosemary and sage rub and served with a green chile au jus and a horseradish sauce. Order it medium rare and you get it as you ordered–with plenty of pink, lots of flavor and juiciness to spare. The horseradish is somewhat anemic, but that places the focus on the prime rib, as it should. As for that green chile au jus, my friend Bill Resnik thinks so highly of it that if given the choice as to the matter of his death, would choose to drown in a vat of that au jus.

The top sirloin is somewhat reminiscent of the magnificent meats proffered at the Great American Steakhouse, albeit not as thick and juicy. It’s available for lunch and dinner as a first come, first served option.

You can’t have an Americana themed restaurant without apple pie, the quintessential American dessert. The Independence Grill’s rendition is as pretty as a picture, layers of sweet and tart apple slices on a cinnamon streusel crust with a rich caramel topping. My preference would be for it to be served warm, perhaps with a scoop or two of ice cream, instead of cold and right out of the fridge.

Apple Pie

The Independence Grill has terrific libations, adult and otherwise, with which to wash down a great meal. Among the latter are Jones bottled beverages, cane sugar sweetened sodas in glass bottles. Including such flavors as strawberry lime and green apple, they are refreshingly different and delicious. Also available is Coca-Cola de Mexico.

The Independence grill invites you to break free from the chains (corporate) that bind you and try something different, something American.

NOTE: Though I do not believe in censorship, a spate of emails denouncing the perceived ideological stance of Independence Grill owner Jerry Wright, prompted me to pull those emails or risk losing this blog. The blogosphere is replete with sites designed for ideological discourse. This site is not one of them. I’d like to keep this site light-hearted and fun. Like the restaurants I write about, this site is meant to be enjoyed not to provide yet another venue for raising your blood-pressure over ideologically charged content.

The cultural and ideological schism plaguing America has made political discourse mean-spirited and wholly lacking in civility. Ideologues (on both sides of the aisle) don’t seem capable of conceding any merit whatsoever in the opposing viewpoint, but it’s not enough to disagree. Dissenters on both sides seem to have a base need to resort to derisive pejoratives. I suppose it’s easier than discussing those differences in a mature and civil manner, but in the end nothing is resolved and the divisiveness grows.

Jerry Wright is a very open-minded gentleman. I believe he truly meant it when he developed the vision for the Independence Grill: Everyone, regardless of political ideology, should be able to share a meal and civilly (if not amicably) discuss their differences in the hopes that they will arrive at the realization that we all have more in common than we do differences. Over the years, Jerry and I have respectfully and maturely discussed our own differences of opinion. We may not always agree on everything, but we respect one another’s right to have our own opinions.

I urge anyone disagreeing with Jerry on anything–whether it be portion size or politics–to sit down and have a cup of coffee with him. If you feel like reviling him afterwards, that’s entirely your prerogative, but it won’t be published here.

Independence Grill
6910 Montgomery, N.E.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
1st VISIT: 25 November 2008
LATEST VISIT: 13 March 2010
COST: $$ – $$$
BEST BET: Italian Burger, Kobe Double Dog Dare, Wood-Fired Prime Rib, Monster Pig Wings

Some of the things we’ll miss about the Independence Grill

Strawberry and Chocolate Shakes made with real ice cream and served cold
Strawberry and Chocolate Shakes made with real ice cream and served cold
Drunken Fish Wrap — Lime & beer-batter fish with cucumber & pineapple coleslaw wrapped in flour tortilla.
Prime Rib Dip w/ Green Chile Au Jus — Oven Roasted Prime Rib sliced thin & Swiss and served with our au jus with a touch of green chile.
Prime Rib Dip w/ Green Chile Au Jus — Oven Roasted Prime Rib sliced thin & Swiss and served with our au jus with a touch of green chile.
Bacon Wrapped Kobe Doggies plate of 3 minis - Kobe Dog wrapped in bacon and Corn Doggied.
Bacon Wrapped Kobe Doggies plate of 3 minis – Kobe Dog wrapped in bacon and Corn Doggied.

