Note: Today was supposed to be the day we visited Cape Cod (the restaurant, not the beach community on the East Coast), but since a new place just opened and is technically up Solano, we decided to eat there now rather than return to it after we’ve eaten our way down to San Pablo Ave.
Boss is Albany’s brand new offering at 1187 Solano Ave that is striving to be a classic American burger joint. It’s an order-at-the-counter kind of place where they call your number so you can retrieve your food and appears to be doing a fair share of takeout business as well. It was hopping when George and I wandered in there.
The menu is simple and straightforward: burgers, hot dogs, fries, chili, a fried chicken sandwich, and a mixed greens salad. Prices are reasonable, and portions are too. These are not the half-pound behemoths that leave you feeling stuffed. Beverages include sodas, fresh-squeezed lemonade, beer, and wine. They also serve ice cream.
When I ordered my sandwich, I was asked to specify which “Boss sauce” I wanted. The young woman taking my order explained that my options included spicy and regular. After a bit of prying, I was able to get a little more clarification. The regular sauce is a concoction of mustard, mayo, and a pinch of horseradish. The spicy is just the regular sauce with some habanero. Despite the inclusion of mayonnaise, I went for the spicy sauce but asked for them to keep it light, which they did.
Boss was created by Jon Guhl (who also started Little Star Pizza, which is on the same block), and Ryan Murff, who is a bartender, chef, and owner of the Northbrae Bottle Shop in Berkeley. Their mission is to focus on local, organic ingredients and use hormone-free and non-gmo products. You can find a list of their suppliers on their website. They grind their locally sourced fresh beef each day and make all their crinkle-cut fries from Kennebec potatoes on site.
In fact, I sat in the back facing the window that looks onto the kitchen, where I got to see the hardworking staff in action, including the woman who had to stand on a stool to get the proper leverage on the handle of the patty maker.
I quite enjoyed my fried chicken sandwich and lemonade, as well as the fries George and I shared. The sauce was spicy but not too spicy, and I didn’t really notice the mayo component that much. George liked his double burger with American cheese and bacon, but by the time he got to the bottom of the sandwich, much of the cheese had melted onto the paper holder, so he’s thinking he’ll skip the cheese next time. George was not asked how he wanted his burger cooked, so I’m guessing by its color that they are all cooked medium.
It was not a quiet place, but to be fair, we were sitting behind a table of Albany High kids. At one point, one of the girls yelled “Woo hoo!” I didn’t ask if she was responding to her lunch or to a comment made by one of the other girls. George commented that if you don’t like teen spirit, you probably shouldn’t go there for lunch on a school day.
I have to admit that their website would have greatly benefited from a copyeditor. Here’s an excerpt:
Most of our ingredients will come from California farms and when we not can’t find it, we will always source vegetables that will be best subsitute considering our ridged standarts.
I’m not sure how standards (or standarts, whatever those are) can be ridged exactly, but their hearts are in the right place, and the food is tasty, so I will try not to hold their typos against them…