The Yard House just opened last Sunday in North Hills, and Out & About checked out this American bar's classic lunch fare the next day. The chain's first North Carolina location didn't disappoint, and with an extensive menu of over 140 dishes and over 100 beers on tap, we'll be sure to return.
The Location: In North Hills at the corner of Front and Park streets, across from Zoe's Kitchen. Yard House's main feature is its huge bar, which fills up the center of the restaurant. The decor is modern and industrial, although big windows help light everything up.
The Food: The restaurant's specialty dishes include American classics such as macaroni and cheese, burgers and daily fresh fish specials. However, Yard House offers many more options that deviate from typical bar food, including California rolls and swordfish tacos. Their menu also has an entire vegetarian* section which displays food made from "chicken or beef substitute made from soy, wheat, pea proteins, vegetables and ancient grains."
The Meal: The team ordered different dishes to get a feel for the restaurant's food.
Caitlin: I ordered the sweet potato fries to start with, which were served with an intriguing maple-bacon cream dip. By themselves, the fries weren't anything extraordinary, but the dip was a perfect mix of sweet and salty for them. The maple was definitely a more apparent flavor, and the dip was more creamy than dressing, almost like a sauce. Little bacon bits at the bottom added another dimension of texture and flavor. And the plate was definitely enough for two or three people to share.
For my main course I chose the angel hair pasta, served with roma tomatoes, roasted eggplant, garlic, basil, pine nuts, feta, parmesan and olive oil. While the flavors blended well together, the dish was almost too salty. I liked the pine nuts, which added a needed crunch, and the fresh basil and parmesan were perfect.
Jodi: Lunch at Yard House was just enough to convince me that I need to pay another visit, probably multiple visits, to get more complete feel for the place.
It's all a matter of scale – Yard House has a huge patio, is larger inside than you expect, and the line of taps was truly tempting even though we chose to forgo beer on this trip. Also almost overwhelming was the menu. So many choices!
I could make a meal from the variety of appetizers, and there are tasty-sounding entries in the burger, pasta and seafood columns. I dared not even look at the dessert list.
I settled for the lunch special of roast turkey club and New England Clam Chowder. The price was right, and the portion was satisfying without feeling overindulgent.
Given what I saw in one meal at Yard House, I'm sure I will be back again!
Tara: Yard House is much more than your typical bar. With a menu that has over 100 items, a vegan section, and a beer menu that doubles the food menu, there is more than enough to please even the pickiest eater.
When we went I was already craving a burger, and with over 10 burgers to choose from, this was a harder decision than I thought it would be. I decided to change it up and went with Pepper Jack Burger. It came with roasted green chiles, pepper jack cheese and garlic aioli with fries. The burger was huge and the green chiles were piled on. They were delicious and gave the burger quite a kick while also giving it a unique flavor. I did not care for the garlic aioli but luckily it comes on the side.
I hate to say it because the burger was so good, but the side of fries was my favorite part of the meal. The fries were very skinny and crispy, almost like straws. I can’t wait to go back and try some other items on their extensive menu and sit on their gorgeous patio.
The Service: Our waiter was friendly and patient as we tried to decide what to pick from the huge menu. Other staff members frequently stopped by to ask how our food was or if we needed anything.
The Bill: There were many lunch plates and combos available for under $10. You could easily order an appetizer and entree for under $15, although the bar offers more expensive options.
The Verdict: We'll have to return for dinner soon to sample some more of the menu – and visit the bar for some local beer or chalkboard specials.
* Correction: We (three carnivores) initially reported the "gardein" section of the menu as vegan selections. They are vegetarian, but not vegan.