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Phil's Grills

Phil's Grills: Keeping it simple (and tasty) in Dajia

By Douglas Habecker
Translated by S. Ying

87, WenWu Rd, Dajia Dist
(04) 2688-0776
Hours: Tue-Fri 11 am-2 pm, 5-9 pm; Sat/Sun 11 am-9 pm (closed Mon.)
English menu.
Wi-Fi and take-out available.
Cash only.
No service charge.

Phil Alkiviades arrived in Taipei for his first visit during Christmas, 2009 and instantly fell in love with Taiwan. Even so, it's unlikely he could have imagined then that a few years later he would be running a burger joint in small traditional town in the heart of the island.

Phil's Grills Phil's Grills Phil's Grills
Left: A newer menu addition, the Jalapeno-Cream Cheese Burger (NT$124; NT$159 set with fries and drink) is a flavor-packed combination of tangy jalapeno peppers, cream cheese, bacon, veggies and big meaty beef patty. Besides the Beer Burger (NT$120) and Chicken Burger (NT$110), there's a NT$99 Value Burger with three flavors--Kimchi Cheesiness; Eggs & Cheese; and Peanut Butter Bacon.
Medium: The popular Party Platter (NT$250) comes with three chicken or beef Kid's Burgers (normally NT$70), fries, cheese sticks and onion rings.
Right:Chicken Salad (pictured--small NT$70, large NT$120)

Feeling a world apart from downtown Taichung, Dajia is an often-quiet traditional town best known for Jenn Lann Mazu Temple, which draws hundreds of thousands of visitors annually. It's also where Phil found his first Taiwan teaching job. After working here for a about four years, the Kitchener, Ontario native--who had previous restaurant experience back home--decided to open the first Western (and foreign-run) burger place of its kind in Dajia. He found a small century-old building and renovated it into an attractive, cozy eatery with 18-20 seats.

Phil's Grills Phil's Grills
Left: Phil and his staffs
Right: The Coke Float is made with two scoops of vanilla ice cream and Coke or Sprite, all topped with Hershey's chocolate syrup.

That was about 18 months ago and things have been going well, thanks to a mix of residents and visitors who enjoy a straightforward selection of burgers, salads, finger foods, soft drinks and beers. Phil says his philosophy is to "keep it simple" although he does introduce new burgers about once a month. On Wednesday and Saturday nights, he also stays open late (1-2 a.m.) to serve a good selection of cocktails (NT$100-150) and beers (NT$60-150). In fact, things are going well enough that there's a good chance there will be another Phil's Grills up the coast in Shalu by next year.

Compass Magazine is required by law to remind you not to drink and drive.

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