The Hop Yard American Alehouse and Grill, according to its website, is located on what was once the largest hop farm in the world.
I found this to be very interesting because this is a piece of Tri-Valley Americana that not many people are aware of. According to the grill's website, from the 1880s to 1913, the Pleasanton Hop Company operated on nearly 1,900 acres of swampy marshland along what is now Hopyard Road.
The Hop Company had to close before the start of World War I and move because of a loss of water rights. In the early 1990s, the restaurant reopened and is now serving simple pub fare.
I have been going to this restaurant since I moved to the area and have had several great experiences. But the most recent one was just so-so.
In previous experiences, we have had a very attentive wait-staff, good greasy pub food and ice cold beers.
Among my favorites is the Sierra Madre burger ($8.50). It's topped with bacon, cheddar and avocado and includes sides of house-made kettle chips or twice-fried fries.
I also love the flat iron steak salad ($9) — broiled flat iron steak, bleu cheese, tomatoes, red onions and mixed greens topped with a yummy dressing. My ultimate favorites are the mini corn dogs, ($6) with crispy and crunchy breading that tastes like you are at the fair.
But the most recent experience was very lackluster, with a lot of misses. Our waiter was attentive at first and took our appetizer order quickly but 20 minutes later, the nachos we had ordered had not arrived. It turns out they were served to another table. Once the nachos arrived, they were plentiful but lacked the flavor you would look for in a nacho platter with chicken or pork ($10).
Our entrees arrived about 10 minutes later. I ordered the chicken strips and fries ($8), which came with three large pieces of chicken and a heaping pile of fries. I thought it was tasty but overcooked. My mom ordered the Philly cheese steak ($9.50) a flat iron steak, banana peppers and red onions, and a heaping pile of fries. This was really yummy but needed a lot more meat. My dad ordered the Cajun melt ($9), which has cut-up chicken, jalapenos, tomatoes and jack cheese. This again did not have a ton of meat but was good and spicy.
The server never came back to refill our drinks and it took a long time to get our check. All in all, it was not the best experience but based on previous visits, this still is a good place for a brew, food, friends and sports.
The Hop Yard American Alehouse and Grill is at 3015 Hopyard Road in Pleasanton.