Chef Biography

Susan Feniger graduated from the Culinary Institute in 1975 and went to work at Ma Maison in Los Angeles. She went on to Chicago, working at the French restaurant Le Perroquet where she met Mary Sue Milliken.  In 1982, she went back to Los Angeles, taking Mary Sue with her, to open City Café, first as an employee, and later as a partner. The two view themselves as a creative unit. They started out liking country French food, and then became influenced by Indian (after Susan visited India), and finally Mexican cuisine.

In 1985, the two of them packed a VW bug and took a road trip far south of the Mexican border.  Never setting foot in a “fine restaurant”, they learned the recipes and techniques of market vendors and home cooks, from street corners in downtown Mexico City, to back road family barbecues and taco stands along the beach. When they returned, they opened Border Grill on Melrose Avenue, and applied the same intelligence.

In 1986, Great Chefs taped them in their new Border Grill restaurant, preparing two appetizers, Guacamole and Green Corn Tamales with Salsa; an entrée, Grilled Turkey Breast, and a dessert of Red Yam Flan, for the PBS television series Great Chefs of the West.  More recently, they had their own television series on the Food Network, “Too Hot Tamales”.

They moved in 1990 to Border Grill’s current location on 4th Street in Santa Monica.  In 1999 they opened Border Grill Las Vegas in the Mandalay Hotel, and in 2010 along came Border Grill Downtown Los Angeles.  And like sisters, the restaurants are everything alike and nothing alike- Santa Monica is the brunette, Border Grill Downtown L.A. is the blonde, and Vegas is definitely the redhead. In 2009 they launched the Border Grill Truck, and Border Grill Stop kiosks in 2010. And Susan has launched her first solo restaurant venture, “STREET” in Los Angeles.

Keeping it “all in the family”, Mary Sue’s husband, and Susan’s childhood friend, architect Josh Schweitzer, created the original designs of all the restaurants.


Grilled Turkey Breast with Vinegar and Cracked Pepper

Serving: 6 Print Grilled Turkey Breast with Vinegar and Cracked Pepper By Great Chefs May 9, 2014 Turkey has come a long way from being viewed strictly as a holiday bird. It is healthful, versatile, and relative inexpensive. This is a quick and masterful way of using the cutlets now available. If your market does […]

Red Yam Flan

Serving: 6-8 Print Red Yam Flan By Great Chefs May 9, 2014 Flan is a traditional Southwestern dessert, one of the many dishes of Spanish derivation now part of the repertoire. Pureed yams impart a vibrant color to the usually pale dish, as well as boosting the flavor and texture. The flan can be made […]


Serving: 8 Print Guacamole By Great Chefs May 9, 2014 While this stellar version of a Mexican and Southwest classic can be a delicious appetizer by itself, it’s also traditionally served as an accompaniment to almost all tortilla specialties. All dishes made with avocado darken when exposed to air. This dish can be made up […]

Green Corn Tamales with Salsa

Serving: 6 Print Green Corn Tamales with Salsa By Great Chefs May 9, 2014 Tamales are a traditional Christmas food in the Southwest. In this recipe they are made with fresh corn, so their texture and flavor are light. These would make a dramatic centerpiece on a Southwestern table any time of year. Frozen corn […]

Restaurant Information

Phone : 310-451-1655

Address : 1445 4th St, Santa Monica, CA 90401

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