Simon Lam loves to eat. Although he isn't a trained chef, he sure knows what good food tastes like.
Come for Texan Food
Lone Star Texas Grill was established in the late 1980s. They have been in Kingston for quite some time, and they are a popular spot for Tex-Mex food, particularly fajitas. The restaurant is large, and the atmosphere is rustic, relaxed, and enjoyable.
My friends and I visited the restaurant in late October. They have quite a large menu that offers favorite Texan dishes like steaks, burgers, and of course, fajitas. I ordered the BBQ Bacon Burger that comes with Jim Beam BBQ sauce, cheddar cheese, grilled thick pork belly, and crispy bacon. It comes with your choice of sides. I picked the house salad.
I was disappointed with the presentation of my meal. The burger had a large, wilted, slightly brown piece of lettuce hanging out. Some of the greens in my salad were also wilted. It just didn't seem as fresh as possible. Tastewise, the salad was all right. It had sautéed onions, which elevated it from a boring old salad. I enjoyed the burger. It was juicy and nicely seasoned, and the bacon was quite tasty.
We were served by a small team of staff. They were very friendly, accommodating, and efficient. Their washrooms were roomy, nicely designed, clean, and well stocked. Regarding their health inspection, they made several violations, including one critical one. These were corrected during the inspection or later.
Overall, I would recommend Lone Star. It is a relaxing, fun place to eat Texan food.
A Bit of History
The first Lone Star restaurant was founded in 1986 in Ottawa. Other locations, including the one in Kingston, were opened later. Housed in a former fire hall, the Kingston restaurant has very distinctive and striking architecture. It is the place for Tex-Mex cuisine.
The Lone Star is quite a large restaurant with a full patio in the back facing Lake Ontario. Wood is dominant in the interior, seen as part of the floor covering, in the panels on the walls, and as structural beams in the ceiling. A muted red color scheme is set as the backdrop on the walls. Country-themed photos, signs, cowboy hats, and animal horns and skulls adorn the walls and columns. Wheel-shaped, country-style lighting fixtures, as well as pendant lights, provide soft illumination. All of the tables and chairs are also wooden. Overall, there is a comfortable, rustic ambiance to the restaurant.
A small group of us visited Lone Star in late October. One thing that turned us off immediately was the state of the menus. They were sticky and covered with particles of food. They could use a good wipe down.
They have an extensive menu offering Tex-Mex food from fajitas (about $20 for one), steak (about $22), and sandwiches. One of my friends ordered the 7-oz steak, while the others ordered fajitas.
I got a BBQ Bacon Burger for about $17. It had Jim Beam BBQ sauce, cheddar cheese, grilled thick cut pork belly, and crispy bacon served on a toasted garlic bun. The burger comes with a choice of side. I picked the house salad.
We were given chips and salsa to munch on while we waited for our food. The chips and salsa were quite tasty.
Chips and Salsa
BBQ Bacon Burger
BBQ Bacon Burger
I wasn't thrilled at the presentation of the my burger. The burger had a large piece of wilted, slightly brown (from the heat?) lettuce flopping out. The salad came in a bowl, and some of the greens also looked wilted. It was an interesting salad as they topped it off with sautéed onions, which were pretty good, and pieces of fried crisp. I thought the salad was all right, but it could be a bit fresher. The burger was pretty good, juicy, and seasoned just right. I did love the bacon, too. Except for the wilted lettuce, I enjoyed my burger.
My friend ordered the 7-oz steak. She asked them to make it medium-rare. However, she was given a quite red, rare steak. The waitress apologized and got the chef to cook the steak a bit more. My friend was happy with her meal after they recooked it.
We were served by a small team of staff. We had one server who took our orders, gave us chips and salsa, and made sure we had everything we needed. Another server brought us our food. The food service was quite fast; we didn't wait for too long. Our main server was friendly and efficient. Overall, I thought the service was quite good.
The state of a restaurant's washroom is often an indication of the cleanliness and upkeep of the establishment. Lone Star's washrooms are spacious and quite nice, with painted red bricks and stonework on the walls. It was pretty clean and well stocked. Overall, I was happy with their washrooms.
The local Public Health Unit does regular inspections of food facilities in Kingston and posts their results online. I went on their website to check how Lone Star did in their last inspection. The most recent inspection was on November 9, 2018. They received three non-critical violations and one critical one. The non-critical violations had to do with their equipment, and protecting food from contamination. The critical violation was not keeping food at the right temperature. These were concerning infractions, but were corrected later or during inspection.
Simon Lam (author) on November 18, 2018:
Thanks for your comment! I try to be thorough in my reviews so that is why the inspection results are included. I enjoyed myself too at Lone Star. Great for fajitas and burgers too!
Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on November 18, 2018:
Interesting that you included here the violations. It is very enlightening. I had been to one in Barrie, Ontario and we enjoyed our visit there.