Fresno landed a hugely successful restaurant when Yard House opened this Sunday. Not only did it bring several hundred jobs to the valley, it also brought over 118 beers on tap (this number includes the American light beers which I don’t recognize as beer, so the number is less in my mind). Honestly, I wasn’t that excited when I first heard they were coming. Call it pessimism or a loathing of chain restaurants, but I just didn’t think much of it.
Nevertheless I asked for an invite to the launch party Saturday. Cut me some slack. Food blogging isn’t cheap when you focus on eating out. For the party they served samples of select dishes served by an endless amount of servers. It sort-of reminded me of Costco but they brought the sample to you. I kept wondering if the server would tell me that I had already had a sample, just like Costco. Confess people. We’ve all been there.
I realized, even though they were small samples served on plasticware, the quality of the food was several notches above the other sports bars in town, even one in the same shopping center. Not only was it better tasting, it was more creative and fresher. One of the corporate trainers that served us explained just how much of their food is made from scratch on a daily basis (pizza dough, sauces, sushi rolls, burgers, etc). That was nice to hear and proved to me that I can’t paint chain restaurants with such a broad brush all the time.
Was the food worth the impending wait that the restaurant will have for the next year? Definitely not on it’s own, at least for me. But with an endless beer list and an upper-scale atmosphere, I can imagine most people won’t care about the wait.
Speaking of beer, I stuck with Hefeweizen for the evening. I don’t expect you to be able to pronounce the names but they sure were good.
I contend that you have to order a beer with the name “Dunkel”, just because it’s cool.
Yard House beer list is here.