New Tastes!


Yard House at I-Drive 360

8367 International Drive
Orlando, FL 32819

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Yard House is one of the first tenants open for business at what is going to be a very distinct address on International Drive, and Tastes Of Orlando got to preview the new location.

That distinct address is going to be known as I-Drive 360, which will be the home of a 400 ft. tall observation wheel. The wheel features enclosed air conditioned cars that will give you a view that can stretch for miles. If you are familiar with the London Eye, The Orlando Eye will be similar. 

Riders will be able to see as far as Sea World, Epcot and Universal. It's being reported, that on a clear day, you will even be able to see Kennedy Space Center. The wheel will act as the centerpiece of the attraction area that will also include Madame Tussauds wax museum and a Sea Life Aquarium along with other shops and restaurants.

Yard House is one of Darden Restaurants newest acquisitions to its Specialty Restaurant Group, which includes The Capital Grille, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52 and Eddie V's.

The Yard House brand was first launched in 1996 in Irvine California and grew to over 39 restaurants across 13 states. The vibe inside of most Yard House restaurants is energetic and uplifting with modern and cool music playing. In addition to a great selection of eats, the real wow factor for Yard House is the beer selection with over 140 beers on tap at any given time.

All beers are kept in a state of the art glass-enclosed keg room that is kept at a constant 34-36 degrees and the keg room can house as much as 5,000 gallons of beer at one time.

The beer is delivered fresh and kept chilled by miles of overhead steel and nylon beer lines that flow to the central bar.

Guests can order their favorite draft beers as a half-yard, traditional pint, shorty or a  six-pack sampler. 

The beer list for this location will also feature selections from Florida breweries, including Florida Beer Company and Cigar City Brewing.

If over 140 variety's of beer isn't enough to get you excited, they also feature a few different Beer Cocktails. Beer Cocktail consists of beer and a variety of ingredients like aromatic bitters, mixers, fresh fruits, and of course alcohol. The Dreamsicle (above left) was my favorite. It is a combination of Pinnacle whipped vodka, Cointreau, citrus agave, orange bitters and white ale topped with whipped cream and a fresh orange slice.

The Sunburn (above right) was my guests favorite. This beer cocktail is made up of St. Germain, Malibu pineapple rum, orange bitters, cranberry juice, pear cider, and is garnished with fresh thyme and an orange peel.

Brazilian Lemonade

Pineapple Express

Of course they have a variety of other cocktails available at Yard House also. 

The Pineapple Express features Skyy infusions pineapple vodka, Malibu pineapple rum, Monin mojito, fresh pineapple and mint.

The Brazilian Lemonade has a mix of Cruzan citrus rum, Cointreau, lemonade, Monin mojito, fresh lemon and mint.

Getting back to those great eats, It should be noted that Yard House has over 150 items on the menu, in case you did not think they take food just as seriously as they do beer.

The menu at Yard House offers a little bit of everything from chicken wings to onion rings all the way to sushi and sashimi for appetizers. They have salads, burgers, tacos, seafood, steaks and even pizza is available. 

Some of the house specialties include Southern Fried Chicken Breast served over spinach-corn mashed potatoes, and a Mac & Cheese dish made with campanelle pasta and topped with appleweood bacon, wild mushrooms, cheddar, Parmesan, and truffle oil.

Since it was a preview event, I did not get to taste whole dishes, but the samples that we did get were very tasty indeed.

The Seared Ahi Sashimi that is available as an appetizer, was very good.

It was seared nicely and lightly blackened and was served with soy vinaigrette, wasabi and pickled ginger.

The Grilled Korean BBQ Beef was another great appetizer.

The marinated boneless short ribs had a very nice char and was packed with flavor.

A small sample of the Southern Fried Chicken with spinach and corn mashed potatoes.

This trial size cheeseburger was causing quite a stir at our table during the preview event at Yard House.

I can personally attest to eating three of them because they were that good. 

The Mini Creme Brulee was a fantastic desert.

Taking a traditional vanilla bean custard and topping it with caramelized bananas and filling it with chocolate on the always a good thing.

We sampled a variety of other offerings like the Pepperoni and Mushroom Pizza, Blackened Swordfish Tacos, Shiitake Garlic Noodles and the Penne with Chicken, all of which tasted really good.   

In addition to its full menu, the restaurant offers an “Eat Late” menu available only after 10 p.m. that includes a Black Truffle Cheeseburger and a Pastrami Dog.

Some of the more unique items include Chilaquiles (crisp tortilla chips, onion, egg and smoky chipotle sauce topped with jack cheese, sour cream, guacamole, tomatillo sauce and a fried egg) and Monte Cristo Pops, which are just mini versions of the original Monte Cristo, but gets a side of Jalapeno Peach syrup. 

Those "Eat Late" items a sound like the perfect way to help soak up all those beers and beer cocktails you are sure to sample when you visit. 

Yard House is open daily for lunch, dinner and late night dining. The new restaurant spans nearly 14,000 square feet with seating for more than 300 guests inside and 80 more on the large outdoor patio.

We really liked Yard least from the preview. I am planning a return visit soon, and look forward to trying out some other items like the Mac & Cheese and perhaps a few more beer cocktails.

:The Observation Wheel at I-Drive 360 is scheduled to open by Spring of 2015: 

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