I have trash talked Dink’s for years. From the bagel shops to the mall restaurants, the food and the service…I’ve never held back. And the truth is, neither has most of Santa Clarita. It seems as if everyone has some sort of complaint or bad memory from going to any of the places that the Dinkowitz family operated in the last few years. Recently they sold off the Dink’s bagels shops and closed the restaurant at the mall but it was inevitable they would come back to the restaurant business.
As of yesterday they are back at it again with the opening of The Backyard in Canyon Country. Located directly to the left of the always crowded Rattler’s, they took the vacant former Starbucks and transformed it into a restaurant complete with a large enclosed patio complete with a fire pit.
I was talking to some friends the other day (in anticipation of The Backyard opening) and I told them I had a plan. I was going to go in with a clean slate. Without any preconceived notions of what their businesses were like. I was going to be fair and honest and I was going to give Santa Clarita a preview/first look of what to expect. And because I don’t write hit pieces anymore, I secretly hoped it was good because otherwise it would be hard to write about. People that have followed my posts for the past ten years or so might remember how ruthless I used to be. I’ve mellowed out in recent years, realizing that words have power and sometimes not saying anything about a place I don’t like says more than a long winded article could.
So, here goes:
The menu is big, composed of breakfast on one side (served 8am-3pm) and sandwiches, salads, starters, burgers, tacos, and more on the other. It was a lot to take in and it took me a bit to choose what to order. I wanted to get something unique to the restaurant, so I got the short rib stack. Priced at $14.95 it came with 8 hour braised short rib, arugula, fried onion strings, and poached eggs. I was surprised to see that it was served in a bowl, but it was oddly perfect. It was like a big bowl of comfort food, and it even had breakfast potatoes on the bottom. And you know what? It wasn’t bad, I would have liked a little more salt and pepper, but overall, I liked it. Of course the onion straws didn’t hold a candle to the restaurant next door, but that’s okay. This bowl of comfort worked. Meat and potatoes and eggs…in a bowl…for breakfast. Yes.
I’m not one to order grilled cheese at a restaurant, but my friend had a craving and I wasn’t about to stop her. On the right side of the menu there is a square advertising Cup of Soup & Grilled Cheese for $7.95. It says cheddar/jack/provolone/bacon/avocado. My friend was able to order it with gruyere. I don’t know how that happened honestly, but it was actually really good with just the gruyere! It would have been nice with a side of tomato soup but she opted for tortilla soup (one of the options available today). If you order it be sure to ask what the cheese options are, because I think it is meant to come with all three cheeses combined.
I know what you are all thinking. It is a grilled cheese sandwich, you can’t mess that up, but maybe it was the avocado, or the perfectly toasted bread that made it stand out? No, it wasn’t Speakeasy bread, but it was definitely a step above the usual fare.
Even the bread that came with my breakfast bowl was above average.
There is a nice bar area complete with flat screen TVs and a mix of high and low tables. And since they have “brews” in their name, here is a peek at some of their offerings.
As I said before, there is a lot of variety on the menu, and of their desserts, I believe only a couple are made in house. These are the donuts that you make out of biscuits. If you know you know. It isn’t fancy and it isn’t high brow, but if you grew up on these donuts then you can appreciate them as much as I did.
And then there are the baked to order cookies with a side of cold milk.
I was ready to hate it you guys. I have heard countless people say they don’t plan on trying it out. But, I did, and I’m here to tell you it is worth a shot. It will not blow your mind, it isn’t the best restaurant ever, but there’s always room for second and third and fourth chances. Time will tell if they find redemption in The Backyard.
The Backyard Grub n Brews is located at 26509 Golden Valley Road next to Rattler’s.