Monsterland Bar & Grill: Drag Me to Hell

Categories: First Taste

When a new spot opens in town, we can't wait to check it out -- and let you know our initial impressions, share a few photos, and dish about some menu items. First Taste, as the name implies, is not a full-blown review, but instead a peek inside restaurants that have just opened, sampling a few items, and satisfying curiosities (yours and ours).

Restaurant: Monsterland Bar & Grill
Location: 18 West Main Street, Mesa
Open: A little over two weeks.
Eats: burgers, sandwiches, salads, and apps.
Price Range: $11 - $30

No one wants the concept of a haunted house-themed restaurant to succeed more than I do. I love the horror genre. I love to eat. And the thought of devouring a kick-ass dish in a well-designed, spooky space among replicas of werewolves, and mummies (not to mention movie legends like The Exorcist's Regan MacNeil, A Nightmare on Elm Street's Freddy Krueger, and Alien's, er, alien) gives me the shivers of the most excitable kind.

So when I heard that the owners of Monsterland, a two-story haunted house that opened last year along Mesa's Main Street, were planning to turn it into a restaurant and nightclub in an effort to use the property year-round, I nearly screamed with delight.

But unfortunately, when it comes to the food, the only real scare at Monsterland is being bored to death.

The $11 Monsterland Burger. Scary.
Monsterland's menu -- burgers, salads, sandwiches, and appetizers -- is strictly standard fare, with some items under horror-ific names like the Vampire Burger ($10.75) and Demon Chicken Salad ($7.50), and others simply left alone such as chicken tenders ($8) and a ham and Swiss panini ($7.50). There's little creativity to be found in any of the dishes and average to below-average ingredients do little to help.

Bat Wings with Garlic Scaryaki Sauce
There are a dozen passable deep-fried Bat Wings ($8.50.) They are whole wings, which make them somewhat difficult to eat. And they became even more so, when our server said there were no small plates for the bones. To keep the mess the in check, all she gave us were a small stack of cocktail napkins(?). The wings came with a Garlic Scaryaki sauce, which tasted like little more than a a light coating of soy and no garlic, and a side of thin Ranch dressing.

The Swamp Thing Sandwich ($9), a muffelata-style hoagie, is not very good, mostly because of its somewhat stale, dry Italian bread. But the ultimate food scare is its $11 Monsterland Burger. Featuring red and green peppers, green chiles, Poblano peppers, onions, pepper jack cheese, jalapeños, and tomato, its first offense was the well-done patty (I wasn't asked how I would like it cooked), the second its garden of shredded iceberg lettuce, and the third a dry, stale bun that fell apart on the first bite. At least the chips were good.

Location Info

Monsterland - CLOSED

18 W. Main St., Mesa, AZ

Category: General

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My Voice Nation Help

A lot has changed since this review, give it another shot.


I'm disappointed.  I really want this place to succeed. 

It seems that bread is often a dilemma for places in the valley.  Too often the stale-ish fall about bread is all that's offered.  There must be good bakeries in town doing it right.


Too bad....looking forward to the Micro Brew spot the are going to open up.  At least more booze is coming to Main street.  Place is almost a fun place to be again.  Gothom City Comics n coffee is a great spot to go too.


Thats the usual problem with places like this. I, as the reviewer, really wanted to go here since I thought the concept would be interesting and unusual but I assumed bad food.  Bad food + realtively expensive food = bad idea.  I will wait and hope they fine tune. Its really hard to fup a buger but many places do so.  No temp on a burger=overcooked and bland.


II have heard the food is good. I will be checking it out myself soon.

Joel LaTondress
Joel LaTondress

"Sadly, Monsterland Bar & Grill seems like an afterthought."  

Because it IS an afterthought.  No big surprises, here.

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