Walk through the front door at Ace High Eatery and eight pieces of art to the right immediately grab your attention: red, white and black, each one features a playing card suit. If you did not at first register the poker reference in its name, Ace High’s artwork, posters, colour scheme and even its clock will set you straight.
This American/Aussie burger joint is owners, Adam and Toni, on a plate. They love what they do, and seeing them in action, it is clear that they enjoy working alongside each other.
Formerly public servants, Adam and Toni returned to their hospitality roots in 2016, stepping out on their own this time around.
Adam jokes: “We became bored with our jobs and thought, ‘How can we work twice as many hours for half the money? Hmmm, let’s open a restaurant!’
“It was something we wanted to do, so we thought, ‘Let’s give it a crack and see if people like it'”.
“We’re a good team,” says Toni. “Adam’s very creative and I’m very friendly.”
Adam is the head chef and craft beer expert, while Toni manages HR and front end.
“We’ve been to the US three or four times and really liked their food. But a lot of our Ace High burgers are a cross between American-style and Australian home burgers. Our wings are authentic Buffalo wings. We bread the wings, deep fry them and toss them through the sauce that we make here.”
Perfecting their Buffalo sauce has been a process of love involving much trial and error, and some taste testing for their friends.
“It took me a long time to perfect the recipe from memory. There’s a lot more to it than just pouring a bit of buffalo sauce that you can get from the shops. I don’t want to do something ‘just because’. I want it to be good. We want the best quality for the best value.”
Ace High features a different specialty burger each month. This month’s burger has been the ‘Schnitts and Giggles’. What is it exactly?
“It’s a schnitzel topped with fettuccini carbonara!” Adam grins.
“It’s actually amazing!” says Toni. “When he told me the idea, I was like ‘Oh no …’ but it’s really good. We did one the other month which, instead of the bun, we had two grilled cheese sandwiches.”
At present, it is just an idea forming, but keep an eye out on their social media pages to see what they come up with for their Christmas-themed burger in December.
Ace High hotdogs are large Kranskys topped with all the fixings, including their house-made tomato sauce, which takes eight hours to create. This is how they have always eaten hotdogs at home and the taste sensation was part of the inspiration for setting up their own place.
“We get a lot of Americans come in who come for the Buffalo wings and stay for the hot dogs,” Adam admits.
Adam’s passion for craft beer might rival his joy in cooking. Ace High serves craft beer exclusively on tap. Adam rotates the beer brands regularly as the kegs empty. Featuring local beers and other Australian brands, Adam says that a lot of breweries reach out to him now. Decals of all the craft beers that have passed through his taps hang on the wall like trophies.
Ace High has created a fun menu full of food-bending twists.
If you love a Parma but want to try a bunch of different things on the menu, the loaded nugget range is a brilliant idea. The Hail Caesar is house-made nuggets topped with aioli, bacon bits, parmesan cheese and red onion.
As well as onion rings, fries and ‘frings’ (look it up on the menu, it’s a thing!), there are, of course, loaded fries. Not just one type, try five! Chilli fries, nacho fries, pizza fries, hot dog fries and the All-In-Fries (the one that I ordered) are crunchy fries topped with house-made chilli, cheese, bacon bits, sour cream, tomato salsa and jalapenos. The fresh salsa and jalapeno hit keeps this loaded potato dish from being too heavy. It is a meal in itself, and a satisfying taste sensation.
With the buffalo wings, I cannot work out what goes into them, but you can taste and appreciate the components creating the heat without them burning your face off. The accompanying blue cheese sauce is spectacular.
The full house burger is a fabulous works burger with the clever texture addition of a thin and crunchy hash brown plus Adam and Toni’s secret passed-through-the-ages eight-hour tomato sauce. Sweet, smooth with a tang at the end, that sauce is wonderful. The burger itself is juicy.
What tipped me into the bliss zone was my new favourite milkshake: the Apple Pie from Ace High’s specialty milkshake list. How did it come to taste so much like comforting familiar apple pie yet so milkshake-y at the same time? I have no idea, but that’s part of the magic. Next visit, I will sample both the Maple Bacon AND the Choc Peanut butter milkshakes.
Ace High Eatery is located at 191 Anketell St, Greenway.
Opening Hours: Lunch on Wednesday to Friday from 11:30 am to 2:00 pm and on Saturday from 11:30 to 2:30 pm.
Dinner on Wednesday and Thursday from 5:00 pm to 8:30 pm.
They are open slightly later for weekend dinners.
On Sundays, they are open from 11:30 am to 8:00 pm.