Giffy's grilled chicken breast sandwich with coleslaw is soft and juicy.
CLIFTON PARK Giffy’s Bar-B-Q is now Giffy’s All-American Grill, and it’s still a casual, family-friendly place for good, inexpensive food. The Gifford family has renovated the restaurant, integrated a sports bar that serves wine and beer, and tweaked the menu. The updated Giffy’s re-emerged late last year, and there’s still a fleet of trailers and trucks that will bring a barbecue to your fundraiser or event.
Giffy’s is set well back from the road, in the same place they’ve been since 1995; watch for their sign near the roadside on the east side of Route 9 or you might miss it.
You can have a beer and a full meal, and the Giffords don’t mind about the kids making a mess. You can watch a game in the bar. Thankfully, you can’t in the dining room.
They’ve expanded the menu, adding more salads and pasta dishes. Prices are friendly, like $10.99 for meatloaf with gravy and two sides. A half-pound cheeseburger with one side is $8.99. A barbecued half chicken is $5.99 a la carte.
The dining room was quiet when we arrived around noon. We were seated promptly in a comfy booth with a view of the parking lot and woods beyond. The large dining room is partitioned into separate smaller spaces, painted a pleasing olive and terra cotta. The floors are wood, and the place is bright and clean-looking, the decor is tidy and restrained.
I started with a cup of chicken vegetable soup ($2.29), with an extra spoon for Mom. She liked the temperature and the flavor (although not quite as good as her own, of course). I liked the variety of vegetables, including corn and green beans along with carrots and onion. There were lots of chunks of tender dark meat chicken.
Giffy’s All-American Grill
WHERE: 1739 Route 9, Clifton Park, 373-9800, giffysgrill.com
WHEN: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday to Sunday. Closed Monday.
HOW MUCH: $34.17
MORE INFO: Wheelchair accessible. Children’s menu. Credit cards: Visa, Master Card, American Express, Discover.
Mom ordered the Bubba brisket ($9.49), a hefty sandwich on Texas toast, with a side of fries. Giffy’s brisket is cut into small chunks, which tend to fall out of the sandwich, but Mom wasn’t complaining. “It’s from a good piece of beef,” she decided, after a few bites.
It was even better with a squirt of Giffy’s own sauce, which was sweet and spicy, but not too much of either. The thick bread was garlicky and crisp. I tasted a chunk of beef. It was a bit like pot roast, and it didn’t fall to pieces but was very tender. It wasn’t smoky, just beefy.
By the way, it’s not smoky barbecue. Giffy’s food is cooked over charcoal, not smoked.
Giffy’s gets points for their perfect fries, which were fresh, crispy and hot. “I like the oil,” said Mom, and I agree. The flavor of the oil is so important when you’re talking about french fries. They’re medium thick and Giffy’s doesn’t mess with seasoning them — just potato, oil and salt. They still tasted awesome even after they got cold.
I had the best grilled chicken breast sandwich ($8.99) ever. Grilled boneless chicken breasts can be so bad in so many ways, but this was a thing of beauty. Char-grilled, it was the tiniest bit burnt at the edge, flavorful, and so soft and juicy. It was even better dunked into a puddle of their sauce. I ate the whole thing. Maybe it’s the marinade that makes it so juicy.
The chicken is topped with a few gratuitous pieces of cheese, which it does not need. In fact, I took them off and ate it naked, easing it out of the roll to save calories. Two perfect pieces of light green Romaine and two slices of decent tomato were there for topping. I ate them separately too, salting the tomato first. The sturdy potato roll is seasoned and toasted, and not so yellow or sweet like the ones in the market. This is a good roll.
Mom said Giffy’s makes the best coleslaw she’s had in some time. “There’s green pepper in it, like there should be,” she said. Julienned carrots and the pepper made it attractive, and it was very fresh.
We also approve of their homemade dessert. In addition to commercial chocolate and cheese cakes, Giffy’s has homemade fruit pies, apple crisp, rice pudding and bread pudding. I recommend the old-school bread pudding ($3.99). Giffy’s does it right; I could smell the cinnamon before the server even reached the table with it. The warmed square came with a whipped cream garnish and was studded with plump, juicy raisins.
Our server was pleasant and knowledgable and, aside from an inclination to take plates away prematurely that I’ve seen in a lot of wait staffs lately, helpful and competent. We didn’t wait long for anything, and she considerately dropped extra napkins and wipes on the table as she went by.
The tab for lunch came to $34.17 with tax, one terrific Saranac orange cream soda, and tip.
I drove away, thinking about how Giffy’s has got me started on my end of year “best of” list already. It’s going to be on it, for sure.