27 thoughts on “Independence Grill – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

  1. Jerry – I was very sorry to hear the news last weekend that Independence Grill was closing its doors. What a tremendous loss for Albuquerque. I thought you had a hit on your hands. Unique menu, highest quality, reasonable prices. Your personal interaction with your customers was something we always looked forward to. And despite some of the feedback above, I did not once see you engage folks at the restaurant in a political discussion. You got a bum rap!

    Sorry it didn’t last. You’ve been a good friend – and were very appreciated by my late wife. I can’t wait to see what you will bounce back with!

    Cheers, Bill

  2. I’m not going to jump into this crazy fray . . . but I’ll mention that the chickles and pips were bizarrely addicting. All that salt! Yeesh. Crunchy flaky batter and uber-thin pickle slices. Wow.

    Maybe I can convince someone like Slate Street or Nob Hill to make those things.

  3. It is not credible to believe that actual Kobe beef was prepared and served at this Restaurant. It seems to me like a clear case of false advertising. True Kobe beef is only of Japanese origin. Some beef served in the U.S. is Wagyu or more likely Wagyu and Angus mixed breeding, none of it is authentic Kobe beef from Kobe prefecture in Japan. My only good experience of the Independence Grill was of a flavorful, but still overspiced cut of Prime Rib. This seemed like the same spice mixture that overpowered the beef flavor of the steaks served at his Steakhouse endeavor. The service was average and in no way exceptional. I don’t think that political ideology and the restaurant business are a good mix. When I go out to eat, I want a good meal and not a good political discussion. Sorry Gil, but this is honest opinion, and not a political rant.

  4. The passing of Jerry’s Independence Grill fills my heart with sadness.

    I was inexplicably drawn to this place several weeks ago, and instantly found it to be one of my newest old favorites.

    Jerry, you did well. I am proud to have been to your place.

  5. The Independence Grill closing is a tremendous loss for Albuquerque. Fantastic food, great atmosphere, wonderful service. I am very sad to see this place go.

  6. What is this? Some kind of religious war?

    Either you understand and love the preparation and presentation of Kobe beef burgers, or you don’t.

    In the later case, you would probably be happier downing your fetid quarter-pounder-with-cheese in the McD parking lot accompanied by a lukewarm Coors (they deserve each other).

    Me? Give me Jerry’s Italian Burger or Green Monster anytime.

    Both make me smile.

  7. Independence Grill is my favorite place to take my family or just the girls after work. We probably go at least once a week, so I feel pretty “in the know” when it comes to this place. I too am baffled by the negative reviews, some of which don’t even have accurate details. I wonder if they are competitors with an axe to grind. I would suggest trying the restaurant for yourself. After all, you know what you like. If you order a burger, I prefer the 1/2 pound to the 1/3 pound because it is a thicker patty, and I think the Kobe flavor is better revealed. My current favorite is the Bacon Avocado burger, although I mix it up a bit and get the Greek when I feel different. The owners are a very friendly family, and I like to support local businesses. It’s tough to start a business right now, and I like to do my part to keep the GOOD restaurants open till the economy picks up. Otherwise, there won’t be anywhere left to eat except the fast food and big chains. Jerry takes pride in his place and is there 6 days a week. At least you know when the natural kinks happen with servers, cooks, etc, the owner is there and has a personal interest in making it right for you. I see his family eating there all the time which has to count for something.

  8. Wow! My husband and I have been to the Independence Grill several times and love all of the dishes that we have tried. As with any dining out experience there will be an experience that is less than exceptional, which we had one time at the Grill. The problem was corrected and we were not apprehensive to return many more times to this establishment. I encourage anyone who has had a disappointing experience with the Independence Grill to give it another try, maybe you were there on a night when someone called in sick or there was a staff change or some other situation that caused things to “go bad”. Having been in the customer service industry myself there are times when one has a customer that when one thing goes wrong, everything goes wrong. A Murphy’s Law sort of thing if you will. When we go out for dinner, we go to the Independence Grill, there is no better food in town!

