Dining out: All aboard for The Coal Yard

June 17, 2008 

Chicken strips are one of three plates served at The Coal Yard Restaurant & Lounge in York, where steak and salmon reign.

CATHERINE MUCCIGROSSO/LAKE WYLIE PILOT

It comes as no surprise to me that I thoroughly enjoyed my steak sandwich at The Coal Yard in York, because the readers of our sister paper, the Enquirer-Herald, voted it "Best Steak" in western York County. It also was named Business of the Year 2007 by the Greater York Chamber of Commerce.

My 4-ounce cut of rib eye was cooked perfect medium-rare -- juicy and tender inside with grilled crunch outside and packed with flavor. Put that between two slices of Texas toast and a side of sweet potato fries, and I'm a happy gal. And, all of this for $6.29.

My friend was steered to the chicken strips, recommended by our waitress, who was quick on service and welcoming. He got five chicken tenders breaded and deep fried with a side (fries), Texas toast and slaw for $6.59. He offered me a bite, but I didn't want to ruin my steak palate. He said the chicken was juicy, and the slaw was great.

The menu runs the gamut to please anyone, with salads, soups or the combo of both, 16 sandwiches ($2.99-$4.99), appetizers, including train-related names like Cross Ties.

There are sandwich combos including French dip and Reuben, and chicken and barbecue plates, all priced in the $6.29-$6.59 range. Then there are the entrees listed as "Land" for ribeye steaks, from $6.99 to $16.99, "Air" for the chicken cooked Hawaiian, Cajun or Italian styles for $8.99, and finally "Sea" with shrimp, flounder or salmon, $7.99-$9.99.

Interesting is the Coal Yard Taters, offering five ways to have a spud, like the Greater Tater stuffed with ham, turkey, roast beef, green peppers, onions, mushrooms topped with provolone and real bacon bits for $5.25. There's also a Veggie Tater, Sweet Potato, Chicken Salad Tater and Plain Ol' Tater.

Another thing this place has besides good food at a good price is all the atmosphere you can soak up. It shouts "LOCAL." The brick interior walls are covered with art by local artists to check out and for purchase. On the way out, we stopped to admire many of the creative and talented works on display. Plus, I learned that instead of The Coal Yard getting a cut, they donate 20 percent of the purchase to the charity of the buyer's choice.

There's also a full bar and smoking section for mingling, catching a game on the tube, and outdoor deck at the entrance, which is actually in the back of the building (the front of the building dons the locomotive logo). There's plenty of parking, too.

Still, it's family-friendly, and even though it's a steak house, it's casual come-as-you-are. Or, you could dress it up. The Coal Yard is definitely a yardmaster for eating out in western York County. All aboard!

Catherine Muccigrosso, Lake Wylie Pilot editor

THE COAL YARD RESTAURANT AND LOUNGE
Location: 105 Garner St., York

Hours: Lunch: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Friday. Dinner: 5-10 p.m. Monday-Saturday

Phone: (803) 684-9653

Web site: restaurant.com/microsite.asp?rid=322842&rpid=3514

Ambiance: Family-friendly steak house

FOR RESTAURANT INSPECTION RATINGS: Visit mecklenburg.digitalhealthdepartment.com to find out about Mecklenburg County restaurants. Visit heraldonline.com and click on the top left "Restaurant Inspections" link to see DHEC scores.

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