If you have an affinity for food-based puns, horror movies, and classic American eats, Serial Grillers is the casual pizza-and-cheesesteak-and-burger place for you. Started as a standalone food truck serving cheesesteaks and burgers in 2012, Serial Grillers opened to their first brick and mortar location in 2013 on Speedway Boulevard, just east of Craycroft Road, expanding their menu to include cold sandwiches, paninis, salads, calzones, and pizzas. Four years later, they’ve opened a second location on River Road.
I asked co-owner Travis Miller where inspiration for Serial Grillers’ theme came from. Travis and his brother, co-owner William Miller, sought to give their business “a name that people will talk about and remember.” After spotting LA-based Grill ‘Em All food truck’s heavy-metal-inspired menu names, the brothers drew on their shared love of horror movies to name both their restaurant and its menu items, “and it just seemed like the perfect fit.” As for the development of the menu, Miller says their main focus was to “put out good food that we could eat seven days a week,” and “eat the things we wanted to eat whether they were considered normal or not.” The brothers embarked on a “gruesome” research and development period that Travis says “forced [them] to eat an insane amount of sandwiches.” The result is a menu featuring dishes like mozzarella stick burgers and French fry-stuffed cheesesteaks, named after fictional serial killers and horror movies.
Craving something cheesy, carby, and spicy, I ordered an 8-inch Bone Collector Pizza ($6.25 for the mini size), complete with three types of cheese, bites of boneless buffalo wings, chopped up scallions, and swirls of both ranch and hot sauce. This pizza made Food Network’s list of the top 50 delivery pizzas in the U.S., and is one of Serial Grillers’ top selling menu items. It’s easy to taste why: the crust is chewy, golden-brown goodness, and the mozzarella, provolone, and cheddar cheeses provide a creamy backdrop for the deconstructed buffalo wings, without any tomato sauce to distract. All pizzas can be ordered in sizes ranging from a single slice all the way up to a 20-inch extra large, and the mini makes a good-sized personal pizza that can be safely demolished in one sitting.
Bringing it on the bun front was the Jack of All Trades Cheeseburger ($8). The guacamole, chipotle mayo, and pepper jack cheese make for a burger that enthusiastically bites back. That spice is tempered by French fries and generous slices of bacon. The ground chuck patty is smashed on the grill by a steak weight, resulting in an extra tasty crust on the meat. The burger is large enough that you’ll probably make a mess while eating it, but the flavor is worth the extra napkins.
The portions at Serial Grillers are plentiful, but if you’re really feeling hungry, there’s one cheesesteak that stands above the rest. The Gormogon Cheesesteak ($15) is piled high with a double order of thin-sliced ribeye, six slices of white American cheese, grilled onions and sweet peppers, bacon, hot cherry peppers, French fries, and onion rings. This is a monster of a sandwich that packs a good amount of heat. Be prepared.
Both Serial Grillers locations feature extensive draft beer options, with 40 handles pouring in their Speedway taproom and 20 beers on tap at their River location, all rotating and many of them from local breweries. With enough menu variety to please everyone and flavor combinations that demand return visits, you could say their execution is killer.
5737 E Speedway Blvd
Tucson, AZ 85715
1970 W River Rd
Tucson, AZ 85704