Surely by now you have been to the new Ridge Hill Shopping Plaza in Yonkers. New stores are opening every day, and with anchors such as Whole Foods, and the soon-to-come Lord and Taylor, Ridge Hill promises to be a destination shopping location for the entire Tri-State area. No wonder the owners of the YARD HOUSE, a popular chain restaurant based in Irvine, California, decided to settle on the Yonkers center as its first New York location.
After having dinner at the Yard House tonight, its easy to see that this food and beer establishment is going to be full of patrons for years to come. The restaurant is the brain child of a man named Steele Platt, a Hawaii native, and California resident. Steele opened the first YARD HOUSE location in 1996 on the Long Beach waterfront in California. He wanted a restaurant that would feature several domestic, regional, international and craft beers on tap, and good American cuisine. The first location boasted 250 taps!! Since its inception, Platt’s concept restaurant has grown to over 30 locations with the majority still in California. That California vibe and flavor is part and parcel of every Yard House restaurant, and Yonkers is no exception.
Upon walking through the doors, you are flanked immediately on the left by a glass wall, exposing dozens of steel kegs of beer. Right away, you know you are in for a great experience. The friendly and very plentiful staff is there to greet and seat you, and our server, Rich, was with us immediately. After getting acclimated to the overall aesthetic experience of the decor and vibe (there is a HUGE square bar smack center of the restaurant with dozens upon dozens of taps, and large glasses which are actually half-yards), you have time to study the vast menu. First and foremost is the beer. The selection is broken down by beer types – white ales, pale ales, smoky lagers…wow. I was actually craving a Kona, and dontcha know, they had it! I was in beer heaven. And…most exciting to me was that Rich was kind enough to ask me for identification (which, at 40-something is a real and rare bit of flattery). My husband asked to get a sample of a CAPTAIN LAWRENCE brew, which was promptly brought to him – and which was subsequently ordered.
I took mental note of a table of about 20 women next to us, who were there to celebrate a birthday. At any given moment, there were no fewer than 3-4 waitstaff at the table. I was actually very impressed at the amount of waitstaff on the floor in general. Right after we placed our food order, Rich informed us that Bridgette would be serving us for the rest of our dinner, as his shift was ending. Right away, Bridgette was great, from her wonderful Brogue to her attention to detail. When we asked about the curious half-yard glasses, she came over with a menu right away and talked us through all the beer ordering options, including the opportunity to order a “Belgian Six Pack” – consisting of 6 different Belgian ales in 6 ounce glasses on a tray. A great way to try some of the different beers offered in the restaurant.
Our food came…first the crab and lobster dip, which was out of this world, and even please a picky 13 year old! Then, dinner came. My husband had a full rack of ribs to go with his smokey Captain Lawrence, my daughter had a bacon cheeseburger, my son a cheese pizza….but I feel that I had the King of meals. I ordered the Surf and Turf burger. A hearty beef burger, topped with cheese, succulent lobster bites and grilled asparagus and garnished with baby spinach. And on the side? The most wonderfully spicy Bearnaise sauce I have ever had. The sweet potato fries were just icing on the cake, so to speak. Needless to say, my entire burger was gone in a heartbeat, and I could not even touch my poor fries. We were indeed going to leave with doggie bags. And as an example of how well thought out everything in the restaurant is? Leftover food is boxed for you in cardboard boxes that have the date and a description of the food written on it. How smart is that?
We chatted with Bridgette for a few minutes, and after much deliberation, decided that we just could not fit any dessert. However, Bridgette told us about all the fantastic Happy Hour specials that the Yard House runs. Half Price appetizers, pizzas, sliders, and deep discounts on beer, mixed drinks, martinis and wine. Happy Hour in Yonkers runs Monday through Friday, from 3-6 pm, and Sunday through Wednesday, 10pm to close (about 12:30am). Its actually a great deal if you are heading there with the kids, as a family of four could probably eat (without alcohol) for under $40. You can’t beat that with a stick! For the full menu, and all other information, check out the Yard House on the web, HERE.