As I said in my last post, I’ve been spending a lot of time in Martinez lately. My wife and I were up there around lunch time again and decided to visit Mr. T’s near the main entrance to the Shell Refinery.
I had always liked Mr. T’s in the past, but I hadn’t been there in awhile and, in fact, I had noticed that it had been closed not too long ago. Still, seeing that it was now obviously open, we dropped in.
We were greeted at the door by a gentleman who said that his name was Dave and that he was the owner. He seemed happy to chat and once we sat down he told us that he had bought the place about 9 months ago and that its recent closure was due to his being out of town. (By the way, the guy at the register is NOT Dave.)
The interior is pretty basic, with a few stools at the counter and 5 or 6 tables along the wall. Decor is, to say the least, limited.
The menu is also limited – several burger choices and a steak sandwich, along with breakfasts and a few sides.
Dave does all the cooking, so once we ordered he disappeared into the back.
My wife got the double cheeseburger. At $4.25 for the burger only (fries are a couple of dollars extra) it wasn’t bad, but, as she put it, it was just a cheeseburger.
I decided to splurge and went for The Wiz – a sort of Martinez take on the Philly cheesesteak. It’s a rib-eye sandwich on grilled sourdough bread with some peppers, onions, and CheezWhiz (or however you spell that).
At $7.75 I wouldn’t say that it was a great bargain, but it was actually pretty good. The steak really tasted like steak and there was just the right amount of peppers and onions. Still, by the time you add some fries and maybe a drink, you’re into it for more than 10 bucks, and it just wasn’t that good.
You want Mr T’s to be great – it has a friendly, hands-on owner who is obviously enthusiastic about what he does, it has a gritty, exotic location, it has an authentic-feeling interior and reasonable prices. The problem is that the food isn’t – it’s not bad, but it’s still just OK.
So, if you’re over there, you could do worse then to stop in for a burger and a chat with Dave, but I don’t think I’d make a special trip…
35 Howe Rd
Martinez, CA 94553