Tasty Knarley Dog makes Mr. Happy’s happier

Chef R. G. Hirsch shows off his special brand of BBQ sauce as he jokes with fans at his concession at Mr. Happy’s Mercantile on Highway 371 in Anza. Diane Sieker photo
Chef R. G. Hirsch shows off his special brand of BBQ sauce as he jokes with fans at his concession at Mr. Happy’s Mercantile on Highway 371 in Anza. Diane Sieker photo

There’s a new chef in town. Talented, entertaining, skilled in his culinary art and above all, funny.

Yes, you cannot order amazing tri-tip, chicken breast or pork tenderloin sandwiches or delectable teriyaki burgers from “Knarley Dog” without rolling with laughter. Also known as Chef R. G. Hirsch, he has recently taken up residence in Anza and can be seen vending his delicious wares at Mr. Happy’s Mercantile on most weekends.

“I can’t see you,” he quipped, covering his “good” eye. The other eye is glass, he said. All the while he is expertly finishing pieces of marinated tri-tip beef for a huge sandwich.

A bona fide chef, Hirsch has been on TV’s cooking and comedy shows, and featured in such publications as “Bon Appétit Magazine.” He promotes his own brand of barbecue sauces, chili seasonings and rib rubs, shamelessly plugging his items like a live commercial. With plenty of humor mixed in for comic effect, ordering from him is not a chore, it is an experience to remember.

“I’ll charge you double, then give you a 50 percent discount,” he called after a person walking into the Mercantile to pay for his meal.

The tri-tip sandwich can be ordered with his selection of sauces and cooked to taste. The bread was excellent quality, the meat perfectly seasoned and the accompanying coleslaw was crisp and fresh. The “Knarley” chili beans had just a hint of spicy fire and were “most excellent.” Also sampled was the pork butt sandwich, again a fine meal in itself. His excellent grilling products that he uses exclusively are bottled in a licensed facility and available for purchase at the Mercantile.

“You’re from Hemet,” he innocently asked a willing customer. “The cops chased me out of there, too!”

His wife Mary also gets into the jokes, as well as fulfilling assistant duties. Together they make his simple set up a fine example “culinary arts performance.” And after eating your meal, it is hard to leave. Hirsch will also play his harmonica and sing the blues if prompted or encouraged.

“I like to make people happy,” Hirsch said. “Food is love.”

One Response to "Tasty Knarley Dog makes Mr. Happy’s happier"

  1. Sandi Hughes   April 23, 2017 at 8:25 am

    Nicely written, Diane! I’ll have to stop by there and partake of the enticing experience.

    Reply

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