We had a chance to catch up with Chelsea and Dan Katz, owners of the West Ave. Grille after their recent appearance on the Cooking Channel’s Cheat Day USA program. If you didn’t happen to see the segment, it’s replaying on the Cooking Channel Sunday, January 16th at 8 pm.
West Ave. Grille has been part of the Jenkintown landscape since 2001 as a family-owned business started by Dan’s parents, and after they retired, Chelsea and Dan became sole owners about 7 years ago. While some items from back in the day remain on the menu – Chelsea insists that their Famous Mile High (challah French toast with caramelized bananas) will never leave, many recipes have been modernized and “beefed up” (larger portions) over the years to keep up with the public’s changing tastes.
As times have changed, so have the methods of communication, and West Ave. Grille has benefitted from social media platforms. In fact, the Cooking Channel first found out about the decadence that is the West Ave. menu from photos on Instagram. A cursory look at their Instagram feed and you can understand why Cheat Day USA chose them for a segment.
Like essentially every other small business, COVID required changes to the business model for West Ave. to stay afloat. Chelsea and Dan turned lemons into lemonade (that’s on the menu too), and now have a large tent adjacent to the restaurant for diners to dine outdoors. The tent is heated too so you can enjoy it even now when it’s freezing, and many people do.
One thing markedly different at West Ave. from other restaurants, is the length of time the staff has been employed there. The restaurant business has a notoriously high turnover and especially now, during the pandemic, restaurants are desperate to hire. Not so at West Ave., as most of the staff has been around from 5 to 12 years. Dan attributes his staff’s dedication to how close everyone is, like a family.
That family atmosphere extends to the dining room, as patrons gather for comfort food in portions big enough to share, encouraging interaction and warmth at every table…and now they are also taking that show on the road. Since the end of 2021, Chelsea and Dan have been operating the Wagon Wheels food truck. Before continuing, we feel the need to break down the name – It’s WAG (West Ave. Grille) on Wheels – Wagon Wheels. We thought that was clever. And you can book Wagon Wheels for your next event, and you can pick the menu based on a theme. And if outdoor events aren’t your speed, you can also rent the restaurant for your special occasion.
West Ave. Grille is located at 718 West Avenue in Jenkintown. 215-886-1540.
Hours of Operation: Sunday, Monday, Wednesday 10am-3pm; Tuesdays Closed; Thursday, Friday, Saturday 10am-7pm.