Last week, I realized that I hadn’t been to Volcano in a while, and I figured that was a good reason to eat at St. George Hotel for the first time. On Thursday, September 23, my mother and I decided to pick up an early dinner, since St. George was open from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
I got the menu on the St. George Hotel website and shared it with my mother, and she ordered a tuna melt with fries. I ordered a Poker Flat hamburger, which is a quarter-pound burger, and substituted onion rings for the fries.
At 4:15 p.m., I called the hotel to place my order, and I said I would be there in about 30 minutes. One of the perks about driving to Volcano is the scenic drive through the tall trees between Pine Grove and Volcano, so I enjoyed the drive and arrived at the hotel a few minutes late.
The hotel is a 19th-century hotel with historic doors that took me a few seconds to open. Once I entered, I walked a few steps to the host podium. To my left, I could see a few empty dining room tables through the doorway, and through the dining room’s rear doorway I saw the bar was filled with people. A carpeted stairway on my right led upstairs to the hotel rooms.
A server walked out of the bar into the dining room, saw me, and asked if I was Eric. I said I was, and she walked back to the kitchen. A minute later she walked into the lobby with a plastic bag filled with containers. A few minutes later I paid for my meal, walked out the door, took some pictures outside, and was on my way back to Jackson.
My mother’s sandwich and fries were in a Styrofoam container, and my burger and onion rings were in a bagasse container that was sealed with a strip of blue painter’s tape.
The Poker Flat burger had a quarter-pound beef patty sitting on two large pieces of romaine lettuce. A couple of sliced tomatoes, three large white onion slices, and a dollop of thousand island dressing sat on top of the patty. All the ingredients fit nicely within the brioche bun.
A look at the top bun and the patty in the photo reveals what the St. George Hotel cook likes: a well-done burger and a bun that stays on the grill for a little while. A well-done burger is fine with me, and it wasn’t hard to eat. The buns were fluffy enough to eat without any trouble and I’m a fan of burned toast, too.
The produce was fresh and tasty, though there were a few bites where the taste of the onion overwhelmed all the other flavors. The brioche bun held up well with just a three-ounce cooked patty, and I suspect the bun is the same used on the larger, six-ounce George hamburger the hotel offers. The pre-formed patty was also large enough to cover the area of the brioche bun so I had a piece of meat in every bite of the burger.
The onion rings came in a couple of clumps with several rings cooked together. The cook likes to keep the onion rings in the fryer a little longer, too, and so only a couple of rings were fried properly. The other rings were overcooked and chewy with dried-out onions inside the fried batter shell.
The St. George Hotel comes with lemon pepper tuna salad and melted American cheese between slices of toasted sourdough bread and sliced in half. The tuna salad had little bits of celery and onion poking through one edge of each slice. And there were green flakes on top of one slice, but we couldn’t tell if the flakes were chives or parsley.
After her first bite, my mother said the sandwich was very good. She added that she had never had American cheese on a tuna melt before, but she liked it quite a bit. The sourdough bread had enough heft to handle the ingredients and was toasted just right.
The medium-sized fries were lightly fried and without skins. My mother said the fries weren’t crispy, and though most of them were hot, some of them were tepid. She polished off the tuna melt and about two-thirds of the fries and saved the rest for lunch the next day.
My mother said the tuna melt was one of the best she’s ever had. She wasn’t as effusive about the fries, but she noted they were just as good when she had them for lunch the next day. It was a curious contrast to what I experienced with the onion rings, which needed less time in the fryer.
I’m a bit less sanguine about the Poker Flat burger. I thought the burger was tasty even well done. However, if you prefer your burgers a little pinker and buns toasted a little lighter, you should either provide specific cooking directions or order something else on the menu. The burger would also benefit from having two slices of onion instead of three to prevent an overwhelming onion taste with some bites of the burger.
So, we shine a flashing green light on the St. George Hotel. Your satisfaction will depend on what you order, how you like your burger cooked, and how you like your fried sides. The total price of our meals was just short of $25.00.
Want to Try Them?
The St. George Hotel Facebook profile page has conflicting information about when the restaurant is open. The description in the About section says the restaurant is open Wednesdays through Sundays, but when you click the open times under the Open Now or Closed header, the drop-down list says the restaurant is open Thursdays through Sundays. The St. George Hotel website also says the restaurant is open Thursdays through Sundays, so that’s what I’m going with for the restaurant’s open times.
St. George Hotel is open on Thursdays and Fridays from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., and open on Saturdays and Sundays from 12:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. They are closed on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays. The restaurant serves appetizers, sandwiches, burgers, a couple of fish meals, and salads. They also offer a steak special on Thursdays.
The menu is available on the St. George Hotel website, and you can also get updates about what’s happening at the hotel on their Facebook profile page. You can dine in or order take-out, and if you want to order and/or have questions, call them at 209-296-4458.
Amador Business Ticker food reviews are adventures in local dining with Editor Eric Butow and his mom.