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Great American Grill
Hometown vibes at Hilmar's

Karisa McCuistion is a bartending vet. With nine years of experience making drinks throughout the 209, it’s safe to say she knows a thing or two about cocktails. So when she says her Berry Good Martini is a must-try, you mind the suggestion and place an order. 

Since being named the front of house manager at Great American Grill a year ago, Karissa has been busy sharing her fun and colorful concoctions with customers, using her touch of elegant presentation as a gateway to several delicious recipes.

“Drinks are similar to food. You’re not going to want to try something if it doesn’t look visually appealing,” Karisa said. “You have to add your own twist. My main thing is to use fresh ingredients, like cucumbers, mint, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries. They’re a fun and pretty garnish. You leave some of them in the drink, and it’s fun to eat them and drink at the same time.”

With that bartending philosophy in mind, it’s no surprise that the Berry Good Martini is both Great American Grill’s signature drink and Karissa’ personal favorite.  Made with fresh berries, lemon citrus, sweet and sour, and vodka with a lemon wheel garnish atop a sugared rim, this cocktail is just as much treat as it is drink. 

“It has the perfect sweet and sour – that tartness that most people want but don’t necessarily know they want until they try it. Then they get addicted, and they keep coming back for it,” Karisa said. “The color is different each time I make it due to the berries put in it. Some of the berries pull more than the others sometimes, but it’s always pretty.”

While there are plenty of pretty drinks on the menu – like the honeybear-themed Barhill Bees Knees and the electrically layered Purple Haze, for example – Great American Grill’s customers also have a wide selection of wine and beers on tap to choose from.

Complete with both indoor and outdoor taps, a full bar, walk-in wine and liquor rooms, and a newly remodeled and expanded open-faced kitchen – customers are covered on all fronts. 

Add lunch and dinner menus full of top tier dishes into the mix, and it’s clear why this place is called a hidden, hometown gem.

“If you want to come and have a great time, watch your food be made, sing along with the cooks, and enjoy good service – this is the place to come,” Karisa said. “And I’m always told our cold is colder than cold. So our beers are always perfect.”

As if the food and drink selection wasn’t enough, there is also an event center and patio that can hold up to 200 guests. So whether you’re hosting a baby shower or Christmas party, or you’re simply visiting to try a cocktail, Karisa and staff are ready to welcome you and share some hometown vibes.

“Once you get to know one customer it feels like you get to know ten because they bring their friends in. Everybody is very, very close,” Karisa said. “Everyone is fun and welcoming. I actually enjoy work because they make it that much better.”

Follow Great American Grill on Instagram @greatamericangril