As fall comes to an end, and temperatures drop, I can’t help but begin to crave comforting foods to match the shift in seasons. This post was initially unplanned, but my trip to The Yard in Shadyside this past Friday was just too good to go without a review – it was one of the most pleasantly surprising food/drink experiences we’ve had in quite some time.
Tim and I had been to The Yard, a new-ish American Gastropub on Bellefont Street, a few times before; it’s one of our favorite spots for post-dinner beers. It feels a little like a hideout, as it’s basement level. The bar area is cozy and comfortable, and features a beautiful copper-top bar that frames a chalkboard draft menu, with one of, in my opinion, the most well-rounded and extensive craft beer offerings around. And I don’t know how they do it, but every draft they’ve served me has the been the coldest, and freshest beer I’ve possibly ever had. Soooo, because of how incredibly satisfied The Yard has left us in the beer department, we decided to come here for dinner. On this night, I decided to start by exploring the “Beertails” category on their drink menu (that also features wine, whiskey, mixed drinks, absinthe, and coffee-infused drinks. Lots-o-options.) I went with It’s Rye Time: Finch’s Fascist Pig Imperial Red Ale, Templeton Rye Whiskey, Cherry Liquor, Lemon Wedge. OMG. Wow. On a Friday evening, after a long week, I can’t imagine finding a cocktail that would top this one; this was a strong, no-frills, no ice to water it down, delicious beer cocktail. (Please note that I took this photo after Tim and I took several sips – it was filled to the tippy top. Talk about bang for your buck!)
Now for the food menu… This place has it all: snacks featuring pretzels, wings and sliders, apps featuring prosciutto wrapped shrimp and mussels. They have salads, they have soups. They have burgers, sandwiches, flatbreads, large plates, desserts ANDDDD brunch on the weekends. But we had our sights set on one category and one category only: GRILLED CHEESE. Let me tell you about this Grilled Cheese lineup. There is something for everyone – vegetarians, cheese lovers, meat lovers, spice lovers. Got a thing for smoked gouda? Fried green tomatoes? There’s a sandwich for you. Want something with a breakfast twist? Yep. They’ve got it. The variety is overwhelming in the best of ways.
After requesting more time from our sweet and patient waitress probably a dozen times, we picked out two to split: The Young Cheezy ($10): Cheddar, Spicy Chorizo Sausage, Potato Hash and Caramelized Onions, and The Wac Arnold ($11): Two All Beef Patties, Special Sauce, Lettuce, Cheese, Pickle, Onion. I meeannnnnnnnnnnn. These works of art were served with their Crispy Battered Fries (you can choose between regular, Cajun, Garlic Parm, Old Bay, or Sweet Potato,) and Tomato Soup. Behold:
(Noteworthy: Not only are these sandwiches delish – they are locally built with thick-cut texas toast from Allegro Hearth Bakery in Squirrel Hill.) I’ll start with Young Cheezy. I was so pleasantly surprised by the texture of this grilled cheese. The potatoes were creamy and zesty, which complimented the cheddar cheese, and the crunch of the caramelized onions absolutely perfectly. Dip this baby in the perfectly sized portion of the smokey, delectable tomato soup to even further enhance the comfort level. Also – those fries!! I don’t know how they were cooked – I don’t even want to know. But they were so perfectly crunchy. I went with the Cajun, and I definitely would recommend this option. So flavorful and satisfying.
Next, the Wac. The awesomely kind (who I assumed to be) manager, served us our sandwiches, and explained to us that this was their take on a Big Mac. Expectations were exceeded. The burger patties were just right.. the onions were fresh and crunchy, and the pickles were the perfect zesty garlic kick to compliment the cheesy, saucy bite of this masterpiece.
So, overall, I recommend The Yard for a casual night of delicious beverages, crisp and unique beers, and delicious food featuring a twist on classic American cuisine.
Decor: 3.5 (But the copper bar gets a 5!)
Overall Experience: 4.5
A few nuggets of advice:
- The Yard takes reservations! We got there REALLY early… like… 4:50 early.. so we got a table in the bar area right away. But this place was slammed from around 6:00 on.
- They have lots of different specials all days of the week – check out their website! They range from $4 Local Pints on Mondays to $5 Mini Meat & Cheese Boards on Wednesday. (And that’s only naming a few.)
- Their beers are cold and crisp and there’s 42 rotating drafts! If you can’t choose just one – try a Mix & Match Beer Flight!
- The Grilled Cheeses were a bit messy – very buttery and crunchy. You’ll need a few napkins. So maybe I wouldn’t suggest ordering one on a first date?
- But, to that point, there are so many menu options – something for every appetite and occasion.
- I really can’t wait to go back and explore additional menu categories, but I highly recommend the Grilled Cheese section.
736 Bellefonte Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15232