Restaurant-goers at The Beer Hunter in Menifee will find a better dining experience thanks to a redesigned menu, new plating, and a number of food preparation improvements. The changes rolled out late last month were based on feedback from their customers.
We sat down with Chris Engstrom, general manager of The Beer Hunter, and Ben McCormack, the head chef, who explained the new changes.
And it seems to be true. I picked it up and took a bite. It's easier to handle, compresses beautifully, and compliments the flavors of beef, bacon and cheese. The Beer Hunter now also uses whole leaf lettuce with all of their burgers, and burgers are now served stacked instead of open face. "Customers would often have trouble putting the burger together, particularly with the shredded lettuce falling off", Engstrom explained. "This way it's a better dining experience".
And better dining experience was a key part of these new change, Engstrom went to tell us. "We're now using a different type of plate, colored white, which we found highlights our food, adding more dramatic, eye opening appeal".
"The darker colored plates we used before tended to mute the presentation", McCormack added. "These white plates along with a little rearranging allow the food to look as good as it tastes!"
Making a comeback to the new menu is the Steak & Bleu Grilled Cheese Sandwich. It never really went away actually, it had been filed into a "secret menu" that loyal patrons still knew about. But, it is back in the limelight by popular demand.
Mozzarella sticks were changed significantly, now being hand cut and hand battered in the kitchen. "Our previous mozzarella sticks were premade", McCormack said. "But, our smaller menu gives us the opportunity to direct labor towards higher-quality house-made products. We now use fresh mozzarella, hand-cut into strips with a lightly seasoned panko breading." And the quality really showed, as I could pick up the unique flavor of mozzarella too. These sticks were bigger than the previous sticks, crunchier on the outside, and gooey on the inside like real melted mozzarella.
"We're actually able to give customers more mozzarella out of this simply because we have full control in making them", McCormick explained. "Because we buy the cheese in bulk, we can lower our costs and give our customers more."
Beer Hunter's famous "Bases Loaded Nachos" are now presented on the menu in two separate places. Under the Appetizer section is the "First Inning Nachos", what had previously been their smaller version of the Bases Loaded. Meanwhile, the actual Bases Loaded is now under the Entree section. "When the Bases Loaded Nachos were under the Appetizer section, people were surprised at how big the portion was, and then couldn't finish it off.", McCormack said. "With the First Inning Nachos, they now get an actual appetizer portion, at an appetizer price. If they still want the larger size, they can still get the Bases Loaded."
Speaking of nachos, all items from the restaurant's Mexican fare are now accompanied with their salsa verde (green salsa). "We had been experimenting with the salsa verde and a spicier chipotle salsa", according to McCormack. "And it seemed like our customers preferred the verde." The spicer Chipotle salsa is still available for the asking.
Overall, much of the menu is still the same despite the changes that were made. All of the burgers are still the same burgers that The Beer Hunter built success with, just improved upon for presentation and experience. Changes to their nachos and Lighter Fare menu are mostly business changes designed to save customers money, and not overwhelm them with too much food. "The emphasis is on the presentation and increasing the overall dining experience through visual appeal", McCormack said.
"We just want to have a better plate of food in front of our customers", Engstrom summarized. "That really is the overall goal. We don't want to do everything for everybody, we just want to do what we do well... better!"
The Beer Hunter
30080 Haun Rd # 350
Menifee, CA 92584
Sun-Thurs 11:30 am -11:30 pm
Fri-Sat 11:30 am - 1:30 am