Who Remembers…York Steakhouse?


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!

About Joe Silvia

When Joe isn't writing, he's coaching people to punch each other in the face. He enjoys ancient cultures, dead and living languages, cooking, benching 999#s, and saving the elderly, babies and puppies from burning buildings. While he enjoys long walks on the beach, he will not be your alarm clock, because he's no ding-a-ling.

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  1. I went there once and it was once too many. It’s too easy to cook a good steak at home, why settle for mediocrity?

    • Really? If you want a better steak then go buy yourself some tiny tenderloins for $15 to $20 and cook them up, clean the grill and do the dishes. Rather than being cheap and buying an affordable steak that tastes great.

  2. 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!

  3. 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!

  4. Jim Goulart from Assonet sent these photos of service and a menu showcasing prices fro meals in the $5-$6 range! Thanks Jim!


  5. 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!

  6. 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 !

  7. 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!!!

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. Was the Dartmouth York Steak House for me.I remember the big butter glazed buns with the meal and free refills of soda.I was only around 8-12 years old so it seemed like a big treat then. 🙂

  11. I loved this place, used to get the strip sirloin with the mushroom sauce. I would like to have the recipe for the mushroom sauce if anyone has it

  12. Wow! I only went a couple of times, but I can still hear their radio jingle in my head.

  13. I ate at the one at Hanover Mall in Massachusetts all the time in the 80’s. It was a sad sad day when they closed. It became an UNOs and will soon be a Buffalo Wild Wings but everyone who knew it as York Steakhouse still misses it

    • I remember eating at the Hanover Mall restaurant in Mass. on Friday nights when we were driving to the Cape to go sailing for the weekend. When going through the salad line, I would use cucumbers to make the salad bowl “bigger” since it wasn’t an all you can eat back then. Just recently we were talking about the restaurant but I couldn’t remember the name. Thanks for refreshing the memories.

  14. Well this brings back a lot of memories. My first job was at the York Steakhouse in Dedham. I worked there for a year and a half primarily in the back room doing dishes and sometimes busing tables. Specific favorite memories: “ice check” as listed in the article really did mean that there was a hot babe in line and the guys in the back room (never me, of course) would come out and see if the ice machine was ok. I always thought that was just a local term that we used in Dedham. Who knew? Free soda. Chugging the non free chocolate milk in the walk in refrigerator in 3 seconds or less, to avoid trouble with a manager, and throwing the empty carton under a pallet to hide the evidence. Got to eat the left over steak at the end of the night. Spraying bus boys with my water hose when my sink was already full and I didn’t want any more.

  15. My parents and grandparents went to the one at the Summit Mall in Fairlawn OH alllll the time in the early 80’s. It was the first time I had baked fish with the sliced almonds and it was heaven. With LOTS of lemon slices of course. Being in charge of sliding the tray as a kid was a big, important responsibility and I loved gazing at the desserts. My favorite memory is, IF you were good, the manager would come by with a basket of tiny, plastic dinosaurs. Oh boy, did I have a huge collection of them! I believe they are still in the toy box at my parent’s house.

  16. When I hear the phrase “York Steakhouse”, I am magically transported back to my youth. A more tender and gentle time……..much like the steaks of York Steakhouse. I remember the food being of average quality, but the main reason for my visits were not primarily the food…..it was the experience. I used to love to stand in line with my grandparents and peruse the kingly selections for my little tum tum. Picking out my own items cafeteria style always made me feel like a “big boy”. The rich warm smell of the freshly coffee washed tables wafted pleasantly in the air while I enjoyed watching the cook staff watch “the ice”. The location I frequented was the Rolling Acre Mall location in Akron, Ohio. The mall is now in ruins (check out sites on YouTube). The In the mall, it was located right next to the main entrance of Sears and after a fun meal, we would go over to Kay Bee Toy and Hobby Shop across the concourse and play with the toys in the front part of the store. Even now, sometimes I will wake up in the middle of the night with the smell of sirloin tips in my nose evoking great nostalgia. I am working on a time machine that will allow me to revisit this place from my youth. The last one in existence is two hours away from me in Columbus. Planning on making a trip down there soon to see if my time machine is still needed or if the experience is the same from 30 years ago. I’ll keep you posted. One time when I visited as a child with my family, I saw a ghost sitting at a table which did a dine and dash…………..but that’s a story for a different time.

    • Working at York Steakhouse was my first job. I made $3.05 an hour and after three months got a raise to $3.10 an hour! I made great friends there, learned what is was to work hard, and developed a life long love for blue cheese dressing! One correction. CTI code for “check the ice” had nothing to do with the ice machine. You almost had it right. If there was someone worth pointing out, someone would say CTI at_____, where ever the location they were standing at was. It was a fun way to pass long shifts.

    • I remember my mom taking us all there (5) once in a while as a treat.she’s passed away now too so this brought back some nice memories. Tell us about the ghost!! This qualifies as another time LOL

    • You won’t need a time machine. The one in Columbus is still operating and is almost exactly as I remember it from the 80s. The biggest difference was they added a salad bar, but that’s gone now because of the pandemic.