  9. My three children and I went for dinner tonight. I have heard so much about the Green Monster Burger, so I ordered it, not only was it fantastic and prepared perfectly, there was enough to bring home. ( I have lunch for Thursday, LOL). The Hostess was so nice (did not catch her name, in high school I would guess).
    Two of my kids are under 9 and the coloring pages she gave them were great, she made us feel right at home with asking what grade they were in, so happens she went to the same Elementary School and they have shared a common teacher.” Not at the same time”. Our Server, Carol, was so knowledgeable about the menu. Since this was my first visit, I had a few questions. The atmosphere is warm and homey. My kids ate everything on their plate, but none of them went for the veggie of the day. Me either, YUCK, something Mom makes you do at home. (Get the Sweet Potato Fries I did, all gone!!!) I will be going back!! I will also recommend Independence Grill to my Family and friends. Hope Carol is working!! One thing though, not everything is perfect, the Bathroom was a little on the chilly side.

  10. These negative reviews boggle me. It’s almost as if you folks ate at an entirely different place than I did.

    I became interested in trying out the food at the Independence Grill when I heard from friends that the owners are local champions of free speech and individual rights. I thought, “Well, at the least, I’ll be supporting someone whose mindset I agree with.”

    I was surprised by just how EXCELLENT the food was — and the service followed suit, from the first minute to the last. Although this was the only occasion on which I’ve eaten there, if their other waiters display the same intelligence and qualities as mine did (his name was Chris), then the service is highly commendable! We wanted for nothing during the entire visit.

    I ordered the Italian Burger, since it had won “Best Burger in Albuquerque” in a local magazine; I was obviously curious. My wife ordered the fish and chips. We both loved every bite; even the side orders were quite obviously made from scratch in-house, and we were delighted with the entire experience. I don’t remember ever having a better burger in this town. That American Kobe beef really is different from the processed stuff we’re used to these days!

    The combination of formality and informality works extremely well. The staff has a terrific, warm sense of humor, and an even stronger sense of “accommodating the guests at all costs.” It’s a comfy place, which was nice, since we don’t like stuffy restaurants. We were thanked for coming in by no less than three different people. We never felt a sense of “just being another pair of customers.” We were treated with great attention.

    I now highly recommend this restaurant to all of my friends. We’ll definitely be back!


  11. Really really poor service. Food is unique just enough to be called better than average but barely…The only saving grace for them is they seem clueless about how oddly informal and unprofessional they are. I hate to complain so harshly like so many others on this site but I want to help this restuarant. They are on to something but they need some help or they are going down! I mean its DEAD in there everytime Ive driven by or gone in. They servers were complaining about it within earshot. They cant be making any money on tips with their poor service and no customers.

  12. sadly I have to agree with the negative comments above. The very first time i visited, the burger was good, service and atmosphere pretty lame but par for albuquerque so i blew it off. But upon returning on a few subsequent visits I have to agree I dont give it much more time to stay open unless the owner has a huge reserve of money to throw at it. Expensive sub par service and food in a cursed location that has seen many other restuarants fail. Sad. Perhaps they can read some of these comments and bring in a specialist to help them or something the concept and menu is great but there is no follow through. I wont get into specifics but Im being honest and objective and say its OK to Good if they can fix the glitches. they need better advertising and signage and PR. Theyve been open long enough to not blame it on ironing out the wrinkles.

  13. This place is not worth the money to get to it. I am a cross country truck driver, stopping at many different slop joints across this country. I have never had a worse meal in my life. I happen to be a bucher in a previous time and I can assure you-there is no kobe beef in any danger of being consumed is this place. Will not be back!!!!!

  14. I had an awful experience there… Ordered the Kobe burger medium. My daughter’s corn dog came to the table way before my burger came, and when it did, it was charred – well done would be an understatement. So I waited and waited and waited for the server to come back to tell him, but I saw hide nor hair of him for 20 minutes. My daughter was done with her lunch by the time I even started mine. I went ahead and ate the burger because I was starving. The server came by maybe 10 minutes after I had finished, I told him about the problem, he said, “Oh goodness, I’m so sorry!” and bopped back into the kitchen. It took 15 MORE minutes to flag him down to get our check. No offer to take anything off the check… Time and money wasted (REALLY! The only Kobe burger in town and you do THIS to it!) and I will not be back.

