St. John’s Bar & Grill is one of those places you’d never go into unless a trusted friend told you to do so. It’s equal parts dive, sports bar, burger joint, and 1980s time capsule. St. John’s has a lengthy menu full of greasy spoon delicacies, an awesome collection of flatscreen TVs, and some of the worst decor in the entire Silicon Valley. In other words, it’s pretty much the most perfect happy hour venue you could ever hope to find.
” I beheld the full glory of the bacon & cheese fries “
If you live within twenty miles of Sunnyvale and have even a vague interest in sports, you are required by law to be at St. John’s anytime there’s a televised sporting event… which is pretty much every night. If the televised sporting event in question happens to be a championship game of some sort, it’s an absolute guarantee that the place will be PACKED. St. John’s is normally closed on Sundays, but because 87.2%* of all football games are broadcast on Sundays, the restaurant is open seven days a week during football season. The folks running St. John’s certainly know what side their bread is buttered on.
*All statistics are made up and therefore wildly inaccurate.
So what about the food? To be perfectly honest, I have only sampled a small portion of St. John’s menu, but that portion has been excellent. The burgers are very, very good. They are just exactly greasy enough to be decadent without being gross, and they are served in plastic baskets with red and white wax paper, just as they should be. The restaurant’s website claims that they are the “Best Burgers in Silicon Valley”, a statement I disagree with both philosophically and grammatically. St. John’s also claims to make the “Best French Fries in the Universe!”, an absurd declaration further reduced in effectiveness due to unnecessary quotation marks.
With that said, I can respect any restaurant with the cojones to make either of the above statements, accurate or otherwise. The fact still remains that grub at St. John’s is exceptionally tasty, so ignore my grammar nitpicks and order yourself a cheesesteak already.
Oh, I didn’t mention the cheesesteaks? Well, allow me to do so now. I wouldn’t say that St. John’s cheesesteaks are truly Philadelphically accurate (an adjective I made up just now), but my California-raised palate thinks they taste just fine and dandy. There’s lots of cheese, lots of nicely grilled steak, and a good, fresh bun. No complaints here.
On my most recent visit, I had the opportunity to feast on an order of aptly-named bacon & cheese fries. I waited patiently in the odd, cramped walkway that doubles as the food pickup area and did my best not to get in the way. I failed. After narrowly dodging a pair of chicken sandwiches and a basket of fried zucchini, I finally managed to grab my order of fries and escape with a minimal amount of elbowing people in the face. It wasn’t until I was seated that I beheld the full glory of the bacon & cheese fries; they are a thing of true beauty. They taste pretty much exactly how they look: Like a baked potato that is halfway through turning itself into a pile of french fries. The bacon was crisp, the cheese was plentiful, and the sour cream was a genius garnish on this kingly mountain of cholesterol. Two huge thumbs up for this one.
To wrap this review up, I have to admit to myself that I’d be darned happy to visit St. John’s Bar & Grill any day of the week. The burgers are very good indeed, but not quite in that elusive “crazy awesome” range that restaurants like this aspire to achieve. The cheese steaks and fries are solid though, and that alone is worth 187 out of 200 square yards of horrid wood paneling. St. John’s is an easy recommendation, especially if you’re looking for a half-decent place to catch the next big game on TV.
St. John’s Bar & Grill
510 Lawrence Expressway
Sunnyvale, CA 94085
Standard Restaurant Review Disclaimer
The ambiguous and illogical rating system used in this review is not intended to be pinpoint accurate. It’s only there to give you a general idea of how much I like or dislike an establishment, and it also gives me an excuse to write silly things. If my rating system angers and distracts you, there’s a good chance you have control issues. I would also like to point out that I am not a highly qualified restaurant reviewer person, nor do I particularly care what that job is called. If you were under the impression that perhaps I was one of those people, consider your hopes dashed. Lastly, wow! You read the entire disclaimer. You get a gold star on your chart today.