Ma! The Meatloaf!! – Culinary Dropout-The Yard

The Place: Culinary Dropout-The yard  (Fox Restaurant Concepts)
The Drink: Gascon-Malbac and Wild Blue Blueberry Beer
The food: Ma!…The Meatloaf, Prime Rib Dip, Crunchy Shrimp/Kale Caesar Salad
The location: 5632 N 7th St. Phoenix Az, 85014

By: Brittany Johnson

“Oh my gosh… there really is a yard, like, a real yard!” The first sentence out of my mouth when I entered Culinary Dropout on 7th St. in Phoenix. There was so much happening at this place I don’t even know where to start… ok the exterior, you can’t miss this place, it’s enormous and brightly lit. Like a moth to a flame, the place is just radiating fun. The parking lot is jammed but valet parking is available, which thank God, because I am the world’s worst parallel parker.

The entrance is located at the back, a very long hallway which had an I.D. check right in the front. They are very strict, as they should be (good job Dropout) and everyone is carded, no matter what age you appear. Once you pass the I.D check point there are two double doors; I turn into them to find…the bathroom? How embarrassing. Not what I was looking for! Apparently the bar is behind me… No, that’s a sushi bar. Okay, next place… I found it! Wow…

The Restaurant, Culinary Dropout:

What a fascinating place! It is the epitome of cool and I am so busy watching the room that I don’t notice my waitress who is ready to take us to our table. As I follow her through the restaurant I focus on the room attempting to take it all in. A live band is rocking the stage to my left, a group of people dancing their hearts out in front of me and an open kitchen with a super funny staff preparing everyone’s food behind the dance floor. Everyone is having a great time, this place is awesome. Even the décor is cool, very vintage and rock-star like. When we arrive at our table our waitress strikes up a fun conversation while cluing us in on the menu and specials. Right off the bat I spot bread and olives. Maybe it’s my Italian nature but I can’t think of any better way to start off a meal.

While I’m no picky eater I am picky about bread. I love fresh, thick bread with a great crust and the bread at Culinary Dropout was perfect. Pair it with cold, salty olives and Malbec, just heavenly. When our waitress returns my husband orders a Prime Rib French Dip and our friends order a large Crispy shrimp salad and I ask her to surprise me with the best item on the menu. I expect a burger… it looks like a burger place. Wings maybe. After, all it is a bar. But to my pleasant surprise I’m served Meatloaf! Let me just start off my saying my mom makes the best meatloaf… but, this one beats it (Sorry mom, I love you!) It was moist and uber-flavorful, I was so happy with it that I didn’t want to share! However, if the meatloaf was that good then I would have to try the Prime Rib Dip and thank goodness I did! While I’m not a huge fan of most French dips, I am certainly a fan of this one. The crusty bun is packed with thin layers of juicy prime rib and the aus jus tied it perfectly together. I can’t wait to go back and order the sandwich again. While both dishes were amazing I was really surprised at how good my friends Crispy Shrimp Cesar salad was! I have had a million Caesar salads but this one was different! The dressing was the best I’ve ever had and each piece of perfectly crisp shrimp was tossed throughout a bed of kale and romaine lettuce. After our meal we were just too stuffed to order dessert, plus we had to save room for the yard…

The Yard:

It is recess for adults! As my group enters the massive “yard” I am just taken back by how big it is! There are ping pong tables, corn-hole, jumbo jenga and massive amounts of seating. As my husband heads for the bar line I run for a ping pong table like a 6th grader, after all ping pong rocks. As soon as I get to the tables a group invites my friend and I to play. We play our hearts out but lose, by a lot. However, my burned pride is quickly soothed by the refreshing Wild Blue Blueberry Beer my husband has waiting for me at a nearby table! As my husband shows off his ping pong skills I walk around socializing, taking pictures and asking people what they are drinking. No two people are drinking the same thing and no wonder, the bar is one of the biggest I’ve ever seen! Since the Yard is a very relaxed atmosphere there are no waiters, you simply walk up to the bar and order. Just grab your drink and go.

After an hour of ping pong and socializing we head off to corn hole. There is a little bit of a wait for one of the games to open up but within 10 minutes we are (poorly) playing and having a blast. As I wait my turn to throw my bean bags I look around the room… Everyone is smiling. The yard isn’t just a bar, it a place you can actually hangout and have some real fun, almost as if you were in your own backyard. So the next time you need a fun night out on the town with a date or a group of friends go check out Culinary Dropout for gourmet food, great cocktails and serious fun.

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