  15. Well. I am not sure where to even start. But I can say this, I wish I had started here. If I had read these comments I would not have wasted my hard earned money in this dump. Nicole you must be a friend or family member of the above named cook. Nobody knows the cook in a crap hole like this. OK, now I met the very deceiving “Jerry” at the State Fair during the burger competition. ( He said it was good but they couldn’t give out samples)He was very outgoing and friendly and doing a great job of promoting his business. I have been in the restaurant business for over 16 years and found him to be refreshing since I too feel NM lacks in its restaurant know how. I drove from the East Mountains to try the Independance Grill and wish I had stayed home. I am sick now from the food I barely consumed in this place one hour ago.
    I ordered the Blue Cheese Burger and my husband ordered the Green Chile Burger they promoted at the fair. Well….. let me start by saying it was dead on a Saturday night and they were cutting the floor of waitstaff at 7, which should have been my first warning. My husband and I each ordered a dinner salad which arrived just minutes before the garbage they called Kobe? (or Fobe) beef. I would swear and maybe even bet ten dollars those patties were frozen processed from Wal M***. I inquired as to the amount of actual Fobe beef and was given the run around. In the end what I understand is it is not really Kobe but some knock off mixture and they are trying to get some other people in Edgewood to produce more of a “pure” Kobe beef for them! The imitation Fobe burger was so greasy, salty, and undercooked I could not finish it. My husband’s burger was burned all the way around and bloody pink in the middle. Both of us ordered them medium well which, the owner said should have been pink in the middle. I would argue (and I did) that medium well is cooked through but still juicy were well is on the drier over cooked side. The fries were over salty and the meal was less than worth the trouble. Even for Albuquerque this was truly appauling. Oh yeah and lets not mention the price of said imitation Fo Kobe. A horrible dinner for two at the rate of 17.95 per burger! I have had real Kobe and this was nowhere near the great tasting tender beef sold in high end steak houses.

    WARNING TO ALL: Save your money and eat somewhere else!

    I don’t expect to see them open by the next State Fair. WHO PROMOTES A GREEN CHILE BURGER IN NM MADE OF FROZEN CHOPPED CHILE! UGH… I haven’t regretted eating out in so long. This place makes Tortinos frozen pizza sound great right now. I have to go here comes the Fobe back for revenge. Heed my warning stay away. Channel 7 is coming and they have a red sticker in hand!

  16. In Regards to comment left by Lousie and Jeff:

    How can a burger be cooked in the middle and raw on the edges?
    I think that you are not properly educated on Kobe beef to know how it should be cooked or taste. I have personally had the Patriot Burger and it was execeptional. The Chickles and Pips are also great

    The chef, John Apodaca Jr, who recently took over the kichen, is doing an extraordinary job.

    Love your food- see you soon!

  17. My husband was in Albuquerque this past week on business and I joined him for a long weekend. We have been very pleased with our dining experiences with the exception of Independence Grill. We were very disappointed with our experience on all levels from the kitchen to the wait staff. We ordered the Calamari and it was mediocre at best; a bit on the chewy side and the sauce was way too sweet and thin. My husband and I split a burger; the Patriot burger 1/2 lb. The only thing done right with this burger was the egg, it was cooked perfectly. We ordered the burger medium and when we cut it in half we thought it was cooked correctly only to find out as we ate a few more bites it was completely raw towards the edges (I didn’t even think this was possible). The meat had absolutely no flavor and even salt and pepper couldn’t help it out. The kitchen forgot to put the 1000 island sauce on the burger, but put green chili sauce on (not part of the menu description) which didn’t make a difference either way because it too had zero flavor. During our meal we were ignored by the wait staff who were more interested in talking on the phone and making milkshakes for themselves than checking on customers. When we told the wait staff that our burger was raw, had green chili sauce on it and was flavorless, she never offered a replacement or really even an apology. She did speak to someone and took 10% off our meal which ended up being $2.70. I honestly have to say this was the worst dining experience I have had in my life and would advise everyone to stay away from the place and at the very least, don’t order a burger!

