York Steak House

Sometimes you find adventure and fun around every corner and without even trying. Sometimes the thing you looked forward to doing isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. That was the case yesterday.

I belong to a Facebook group called Ohio Road Trips where I occasionally get adventure inspiration. I try to not get too excited about the recommendations because people often pan things that I like and hype things that I think are terrible. But when a gentleman shared his pictures from York Steak House in Columbus, I thought it sounded fun.

York was a popular chain in the sixties and seventies, using a cafeteria format to serve mostly steak, chicken and seafood. It was a contemporary of chains like Bonanza and Ponderosa which were enjoying their heyday when I was a kid. While York peaked at about 200 locations that were located largely in shopping malls, most locations closed in 1989.

The Columbus restaurant opened in 1966 and is said to be the only one left. It remains family owned and operated and has the feel of an early eighties time capsule.

Everything is made to order in an open kitchen. Most meals come with one trip past the salad bar. And take note, it’s an actual salad bar where you make a salad. There’s not a lot of extra stuff like cottage cheese and fruit and the like.

It’s feels like a sort of odd process if you’ve never been there. When you get in line, you grab a tray, cutlery and napkins before placing your order with someone behind the counter. That person will provide you a salad plate and cup. Next, you can pick up your dessert if you see fit before fixing your salad. Keep going to fill your glass with the Coke product of your choice. Past that you’ll find complimentary butter and little cups of sour cream for a quarter apiece. This is a step up from years ago when they also charged you for the butter.

Finally, you’ll make your way to the cash register to pay for your meal.

After that, it becomes like a regular restaurant. You seat yourself with your salad and drink. A waitress will refill your drinks and bring your meal when it’s ready.

You’ll exit the dining room via a different door than where you entered.

The regulars who came through before us seemed as happy as clams but we were a little perplexed as to how everything worked.

My food was great – fish, a delicious baked potato and a tasty yeast roll. I forget sometimes how much better a baked potato is when it comes from the oven rather than the microwave!

I actually went with my parents to celebrate my mother’s recent 70th birthday. In retrospect, this wasn’t the best choice for a celebratory meal but it certainly was a unique experience.

My favorite part was actually this sign.

Don’t ask why. I couldn’t begin to answer you other than to say it reminds me of the menu boards of the old Ponderosa steakhouses of my childhood

York Steak House is located along the National Road and is certainly unique to the National Road experience. All you roadies out there looking for a blast from the past might consider a stop here. Learn more at their website.

4 thoughts on “York Steak House

  1. My first “real” job was working at the Ponderosa on Airway Rd. in Dayton. I liked the food, but the job totally sucked! I made a little over $2 an hour – no tips. Much of the time I was assigned to the salad bar, which meant being freezing cold all the time. Can’t say I recall ever hearing about York’s.

    • That sounds terrible. I always try to be extra nice to people who work in restaurants because most people don’t realize how awful those jobs can be. I don’t recall York’s either but I was still pretty young when they closed.

  2. So all of us at the Ohio National Road Association say Thank You for the plug! Ro say nothing of the GREAT FOOD!

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