Your basic suburban Steakhouse in Old Town Pasadena.
You know, I didn’t expect to have a good time at Yard House, but I did.
First off, let’s get this business out of the way. Yard House is a chain. It is in fact, a mega chain with outlets all over the nation. As it stands, because it is that level of chain, it’s level of suckage is going to be kept to a minimum. But because it’s this level of chain, it’s level of greatness and/or inspiration is going to be kept to a minimum as well.
Remember the chains first intention is to get that dollar, not to provide you with a fantastic meal (no matter what they say). The only way they get that dollar is to offend you as little as possible. Thus, the whole thin with keeping greatness and inspiration at bay.
The Yard House menu is…well…voluminous…but nothing extraordinary. It’s your basic Steakhouse, outfitted like a Sports Bar…all while trying to get all things to all people at all times. In case the food doesn’t entertain you, there are lots and lots of big screens all over the place to catch the game, have a brew and relax.
It’s also right across from the Arclight Pasadena, so a more convenient dining spot before or after the movie I can’t imagine.
Truth of the matter is, believe it or not, sometimes the quality of a restaurant isn’t measured by how good the food is, but how good a time you had. I mean, let’s be honest, Yard House ain’t competing with Arroyo Chop House any time soon. And Ruth Chris’s across the street has nothing to worry about.
But I had a good time the night I was there. The space is huge, downright cavernous. Despite that, expect that when you come in on a Saturday night, you’re going to be waiting a while. It’s a big, busy chaotic mess of a place. It’s okay. It’s no station of the foodie cross. You don’t have to make it a destination spot for dinner, but if you do wind up here, you won’t regret it.
WHAT SHOULD I GET?: Just get yourself a steak and get it over with already. I went with the Pepper Crusted Filet, mostly because it came with the words Pepper and Crusted. Hey, it’s a steak, and even the worst restaurants know how to handle a steak at least with a margin of competence. Yard House, despite it being a chain, is a bit better than marginal when it comes to competence.
That being said, I did see something on the menu that…well…concerned me. Street Tacos. Yes, Yard House sells Street Tacos (at least of January 2014). This is just another attempt by a national chain to shamelessly rip off what Roy Choi is doing. I just didn’t realize Yard House had joined the party.
IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP, PEOPLE: Just be prepared for a long wait, if you go there on a Friday or Saturday Night, despite it’s “meh” status. It’s sitting right outside the Arclight Pasadena. Folks don’t feel like schlepping all the way over to El Cholo (also in the Paseo Colorado), so they go here.
PARKING: Well, depends. On most nights, the parking in the two level Paseo Colorado Structure isn’t too bad. You’ll find plenty of spaces. But got there on those aforementioned Fridays and Saturdays, and you will be totally out of luck. Valet and Side Street Parking are a bit difficult in that area, but fortunately, there is a secondary Garage just across the street. It’s on Green Street, between Euclid and Los Robles. It’s mostly for the residential part of Paseo Colorado, but you can park there if you have to. It uses the same validation system as the main structure, so you’re okay there as well.
Just bear in mind that the bridge you see that stretches from the third floor of the structure to Paseo Colorado is useless to you. It’s meant for use by the Residents of the Apartments atop Paseo Colorado.
Yard House (Pasadena)
330 East Colorado Blvd
Pasadena, CA 91101
Tel: (626) 577-9273
Sunday-Thursday 11 am – 11:30 pm
Friday-Saturday 11 am – 1 am