  18. I had the kobe burger the last time I visited. Burger was pretty good but they overcooked it a little. I sat at the bar and I was amazed that I had to ask for a refill of me tea when the bartender stood three feet away from me. The place was not busy it was two o’clock in the afternoon on a Sunday. I also received my burger about ten minutes before I got my fries. By the time I had gotten my fries my burger was three fourths consumed. Typical bad service that I have come to expect in ABQ. And what kind of fries are those? I didn’t like them at all. What happened to real fries? Not sure what they were. This place is way ovverated. I give it another six months at the most. I will not frequent this place again.

  19. My husband & I do not often eat out. Still, I can say with confidence, that I have never had salmon better prepared in any other restaurant. The prime rib is also the best I have ever eaten. To my surprise, every time we have eaten at Independence Grill, friends of our also were dining there. It really is a “Cheers” kind of place. The sweet potato fries are my favorite side. Portions are generous; we almost always need a doggie bag.

  20. After hearing many good things about the Independence grill, I finally took my lovely wife out to celebrate our 16th anniversary (Feb. 19) and we were both quite pleased with the fantastic food and the great service. My wife, whose taste buds are quite a bit more refined than mine, ordered the prime rib plate and after one taste, swears that it was the best she has ever had. Fortunately, she did allow me a bite or two off of her plate, and I whole heartedly agree. I had to try the “Piggie Wings” and was very happy with my choice. They, too, were delicious!
    I read “Barb’s” comments on this site and can not believe that we were both in the same restaurant. Her complaint about the food was one thing that I guess you can attribute to taste, but her complaint about the staff was surprising. Not only did we think that the waitress was fantastic, but the owner came out from behind the bar and talked to just about every customer in the place. His biggest concern was that each visitor was content with his/her meal and had a good experience.
    I can not remember the last time an owner or even a manager of a restaurant here in Albq. did that. That type of personal service (along with the great food) will keep us coming back!!!

  21. OK, I guess I’m not sophisticated enough to distinguish Kobe beef from Kansas City beef anyway, so we went with the Chicken Fried Steaks…our favorite at the owner’s previous restaurant, the Great Land and Cattle Company (Indian School/Tramway). We both had the 1/2 order, mine with traditional fries, her’s with the sweet potato fries. Mine were perfect , she thought her’s were over-cooked, and a little tough. The half-order fills half the platter. Even at 230lbs., I know I could not have finished the “full order.” They were excellent, with few “strings” attached. 🙂

    We will be back to try some of their many burger combinations, and diverse alcohol choices. To be fair, they were still re-stuccoing the front of the building. Anything “new” has to have some time to break in, and that is never more true than in restaurants. Nice atmosphere also. Form your own opinions from your own experience.

  22. Two friends and I went to the Independence Grill for lunch. It was very disappointing. The calamari and sweet potato fries were barely warm and had to be returned to the kitchen for reheating. The fries came back hot, but greasy. The onion rings were also greasy. The grilled chicken w/ avocado & gruyere sandwich was ok, but could have been improved upon with some sort of a light, spicy sauce to heighten the taste and cut the dryness. Service was sketchy. Our waiter had to be twice reminded of a wine order and our water glasses were never refilled. We paid our tab, as our waiter was leaving, but 2 of us stayed behind for a second glass of wine and coffee. No other wait staff was anywhere to be seen, so we ordered our beverages directly from the bar. Our table was not cleared, and we finished our visit amidst dirty glasses and plates. All in all, it was quite an unsatisfactory experience and we will not be returning to the Independence Grill.

  23. Been to the Independence Grill three times. Only had burgers as main dishes so far. Loved the Monster Pig Wings and the pineapple coleslaw. The rest was so so. My taster is perhaps too far gone to appreciate the merits of Kobe beef. Their green chili was so so. Not very spicey and my companion and I were picking bits and pieces of burnt skin out of our teeth all afternoon–but it from Bueno or Albuquerque Tortilla Co. The steak fries and onion rings were very greasy and the onion rings had too much batter and not enough onion–go the Rexs-Bubsters for rings. The chili sin carne had an aromatic smokey flavor from the comino but you couldn’t tell it was chili. Keep up you great work. John L

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