All photos are courtesy of Grub Burger Bar.
I’m not sure why, but there seems to be a nearly invisible dividing line across 121. Yes, I know that’s the actual border between Frisco and Plano, but that’s not what I’m talking about. The dividing line works like this:
Hungry? Great! Want to go out to eat? Yes. Interested in crossing 121? Nope. Not at all.
For some unknown reason, there’s an unspoken brick wall between Frisco residents and Plano restaurants; we never seem to want to cross over city lines to grab a bite to eat, unless we’re getting fancy and heading out to Legacy West.
Yes, I know, we have so many options here in town that there seems to be no need. Yes, I know it’s great to keep your restaurant patronage here within the borders of our town for economic reasons. True and valid.
But there also happens to be some amazing places to grab a bite to eat South of 121 and some of them even have incredibly strong Frisco ties that are worth checking out.
Grub Burger Bar is one of them.
With 30 locations nationwide, Grub Burger Bar is a fast-casual restaurant that is passionate about great food, great drinks, and great hospitality. Grub’s Plano location has an upscale urban feel, with a wide-open bar and ample comfortable seating.
But even though Grub’s zip code reads Plano, its Frisco ties run deep.
Greg McDonald, the managing partner, and his entire family are intricately connected to Plano’s Northern neighbor. He explains,
My wife Kristy and I have lived in Frisco for over 20 years, so obviously Frisco has been a big part of our lives. Our kids grew up here, we have owned businesses here and we both grew up in North Dallas! I think that still makes us natives, right?
But Greg has deep restaurant roots too, as often happens in this industry. He’s been in the business since college and returned to it after a brief stint in the financial industry early in his career. Food and hospitality are in his blood, it seems. You can often find him chatting with regulars, delivering burgers, or working the register.
He’s passionate about the people, getting to know them, and hearing their stories. It’s what keeps him going and what creates the open and welcoming vibe you get the moment you walk in the door.
Grub is upscale fast-casual dining — a hybrid of sorts — combining the convenience of counter ordering and self-serve drinks with the hospitality of an attentive yet unobtrusive serving team who deliver your order, refill drinks and check in on you often. Plus, Greg is quick to point out, they’ve got a full bar.
The Grub Burger concept is what we consider fast-casual plus. The plus is the full bar we offer, as well as the additional service available once you get to your table. Not many fast casual brands have those options available.
Spend just a few minutes at Grub and you’ll see how Greg’s positive energy extends to the entire team. You’re greeted warmly and made to feel as if you belong right away. Every member of the staff is friendly and helpful. This isn’t just a team of employees, it’s a family. And that family vibe flows right on down to us, the customers, as we begin after just a few visits, to feel like family ourselves.
This is the atmosphere that sets Grub apart. Situated near a multitude of Plano businesses, it’s a hot spot for business lunches and casual happy hour get-togethers.
The waitstaff and bartenders know their customers and there’s definitely a group of lunchtime regulars.
That doesn’t discount the family-friendly atmosphere, though. This is definitely a place where all ages are welcome and celebrated. Greg loves this about Grub:
Being a fast-casual burger-centric place, we obviously gear towards a more family oriented clientele. We see a lot of youth sports teams, family birthday dinners and also school spirit nights here. The bonus is, Mom and Dad can also have a nice cocktail or beer at the same time!
And the food, well, that’s worth crossing 121 for, too. The burgers at Grub deserve more praise than I can possibly give them in one short article.
These are some of the most delightfully monster-esque burgers in town and they’re as creative as they are unique. There’s a burger for everyone on this menu. And we mean everyone.
From the Front Porch Burger for the traditionalists to the Scorpion Burger for the ones who can never get enough heat, these burgers are fun, creative, and extremely well-executed. The patties themselves are hearty and thick but it’s in the toppings that they really excel — thick slabs of bacon, giant onion rings, and even, on the Mac and Cheese Burger, an almost (and I mean almost) obscene glob of mac and cheese so over-the-top it’s nearly become Instafamous.
But the menu doesn’t stop there. The cocktails are creative and fun — beautifully presented and generously poured. The salads are light and excellently balanced and the bowls are filled to the brim with flavor and texture.
And because nothing says “GRUB” like a giant milkshake after a giant burger, they go ALL-IN with the milkshake menu.
Available for both adults, which are a little boozy, and kids, which are not, the shakes are fun (think Worms and Dirt instead of Cookies and Cream), rich and delicious. And if this isn’t the best endorsement around, my oldest declared them the “best milkshakes on planet earth.” So there’s that.
Even with the gigantic burgers and monster shakes, my favorite part of Grub is surprisingly not the menu. It’s close, but not quite. Instead, it’s the spirit of the people. Greg McDonald and his team have done an amazing job creating a spot that makes you feel at home from the moment you walk in the door.
It’s clear they take food very seriously; themselves, less so. It’s whimsical and creative and, yes, even fun. The vibe of Grub fits the menu and vice versa. It’s an energy and a place that makes me want to come back, again and again.
And that, Frisco, is reason enough to cross into Plano to grab a bite and meet the non-local team with deep Frisco ties.
Sunday – Thursday: 11 am – 9 pm
Friday – Saturday: 11 am – 10 pm
8255 Preston Road, Suite 300
Plano, TX 75024