I remember it like it was yesterday, I was in high school. My first visit to Red Robin was in the mid 90’s at their brand new Guildford location in Surrey. It was great, lots of retro posters all over the walls, a train that circled the room hanging from the ceiling and these crazy shaft driven ceiling fans. The menu was centred around burgers which were pretty good and they had “Non stop pop” which wasn’t that common in 1995.
Fast forward 17 years, outside of Red Robin it’s 2012, inside…it’s still 1995! The same posters cover the walls although they’re very faded, the fans are still there but the train is sadly gone. There’s so much brass in this restaurant and the colours are pure 90’s. The fact that “What’s the frequency Kenneth” by REM came on while we were eating was perfect, it totally fit the mood of the place. The menu is pretty much unchanged with a few new burger variations, the beer menu is pure Macro brewery garbage but at least they have Guinness on tap. Somewhere over the last 17 years they’ve added “Non stop fries” to their menu, I’m ok with that.
I ordered the Prime Chophouse Burger, a heavyweight for sure. Nestled between it’s Onion bun (with about 4 specks of onion on it) is a surprisingly good beef patty, horseradish, steak sauce, provolone cheese and crispy onion straws. All of this was held together with a large steak knife thrust through an onion ring into the heart of the burger.You know what, this burger is pretty damn good! I wasn’t expecting to like it as much as I did and the steak fries, which come seasoned with Red Robin’s own seasoning salt, are good to!
This location has always been busy, there’s almost always a wait for a table but Red Robin has seen some local closures in the last few years, most notably their Surrey/Newton location and their Vancouver/Broadway location. Red Robin works in the suburbs, for now, but it desperately needs a HUGE face lift. It’s so dated it makes me feel really old because I remember being young and it looking exactly the same. 17 years is too long to stick with one look. I wonder how much longer the Robson location will last?