Fried foods: fries, chicken tenders, curly fries

Premium Oil Pays Off Every Day at The Grill House

This Michigan restaurant praises fryer oil that lasts longer and doesn’t transfer flavors.

A Michigan restaurant has used premium frying oil every day of its 22 years in business—except one. When SimpliFry was in short stock this summer, the operation’s fryers were filled with soy-based economy oil. But they were never turned on.

When a fresh supply of SimpliFry arrived the next day, the economy oil was drained. The lesson learned at The Grill House in Allegan: Never underestimate the value of premium oil.

“We took a loss on the soy and used the good stuff,” says Tracy Garvin, Executive Manager of The Grill House in Allegan. “We didn’t want to switch to a lower-quality oil because it matters that much to us, and our customers would notice.”

Banking on benefits

Garvin points to two huge benefits:

  • Long frying life. “We strain the fryers every night and change the oil only once a week.”
  • Lack of flavor transfer. “We can only fit two fryers on the line, so we can’t designate just one for fish. There’s no crossing over of flavors.”

The long fry life is money in the bank. Garvin says SimpliFry’s higher cost is more than offset by the labor savings and the volume of food fried between oil change-outs. Preventing flavor transfer is vital. The restaurant uses the same fryers for kettle chips, french fries, sweet potato fries, hand-breaded lake perch, battered cod, battered shrimp, onion petals, mozzarella sticks, cheese curds and crispy green beans.

“Fried foods are a lot more crispy and golden—you can’t compare,” Garvin says. “Cheaper oils tend to penetrate the food and make them more greasy. SimpliFry keeps it nice and light.”

A lasting impression

There’s another reason Garvin won’t switch to a different fryer oil: “I’ve been to places where they use cheaper oil, and you can smell it.”

The higher smoke point of SimpliFry means the restaurant doesn’t smell like fryer oil, and that’s important to an operation like The Grill House. When COVID-19 restrictions aren’t in place, guests congregate in the grill room to prepare hand-cut and prime cuts of beef, poultry and seafood. The attached pub offers homemade pizzas, sandwiches, wraps, gourmet burgers and more.

For now, all meals are staff-prepared. And there’s no place for fryer odor, inside or outside on the spacious courtyard and banquet space. “We’re a family-owned business, and with the pandemic we can’t hug our regulars and everyone is in masks. But we’re never going to stop using high-quality products that provide the best flavor time after time.”