The story goes...
The story goes that the hobo ordered pancakes and tried to skip on the bill. The waitress told him to pay up; he pulled a knife, and the diner's owner fired one shot into each of the hobo's arms.
There are a lot of stories about Grill, but the only ones that check out are the one above and another about Andy Dick's dislike for the diner. The history of the place, it turns out, tells the better tale. The location dates back to 1912 and has been serving food, in one form or another, for more than 80 years.
The diner opened as Minerva Café in 1929 and was Stag Grill, Rallis Grill and Congress Grill before two artists named James Graham and Julia Latane bought it in 1994 and named it Grill. The scaled-up diner food and strong coffee resonated downtown. Al Perry wrote songs there. Poets penned award-winning books there. Couples fell in love there, including the new owners, who married sometime between endless shifts at the 24-hour-a-day diner.
Patrick and Lori Forsythe bought it in 1999, but only after agreeing to rules that remain today: no powdered food, no Sweet and Low, no cheese on potatoes, no ranch dressing, no televisions. You can get anything from tater tots to a sirloin steak, with many departures in between, but it's all made from quality stuff and served without frills at anytime of the day.
And lest we forget those who have kept it running at all hours of the godforsaken night: All hail the staff of Grill! Thank you for not judging us at 2 a.m., when it is an effort to speak! Your patience is indescribable. May tips rain upon you.
There's also the adjoined Red Room, a great place to grab a cocktail and catch sets by local acts, either famous or unknown.
Will Grill ever not win the Best of Tucson™ award for best diner? Only
time will tell, but for now, it remains a Tucson gem and favorite with Tucson Weekly readers year after live-long year.