Concord’s Corner Kitchen delivers quality at a reasonable price

Concord's Corner Kitchen delivers quality at a reasonable price
A.J. Groppetti, left, his brother John and Sal Morales are living their dream at the Corner Kitchen in Concord. (Richard Eber photo)

Richard Eber, Taste and TellCONCORD, CA (July 2, 2024) — Despite what some politicians might tell us about the effects of inflation, dining in restaurants is much pricier than several years ago.

To economize, some families share entrees, avoid alcohol purchases and patronize restaurants where you can escape in the $15-$20 range per person.

One place that meets affordability needs is the Corner Kitchen in Concord. The traditional burger place features a menu on par with an upscale diner. It reminds me of the early days of the iconic Fog City Diner in San Francisco.

Located in an isolated strip mall on Willow Pass Road, Corner Kitchen has a much lower overhead than what might be found in downtown Concord or on Lafayette’s Mt. Diablo Boulevard.

Concord High grads

Brothers John and A.J. Groppetti are partners in this venture with Sal Morales. All of them grew up locally and are alumni of Concord High School. Morales also graduated from the Culinary Arts Program at Diablo Valley College.

Fresh ingredients help make the Corner Kitchen special. They grind Angus chuck for their hamburgers and sliders each day, resulting in a product that you can enjoy cooked on the rare side. Among favorites are the classic, blue, mushroom-Swiss and Brie burger.

Smaller sliders help keep prices down, if full portions aren’t desired. In addition to beef sliders, the pulled pork option is popular. They slow cook the shoulder cut for 13 hours with seasonings that include fresh Jalapeno peppers. The result is melt-in-your mouth flavor. I love the Mojo with garlic citrus sauce and the Colorado featuring house-made coleslaw and a pickled pepper relish.

Fried or grilled chicken breast sliders and sandwiches are a Corner Kitchen mainstay. Along with the beef and pulled pork, they all feature sauces made in-house. Preparation time is no problem for the three owners, who are almost always around to custom cook each order.

As an indication of the restaurant’s attention to detail, they coat their French-fried potatoes with flour and cook them twice in the European style. The flavor and crunch are far superior to what is found in most fast-food establishments.

Vegetarian fare

The falafels are my favorite dish. While most competitors use a powdered mix, Corner Kitchen grinds chickpeas to produce this Mediterranean fried comfort food. They served it with a delicious yogurt-based tzatziki sauce for which I ordered an additional helping.

They have more vegetarian items on the menu besides the falafels. As a non-meat eater, John Groppetti proudly serves their three-bean chili, a perfect accompaniment to sliders, burgers and chicken wings. In the green department, Corner Kitchen makes an excellent coleslaw and a diverse group of salads including a wedge, quinoa and cranberry chicken.

Seasoned to perfection

Also on the menu are grilled skewers of chicken, steak, shrimp and roasted vegetables. All are seasoned to perfection and pair well with a side of Jasmine rice. They can be shared, so everyone at the table can enjoy a taste.

The restaurant offers special on a regular basis. Do not miss their pork belly slider with a pineapple/pickled pepper glaze. Also of note: a large selection of draft beers, along with several cocktail options.

Corner Kitchen opens from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday (closing at 8:30 p.m. Friday). They stay closed on Monday and Tuesday, so the owners can have quality family time with their young children.

They hope to expand with an outside dining area, as indoor seating is limited. Visit the restaurant at 3606 Willow Pass Road; phone 925-822-3303.

Contact Richard Eber at

Rich Eber
Rich Eber

Rich Eber is a local journalist and long time resident of Concord.  His diverse topics covered go from politics to gourmet food.  He can be reached at