BY DENISE ROMANO AND HELEN KLEIN
Stepping into the Lock Yard is much like walking into a carnival, with brightly painted walls, old-fashioned light bulbs and Sailor Jerry décor.
“It’s a Coney Island theme. When you walk up to the bar, it’s like a table game. It feels like you’re going to throw a dart at a balloon,” explained manager Christian Parry.
Brought to you by the owners of Kettle Black and Ho’Brah Tacos, the outside, family-friendly “beer garden” space is something Bay Ridge has never seen, with heat lamps, lanterns, fireplaces, brick paving and lush greenery.
“We have such a wide spectrum of people here, from all walks of life,” said Parry, adding that business has been booming since the restaurant opened a few weeks ago. “The neighborhood didn’t have a place with a backyard, a quiet one where you can enjoy a nice beer and artisanal sausage and conversate for once instead of yelling over the game.”
The Lock Yard serves up sausage from Lioni’s and Brooklyn Cured, the bread comes from a bakery on 18th Avenue (except for the Martin’s Potato Rolls used with all-beef Hatfield hot dogs) and all salads and sides are made in-house.
Believe it or not, the menu has a bevy of vegan and gluten-free options.
“We have to offer something like this to people in the neighborhood, especially children,” Parry said. “On Sundays, it’s all kids and parents. It’s awesome and a lot of fun.”
For the adults, the Lock Yard carries only craft beer – domestics are from New York State and imports are from the rest of the U.S., with “no generic stuff” around.
But the colorful and vibrant menu is what keeps people coming back – and it’s easy to see why.
The Hot Mess ($11.95) is enough deliciousness to keep four people happy as they chat before the main course arrives. It’s a massive pile of waffle fries, sweet potato tots, onion rings, chili, cheese, banana peppers, pickled jalapeno, diced white onions, tomato, sriracha aioli and barbecue sauce. It was gooey, yummy and downright fun to eat.
We really enjoyed the Wedge Salad ($6) featuring a hunk of iceberg lettuce, sliced cherry tomatoes, blue cheese dressing and crumbles and the biggest bacon bits we have ever seen. The combo was rich, savory and hearty – a salad fit for a king!
One of us chowed down on the Johnny Cash Hot Dog ($3.50) topped with chili, melted cheddar cheese and diced white onion. The classic combo was downright tasty and slightly smoky. We felt like we were on the beach eating it.
The Bartman Hot Dog ($4.25) is the Lock Yard’s version of the Chicago dog with spicy brown mustard, a pickle spear, banana peppers, sliced cherry tomato, diced white onion, relish and everything bagel seeds. It was a mouthful of tart, sour goodness.
The San Gennaro ($7.50) is a classic street fair sausage kicked up a notch. Smothered in sautéed onions and peppers and shaved provolone, it was redolent with the licorice-y taste of fennel. We had the version with sweet sausage; hot is also available for lovers of strong spice.
The Falafel ($7.50) is like no falafel we have ever tasted before. Forget a crunchy exterior and the heretofore de rigueur round of pita bread. This falafel, nestled in a soft, chewy roll, takes the classic chickpea puree that is usually deep-fried and reimagines it as a sausage, delightfully smoky from the addition of smoked paprika, with banana pepper slices adding a tart note and harissa contributing some gentle heat.
And, there’s more to come. Parry said to look out for happy hour specials and chef Cory Johnston promised culinary specials just for the fun of it – from the Tijuana Street Dog, wrapped in bacon and piled with guacamole, pico de gallo and queso fresco, to the Asian Dog, panko-breaded and sprinkled with crushed wasabi peas, with an Asian slaw on the side.
Save us a seat at the Lock Yard!
The Lock Yard
9221 Fifth Avenue