      This is is literally the only business I can think of that is almost exactly as it was in my childhood. Next closest one I can think of is the Rax in Circleville. In that case not changing isn’t necessarily a good thing.

  17. I worked at the York Steakhouse when I was 20, in West Hartford, Ct at West Farms Mall. Yep, it’s right on… Even down to the ice checks! We used to place frisbee outside after work, and it was a tight little “family.” I still think of well done as beonque… lol – I worked hot line, cold line, and often desserts and salad prep. That huge slicer machine that shredded and mixed the lettuce was called a Qualheim. Well, one day it got the better of me, and sliced open the tip of my finger and I ended up at the ER. They had to dump the whole thing. ?
    They had the best desserts!

    • Anyone who worked at York Steakhouse know their chocolate pudding recipe and the sautéed mushroom recipe or offer close copycat versions?

    • I worked at York Steakhouse in Lexington, KY the summer of 1985. I was put on the cold line so I called out the orders and replenished the desserts. I remember we had to use silly names for the orders for the but I can’t remember the phrases. I thought we had to say cluck or something for chicken. DO you remember some of the calls? Like Honey Glazed half chicken ? I was embarrassed to say them because I was young and shy!

  18. Do anybody out there remember working at the Methuen mall York steak house, I worked there from 77-85 , started out as a bus boy,dish,then line cook&prep, I had the great time working there,the fast pace,i enjoyed giving the people in line with a flame up on the broiler ,the oohs & wows,got them going,the managers I worked with were R.Camrom,Bob Raymond,Don Adams Ron Francie,any others?

  19. I go to Longhorn’s in Wareham. always get my ribeye with house salad and seasoned rice I love it.

  20. I’m from New Brunswick, never ate at Yorks but will forever remember from my youth the huge billboard for Yorks Steahhouse, visible from I 95 in Kittery. Sad to learn it’s now gone.

  21. I used to eat there all the time when I was at the malls where they were located. They sure had good food, and I sure miss York STeak House.

  22. I worked a York in Dedham Ma, and we had the same codes including Ice Check. Lol!

    • Kevin, were you a manager there? If so I think I remember you if you also worked at the York Steak House in Dartmouth before going to the Dedham location?

  23. I would love to have the recipe for their mushroom sauce! Anyone??? Loved it!

  24. My family and friends went to the York Steakhouse at the Capital City Mall in Camp Hill, PA Like a lot who already commented, I have many great memories of that place and some being with people no longer with us. I thought their food was just fine for all you got for around $6!!!! Try that now, anywhere! Always got #3 Medium Well with grilled onions, the buttery huge roll, always fresh salad with thousand island dressing and baked potato extra sour cream. Those were the days for sure!!!!!!!!!!!

  25. how can i get the mushroom sauce recipy

  26. My very first job!! Mr Remy and Mr Bill were great to work for! Most of the time. Lol

    • Hi Kelley, see my post above from April 24th 2014. I worked there in 1985 / 86. Just wondering if you remember who I was. I ended up getting my sister Sheila a job there also during that timeframe…

  27. I do remember eating there in the late 1970s ..78 ..79..The concept of cafeteria style was cool..I loved their sauteed mushrooms steak .rolls..and the food in general was very good.Glad I saw this today..brings back memories of living at home with my dear parents..

  28. I just passed by the old York’s Steakhouse location in Dedham, MA today with my wife. Reminisced about how my parents would take me and my sister there after a trip to the Dedham Mall, which was next door. This would be in mid-late 70’s. I remember it was a treat to be able to pick the foods that I wanted, the plastic color triangle indicating how I ordered my steak, and carrying a tray to the table. It was either the Tips or sirloin strip every time. After it closed, one of the first local Pizzeria Unos moved in, and is still there today.

  29. Anyone remember the one in Auburn Mall, Auburn MA?

  30. Worked at a York Steak House for 2 or 3 days back in High School. My first day the manager put me on baked potato duty and I was forced to answer the request for another potato using French phrases. I found this to be odd as I associated York with England. The potatoes burned my hands and the gal who was supposedly training me was mean and impatient and I hated speaking French. Being that the girl had it out for me and I didn’t care for burned hands….I quit and got a job at a gas station instead. Never actually ate there, either, as I was not impressed with the quality of the meat.

  31. I used to eye those dessert offerings the jello, puddings, pies and cakes all with a generous dollop of whipped topping! However, I very rarely got to eat one because I was a kid and my mom was paying and she would not let us eat sweets and said we were lucky just to be getting the meal…..the golden rule, the one with the gold makes the rules! LOL!

  32. I went there a few weeks ago…There is still one open in Columbus Ohio

  33. I went as a student at smu. You would eat as much as you could then they would come by and ask how is your steak. You would say a little tough they would take it and bring you another one. So nice as a college student to eat more.

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