Let's start with the only real glaring issue with the Yards: the logo.
I get budgetary constraints and all, and getting an actual designer to create your logo can be costly. The solution, though? Don't try to go fancy, and keep it simple: use a classy font and call it good. Hey, it's what Massimo Vignelli recommends, so who are we to argue?
And as OS X comes with Futura pre-installed, you can mock something up in mere minutes using TextEdit.
Hey, it's not original, but at least it's classic. (Maybe I'm just too much of a Bauhaus fan, but then, it worked wonders for Kubrick.)
The Yards itself seems like a perfect match for the KY, where a good variety of restaurants is opening. A fairly simple diner using good, fresh ingredients? Like Futura, it might not seem exciting up front, but I really do feel it has more to it than what one initially might think.
The menu is pretty classic as far as a more modern diner goes, all the type of foods that most anyone who want a casual breakfast (or, of course, brunch) would enjoy.
I gave the «Ol' English» a try, a breakfast that lived up to its name. The beans were great: not too sweet; not too mushy; just how I like them, accompanied by good, English style bacon. The only downside was the poached egg which was a bit overcooked. But hell, first weekend and all. I jot that down to opening jitters.
(And not to mention the place being packed. Good for Spokane, trying something new.)
The short ribs, too, were good. The sauce might be a bit sweet for some, but that's kind of a subjective thing. I liked it, and the meat was perfectly prepared.
Granted, the rice was a bit mushy, but again… Still early goings, and I would be pretty dang surprised if that wasn't anything but a result of the aforementioned jitters.
Service-wise the staff was friendly if a little flustered due to the sheer volume of patrons. Having a line out the door in a diner is kind of a rarity for a diner, or, indeed, any spot in Spokane.
Finally, the decor is everything the logo isn't: classy . A mix of classic diner with modern touches works well, and the light fixtures are particularly nice looking.
So, we liked the Yards. It might not be supremely exciting at first glance, but that's OK. A diner which has a fresh seasonal menu is a perfect fit for the KY. That is exciting enough for us.
Which brings us back to the logo. Why are we raising a stink about it? It's just a superficial detail, right? No! Wrong!
Had I walked past this place in a city I didn't know, I would have done just that… Kept walking. Somebody smarter than me referred to it as «drop n' play»-style. Somebody even smarter compared it to Sandlot's logo.
As see an excellent potential in the Yards, we reserve the right to be saddened by the lack of a good first impression given to us by its sign. That might be nitpicking to some, and that's OK. It isn't to us.
For heaven's sake, then, close your eyes and walk inside. Hopefully your first impression of what you find there will be as positive as it was for us.