Feeling hungry on your way back from Toad’s? There’s a decent chance that you’ll end up with a large pizza and some French fries at Yorkside. Yorkside Pizza and Restaurant is a go-to place for Yalies, famous for its tasty food, low student prices and convenient location. It’s one of the most popular spots for late night eating around campus.
Still, as much as we all love a slice of greasy cheese pizza on a Wednesday night, you’re closing yourself off to a world of other options if that’s all you get each time you go to Yorkside. What you might not know is that Yorkside has a bunch of other choices – many of which aren’t even Italian – that are even better than the pizza.
Let’s start with the first thing I ever ordered at Yorkside, and arguably one of the best: their delicious moose tracks milkshake. Granted, I love anything with a bunch of milk and sugar, but Yorkside’s moose tracks shake is exceptional. One of my favorite parts is the chocolate peanut butter cups stuck at the bottom of the thick and creamy vanilla shake, keeping the party going even after your straw is rendered useless.
Yorkside also has an abundance of Greek dishes, including Gyros, Greek salads and everything in between. Its owner, George Koutroumanis, is a Greek immigrant who opened Yorkside in 1977 with his two brothers and now runs it with his extended family. As a Turk, I should probably refrain from praising the competing next-door culture too much…but I can’t help it; the Mediterranean food reminds me of home, and it’s really good. One of the best options on the menu is the gyro, a huge, filling sandwich stuffed with meat and topped with Tzatziki sauce (a type of yogurt sauce mixed with garlic and cucumbers). This is a great option for all the red meat fans out there.
But my all-time favorite at Yorkside is their Greek salad. As I once wrote on my Facebook wall, I could spend the rest of my time at Yale eating just this salad if I were not on the meal plan. Whenever I skip a meal and stop by Yorkside, I order this dish, my cheesy dream come true. Sometimes, I’ll even just order their side-dish sized Greek salad (but don’t forget the extra cheese). Their portions are HUGE. If I just want the salad as a snack, I usually end up getting the mini salad instead of a small one because the “small” is actually so big that it can easily serve more than one person or last for more than one meal. If you can’t tell, I’m a cheese fan, and my favorite type is feta. The salad is served with mixed lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes and olives, along with one of the best Greek dressings I’ve had, and I usually don’t love salad dressings. The end result is greens nicely softened with a delicate dressing, complemented with that slightly salty bite from the feta. Simple yet delicious.
Moving on to less healthy items: the world of the deep-fried foods. Their mozzarella sticks are many people’s guilty pleasure, where “just one” often turns to two then three, then way too many. I try to stay away from fried foods, but I admit, I fail horribly when it comes to the mozz sticks here.
And finally, the desserts. My favorite is probably the baklava, a dish that many might think is Greek, but is actually Turkish. Okay, I won’t harp on this, but I think we can all agree that this Mediterranean delicacy made of layers of filo (a type of dough authentic to Balkans and the Middle East), filled with walnuts or pistachios, and doused with sweet syrup or honey is the right way to end a meal at Yorkside. Those who have not yet tasted it should make their way to the restaurant for this rich, decadent dessert.
My one concern with this restaurant: they used to serve a simple Greek yogurt and honey dish, which is no longer on the menu. I hope someone is reading this and hears my prayers to bring it back.
So, the next time you visit Yorkside, go ahead and order your cheese pizza. But don’t forget to try one other dish that sounds exciting to you. You won’t regret it.
Location: 288 York Street, New Haven, CT, 06511
Hours of Operation: Mon-Sun 11:00 am-1:00 am
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