Who Remembers…York Steakhouse?

vintage movie screen

Decisions, Decisions!

Here is another installment in our Who Remembers? series. You can browse previous articles by using the search bar on the right. These articles are strolls down memory lane. In some cases the buildings, but new businesses have replaced them. In other instances, the buildings or even the properties have been razed. Instead of a building, it may be a TV show, personality, or commercial that no one longer exists. Either way, it can’t stop us from taking the Memory Lane stroll!

As always we would rather this be a discussion. No one knows this area better than those who grew up here! Please, leave constructive criticism, feedback, and corrections. We’d love to hear your anecdotes. Please share!

Just mentioning the words York Steakhouse evokes not only memories, but I swear I can smell a mouth-watering sirloin being grilled. Like Sunbeam Bread, driving by the building and through the aroma stopped all conversation in its tracks. The chain’s North Dartmouth location was a special treat growing up. I always felt like I must have done something good to deserve a dinner there. There also wasn’t a lot of arm twisting when it came to convincing my mom to take the family there!

If you lived under a rock, you have never heard of the national chain owned by cereal makers General Mills and served steak and potatoes like nobody’s business. Started some time in the 1970s, York Steakhouse was incredibly popular until the majority were shut down by 1989 when General Mills sold, leaving only a handful of independently run and owned restaurants. They were positioned strategically within a strip mall or within eye-sight of a shopping mall – as was the case with the North Dartmouth location.

When you arrived the symbols, plaques on the walls with images of what was available, iron chandeliers, and the battlements made you feel like a king, queen, prince or princess. You would queue, stare at all the plaques – making it even more difficult to make a choice; “I’ll have the Sirloin Strip with…no, I’ll have the Sirloin Tips…um…I mean, I’ll have the Ribe-Eye…oh crud.”

After making the difficult choice, you got a tray and headed into the “cafeteria serving section” where you could pick things a-la-carte, like salad, utensils, dessert (flaming cherries Jubilee anyone?), butter, sour cream, soup and drinks. Then one would tell your order to the cashier, he/she would ring you up and give you a little plastic sign and you would head into the dining room – with salivary glands exploding. Do you remember the coding system of the signs? Look at the end of the article to see if you are right!

I’m unsure whether the case is either that I never ate a bad meal their or it was the entire experience that made everything taste better than it was. As of 2011, only one city in America has a York Steakhouse, so if you want to relive the experience, you’ll have to head to Columbus, Ohio near the Westland Mall.

Meal Options:

  1. - 8 oz. Sirloin Strip Steak, Baked Potato, Roll, Salad
  2. - Sirloin Tips on Skewer, Baked Potato, Roll, Salad
  3. - 8 oz. Chopped Sirloin, Baked Potato, Roll, Salad
  4. - 4 oz. Chopped Sirloin Sandwich, Steak Fries
  5. (Lunch Item Only) – 6 oz. Chopped Sirloin, Steak Fries, Roll, Salad
  6. (Lunch Item Only) – 4 oz. Rib-Eye Steak, Baked Potato, Roll, Salad
  7. - Chef’s Salad

Serving Sign Codes:

2 Red tags stacked=Very Rare
White and Red stacked=Med Rare
White and Brown Stacked=Med Well
2 Brown tags stacked=Very Well

Did you work at York Steakhouse? Do you recall the “kitchen french” that was used to call out the orders? Here are a few I uncovered during my research.

  • Tre Tre Cinya=Very Rare (Cinya is pronounced Sin-yaw)
  • Tre Cinya=Rare
  • Lay Tre Cinya=Medium Rare
  • Cinya=Medium
  • Lay Beonque=Medium Well (Beonque is pronounced Bee-on-kwee)
  • Beouque=Well
  • Tre Beonque=Very Well

I also found these interesting anecdotal codes:

“Check the ice” meant there was an attractive female, “CTI deux fois” meant two attractive girls back-to-back, and “Check the iced tea” was for attractive men.

Photo Guide
1. Ad showing items and prices from decades ago. Visit by Snoopy too!
2. “Everything a store should be!”
3. “Capitol Theatre” today
4. The castle like appearance that drew kids.
5. Vintage photo of a child world.
6. Creative toy display from the 1960s.
7. Holly Hobby!
8. Peter Panda on skates!

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9 thoughts on “Who Remembers…York Steakhouse?

  1. We used to go all the time as kids with our Grandparents. I am 45 now and sadly both my Grandparents have now passed on. This article brings back so many great memories of weekends with them and dinners out at York’s. Thank you so much!

  2. How can I forget York Steak House? It’s where my parents took me and my siblings to tell us we were moving to North Carolina! I spent the meal with my head down on the table crying. That was over 30 years ago!

  3. OMG! I used to work there with three of my friends, one day we all called in sick and they thought Fairhaven had the “blue flu”. Also the cooks used to come by as you were shouting out the orders into the mike and would use their tongs for flipping the steaks to untie your apron ties so your apron would fall to the floor; EMBARRASSING! It was a blast to work there!

  4. worked there three straight summers over 30 years ago. bussed tables, opened and closed. The secret of the shiny dark wood tanles – we would clean them each night with Hot coffee. Happy times and hard work – and we got paid. as for the mediiocer steak, ii guess some people just have bad taste !

  5. I went there all the time as a kid! It was a treat and I would get the sirloin tips every time. the one thing that I always remember was the Catalina dressing on the salad was my favorite,And if all went well, a trip to the arcade across the hall would surely be in order…Good Times!!!

  6. I worked at York’s from early 1977-Sept. 1978, slept overnight there during the blizzard of 78. The steaks were topnotch, they came from the York distributor with the deserts and salad dressings and such, the pies were baked on site from frozen as many of the other deserts were!! All salad ingredients and potatoes were from local distributors!! Check the ice is correct!! Cherries Jubilee was only served on Valentine’s Day!! As far as the menu board in the picture, seafood was not available in Dartmouth nor the pork chop that I remember, there was scrod almondine that was available during lent, the others may have been added after 1978 after I “retired”!! I agree with Sue, it was a fun place to work and am still in touch with a couple of my coworkers from then

  7. I got a job there in 1984 when I was in High School (Westport High). Myself and a few other classmates got hired after the general manager contacted Mr. John Mello, who was the high school prinical at the time and informed him they were highering high school kids part time. I left in the spring 1986 just before I graduated high school. Mr Bill was the general manager at the time and Mr. Remy & Mr. Cero were shift managers . That place was a blast to work and we had many parties in the paring lot after they closed on a Friday & Saturday nights. Mr Bill also organized the annual York Bowl on Thanksgiving day. This is where all the employees would meet at Buttonwodd park and play a touch football game. I statrted out busing tables and moved my way up to a line cook. I met and became very close friends with Paul M, whom I am still very good friends with today. And yes!!!!! CTI (check the Ice) meant there was a pretty girl in line!!!!! I miss York Steak House.

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