In 1985, Chef/Owners Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken debuted the first Border Grill as a small, forty seat “taco stand” on Melrose out of a deep affection and appreciation of the Mexican kitchen. Effortlessly blending their classical culinary training with conscientiously-sourced ingredients, and regional recipes inspired by home cooks from Oaxaca to Mexico City, street vendors in Tijuana, and taco stands along the Yucatan and Baja coasts, the award-wining chefs continue to evolve their California-inflected Mexican-inspired cuisine.
“At Border Grill, they explored regional Mexican cooking a decade before the idea became fashionable... But still, nobody has managed to marry the freshness of the California kitchen with the deep, complex flavors of Mexican cooking in quite the way that Feniger and Milliken do, and if you ran across their ceviche, pork-steak carnitas or squash tacos in an Eastside dive, you would be as happy as a lime-marinated clam.” – Jonathan Gold
Now with multiple Border Grill locations, food trucks, and a full-service events and catering business, the chef duo continue breaking barriers as female restaurateurs in a male-dominated industry, pioneering sustainability initiatives and developing their culinary offerings into cookbooks, radio and tv shows, and quick service spin-offs BBQ Mexicana and Pacha Mamas in Las Vegas, and their new restaurant Socalo, a California canteen and Mexican pub in Santa Monica. At every location from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, the chefs combine fresh, flavorful and organic ingredients with hand shaken cocktails, vibrant design, and friendly service to create an unforgettable dining experience.
“The signature restaurant creation from Too Hot Tamales celebrity chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger is not only one of the culinary cornerstones of Mandalay Bay’s legendary dining portfolio, it’s also widely regarded as one of the most dynamic Mexican restaurants in the history of Las Vegas. . . it’s their dedication to authentic flavors and techniques that has established the Vegas version of Border Grill as an icon.” - Brock Radke
Community, connection, and giving back have always been at the core of the chefs’ values and that passion is felt throughout the company. From taking great care of guests, employees and vendors; teaching young chefs and mentoring restaurateurs; to spearheading fundraisers for local charities, LGBTQ and human rights organizations, medical research, and ending childhood hunger, the chefs have always supported giving back, giving hope, and inspiring a whole new generation to follow their passions and effect positive change in their community.
Some of the organizations we have partnered with include: Los Angeles LGBT Center, Scleroderma Research Foundation, Share Our Strength, James Beard Foundation, Chefs Manifesto, EAT Foundation, World Food Programme, Chefs Collaborative, Human Rights Campaign, and Los Angeles Food Policy Council.
Commitment to Sustainability
Border Grill Chef/Owners Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger believe modern Mexican cuisine should be light and healthful, with a large dose of flavor. They favor a fresh take on authentic Mexican fare, featuring traditional meats, poultry, and seafood enhanced by lots of fruits and vegetables, herbs, fresh salsas, rice, beans, and handmade tortillas.
Border Grill uses organic long grain rice and organic black beans. Seasonal, locally grown ingredients are used whenever possible. We source meats and poultry raised without antibiotics or hormones. We serve only sustainable seafood according to Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Program, and are part of the James Beard Foundation Smart Catch Program, and Good Food 100 Restaurants List.
Border Grill developed a program called “Good for the Planet, Good for You” giving guests the opportunity to choose dishes made with at least 80% plant-based ingredients.