The Great American Grill in Hilmar celebrated their one-year anniversary on April 1. While the restaurant has seen their business boom since their opening, the team has no plans of stopping growth.

Located on 1st Street in Hilmar, the Great American Grill currently occupies the lot that housed the now-closed Lola’s Bistro & Express restaurant. The 11-and-a-half-acre property, which was also a part of the Meadowland golf course that closed in 2004, was purchased by Hilmar resident James Brenda. Brenda was involved with Lola’s Bistro prior to their closure in 2015. Since then, he has used his skills as a developer and designer to create the place that the Great American Grill is today.

Kayla Casey is the general manager and event coordinator of the Great American Grill. She explained that the restaurant is becoming a go-to place for events and activities of all kinds.

“We’re very active in the community as we do a lot of events have several events a week,” Casey explained. “We have live music on Thursdays, a cornhole league that plays here, we have a great outdoor venue. We also do birthday parties, baby showers, bridal showers. We have hosted several weddings here already. We do graduations, school functions, business meetings, so it really ranges everywhere, and everything just really brings the town together.”

In addition to the abundance of space for activities inside and outside of the building, Casey believes that it is mainly the fresh food and variety of drinks that gets customers to come back.

“Everything is fresh and everything is made from scratch, every salad dressing like every single thing we use is really made from scratch,” Casey said.

David Weiss is the head chef at the Great American Grill and has been with the restaurant for the past eight months. He explained that making everything from scratch and using fresh products has put his meals over the top.

“Everything takes more time this way, but it makes a better quality though. [We put in] effort. I think people appreciate that,” Weiss said.

The Great American Grill currently has about 25 to 30 employees, some of them specifically working as cooks. Weiss explained that their variety of steaks and seafood have grown in popularity since the restaurant’s opening last year.

In addition to the food, they also have two full-service bars, one inside and one outside.

Casey encouraged customers to follow their Instagram page to keep up with new menu items and to view weekly specials. She also added that Brenda and their team are looking to expand and take greater advantage of the 11-and-a-half-acre lot.

“It’s definitely in our plans to expand in the future,” Casey said. “We’re getting ready to do a kitchen expansion any day now [and] we’re hoping to expand to a wedding venue with a large pavilion and grass area. It’s all very exciting.”

19920 1st St., Hilmar

11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays
11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursdays to Saturdays
closed on Sundays and Mondays.

Contact information:
(209) 882-5001 or