The Cuisine Scene
Brenda Hill

Hickory Ranch Steakhouse
Yucaipa, CA

While I love to explore different towns and various restaurants, I’ve found nothing to beat Hickory Ranch Steakhouse right here in Yucaipa. It’s consistent as a comfortable place to go whether I’m in my jeans or dressed a little nicer, and the food is homemade and offered at a reasonable price.

I discovered this wonderful restaurant not too long after I moved to Yucaipa from Minnesota four years ago. A friend had ordered a salad to go and it was humongous, so I wanted to try their dinners.

I only had one problem: as a single lady who knew few people, I didn’t have anyone to accompany me, and I was a bit hesitant to walk into a restaurant alone, especially at the dinner hour. Yet I didn’t want to start my new life being dependent on someone else, so I determined to try it before the dinner rush.

Several days later, around four-thirty in the afternoon, I walked through their doors and was shown to a small booth. I love those booths. They’re perfect for those of us who sometimes eat alone--comfortable, yet small enough so we’re not awkward as a single in a huge booth. And the wait-staff chatted briefly and made me feel welcome. Oh, how important that was at that time. Still is, actually.

Before I even looked at the menu, I felt I’d found the perfect place for me. The atmosphere was relaxing with soft lighting and just enough of a Western motif to be casual without being hokey. And while they have tables for those who prefer them, they also have cushy regular-sized booths as well as horseshoe-shaped ones for larger parties.

But the pièce de résistance is the food. Whether I’m in the mood for a good sandwich, a beef burger or my favorite, a buffalo burger, or a complete meal, I like the choices offered and the fresh taste.

Sandwiches include their house specialty of chicken or beef with teriyaki or barbecue sauce sautéed with onions, green peppers and mushrooms for $8.99, and includes a choice of French fries, cole slaw, ranch beans or a cup of soup. Homemade soup, I might add, one of two made daily. And their French fries are the larger ones, crispy and delicious.

For the same price, they have a Reuben with corned beef, sauerkraut and cheese on grilled rye, a pulled pork, a chicken breast with lettuce, tomato, pickles and onions, and a barbecue beef on a bun.

I’ve tried most of them and loved them, but my favorite is the beef dip for $9.99. Thin-sliced Angus beef sirloin trimmed of fat and served on a homemade French roll. I love it Southern-style, piled high with cole slaw, which is also how I prefer a barbecue or a pulled pork sandwich. It can be messy eating, but it’s worth it. I just make sure I have plenty of napkins.

If I want something light, I’ll order one of their six different salads, maybe a Chinese chicken salad with charbroiled chicken, Mandarin oranges, chow mein noodles, carrots, cabbage, and celery on mixed greens for $9.99. Or, for the same price, a Greek salad with homemade Greek dressing. Perhaps I’ll have a Cobb salad, or a chicken southwestern salad with olives, avocado, red onions and cheese. Their new menu includes a chipotle steak salad with Angus beef steak served with avocado, black beans, Pepper Jack cheese and tortilla strips, tossed with a Chipotle dressing for $11.99.

And of course there are pasta dishes. Spaghetti, fettuccini Alfredo with blackened chicken breast, and shrimp scampi penne, which is shrimp sautéed in a scampi butter served with tomatoes and penne pasta topped with Parmesan cheese for $17.99. All their pasta dishes are served with soup and garlic bread, or you can trade the soup for salad for 99 cents.

But I love the roast turkey dinners for $11.99. Makes me wonder why I’d ever spend all day cooking a turkey and face the cleanup when Hickory Ranch does it so well. On an average, they roast 3 cases of turkey breasts each week, so they’re always fresh. None of that pressed meat for them, thank goodness. And of course they use real potatoes, so their dinners and hot sandwiches always taste homemade.

Sometimes I’ll have their roast beef dinner with sliced Certified Angus beef prime rib for $14.99, or their 8-oz charbroiled pork chops for $14.99. Also on the menu is salmon with rice pilaf for $14.99, and lamb shank with mint jelly for $10.99. They even have liver and onions, which I might break down and have one day. That’s on my list of things to try along with green tea ice cream. But not tomorrow or next week, though. Too many other things come first, such as the swordfish and halibut they’ve added to the new menu.

But last night when Kathryn and I had dinner, I chose the fried shrimp, another favorite. As with their other entrees which include charbroiled baby back ribs, a 1/2 rack for $15.99 and a full for $21.99, half of a rotisserie chicken for $10.99, and their English beer-battered fish & chips for $11.99, we’re offered soup and two choices of sides including seasonal vegetables, corn, cole slaw, ranch beans, fried, baked yam, baked potato, rice, garlic mashed potatoes and regular mashed potatoes.

Kathryn had the French onion soup and the 8-oz halibut steak fillet with lemon dill sauce for $14.99. She said her soup was deliciously filled with cheese and the halibut moist and flaky.

And we’ve only touched on their beef dishes, either their Certified Angus Beef for their 10-oz rib eye for $18.99, their 18-oz prime rib for $16.99, or their USDA Choice porterhouse, a huge 18-oz steak for $28.99, a top sirloin for $15.99 or the regular size or the petite filet mignon 7-oz for $17.99.

When I visited their kitchen, they were cooking a steak over an open grill and the delicious aroma almost made me change my order from shrimp to steak.

Hickory Ranch has more to their menu, add-ons such as ribs, chicken, or shrimp, for a reduced price when added to any entrée. Kathryn and I shared their fried zucchini appetizers, but they also have beer-battered onion rings as well as spinach & artichoke dip. Next time we'll try the onion blossom, a jumbo onion flower served with Southwestern sauce for $5.99.

They also have daily specials and selections for seniors. Then there’s their wine selection, mixed drinks, bottled and draught beers. Their Sports Bar features a big screen TV and Monday night football and Friday night Karaoke. They even have a banquet room in the back. Truly, this family-owned restaurant has something for everyone.

Best of all, they’re opening again for lunch on the 1st of October. Can't wait. So bring your appetite and maybe I'll see you there.

Monday-Thursday 4-9pm
Friday 4-10pm
Saturday 11am-10pm
Sunday 9am-9pm, Serving Sunday breakfast 9am-2pm