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What You May Not Know About Tenderloin Grill

Did you know Tenderloin Grill is celebrating 90 years in business later this year? First established as a food pushcart by the founding Nabor family, the restaurant – and the top-secret recipe for the famous pork tenderloin ­– was purchased by Ricardo Herrera in 1974 and owned and operated by the Herrera family for the nearly 50 years since. Members of the Minsky’s restaurant group recently purchased Tenderloin Grill to ensure this iconic Southwest Boulevard restaurant stays just as delicious as it’s always been.

Angel Hernandez — General Manager of Minsky’s on Southwest Boulevard, was the catalyst behind the purchase and, in addition to ownership of the Grill, is the Operating Partner for the Tenderloin Grill. Angel’s a West Side guy and has been a customer at the Grill for decades. He was very passionate and persistent about buying the restaurant – there was no doubt his energy and heart were more than a little bit committed! Angel grew up eating at Tenderloin Grill and knew he had to be a part of keeping it the same great place he remembered as a child. Angel remembers a few decades back being a kid in the neighborhood, saving his money, walking down to the Tenderloin Grill and buying himself a tender. Growing up in a large family, Angel said he was pretty excited to have a delicious tenderloin sandwich all to himself!

Home of Kansas City’s Best Tender

Tenderloin Grill’s award-winning tenders feature house-made “tender” batter and a delicious secret hot sauce (made with a decades-old family recipe), all complemented with mustard, horseradish, onion, and tomato! Throughout the years (decades actually), the Tenderloin Grill has had to change with the times – including where they were able to get ingredients to make their award-winning sandwich. Over the years the tender had migrated from a pork loin to a pork shoulder. When talking with manager Angel Hernandez, he noted, “There has been some difficulty getting the pork shoulder they were using, so we decided to switch back to an actual pork “tenderloin” made specifically for the Tenderloin Grill.” Angel continued, “The meat is a real tenderloin, great quality, and it’s cut and tenderized just for the Grill!” The new tenderloin came at a higher cost to Angel and his partners, but if they had to change, they knew they had to go with a better quality cut of meat if they wanted to keep the quality high.

Time May Have Changed, but Great Food Hasn’t

With the success of the tenderloin sandwich, the original owners had added hamburgers and a few other menu items. And with Angel’s team the Tenderloin Grill has grown the menu further, adding its fish sandwich, adding the new Sonoran-style hamburger, hot dogs, – and of course: the Tenderger — combining their famous tender with a grill cooked hamburger! “Job one is not to break what isn’t broken,” said Angel’s partner Ken Kantner. “We’ll serve up the best tenders in Kansas City, and we’ll use the same secret sauce recipe that’s been around for decades. And, since both Angel and I come from Minsky’s Pizza, where top-quality ingredients has always been essential, it was important that the food – including quality pork cuts and the fresh hand-cut French fries – be paramount to what we’re doing with the Grill.”

Stop By and Say Hi!

The Tenderloin Grill is more than just a restaurant; it’s a mainstay – almost a landmark – where generations of people from the neighborhood have stopped in and made memories, decade after decade. The new owners plan to keep it this way. Adding new menu items from time to time, making great food, and providing a comfortable neighborhood environment; a place where all customers – both longtime loyalists and new patrons can stop in for a great meal, talk about old memories – and make new ones.