Have you ever noticed that the number one topic of conversation when you're out to eat is about other restaurants other than the one you're currently in. That's how wonderful food is. It's always on my mind thinking of where to go, what sounds good. Sometimes I'll go hungry because my wife and I will get in to the "I don't know, where do you wanna go?" arguments. The great things about Yakima is there's no lack of places to eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner or just somewhere to grab a drink, a snack or dessert. Here are some food staples in Yakima that you either grew up with and/or anytime someone comes to visit Yakima you take them to get one of these on the list.
No doubt that Miner's is probably the most iconic restaurant in Yakima, or technically Union Gap. Their heritage along with their giant sized portions of food made for our own 'Man vs. Food'-style challenges. It's all about the Big Miner. Basically, a jumbo-sized burger with everything on it. Because I get my burgers plain (with veggies and sauces) I order the Double Big Miner with Cheese and seems to do just fine for me. Miner's is the place you definitely bring our out-of-town friends for the 'you gotta see this!' burger.
I'll be honest with you, I've never had the tacos or burgers from Ron's Tacos and Burgers. What separates the ice cream cones from here and anywhere else in Yakima is their sheer size. It's definitely a novelty that anyone can enjoy. Of course you can get them in smaller sizes and they have a TON of other items on the menu like sundaes and parfaits that are served in 44oz cups, if you grew up in Yakima, it's all about the large ice cream cones. Make mine a chocolate/vanilla swirl, please.
When in doubt, there's the bag-o-fries from Burger Ranch. Burger Ranch has been a staple restaurant in Yakima for many years. Plenty of items on the menu for anyone, depending on your tastes and what you're in the mood for. Many people in Yakima attribute Burger Ranch for their fry sauce which is basically a combination of mayo and ketchup. Although it wasn't invented by Burger Ranch, it was certainly perfected by them. And nothing better to dip than the bag-o-fries. It's a large paper bag filled to the top of their wavy-cut french fries.
I wanted to put this one on the list for a few reasons. Although I understand that elephant ears aren't only available in Yakima, they are made with more pride and taste way better than any other elephant ear I've ever had in my life. And I've had several. The best ones are the ones found at the Central Washington State Fair so you only have a 10 day window to pick one up during that time. Sure, there are one or two coffee places around town that sell them all the time and you may find a booth at some local park festivals, but the ones at the fair are worth the wait.
Although the thought of drinking carbonated pickle juice may put you off, this famous drink is iconic in the Yakima Valley. Available in the Skateland snack bar, on the same menu where you can buy aspirin, safety pins, cups of cheese (assuming for dipping nachos or pop corn or whatever), they have Pickle Fizz on the menu, and still do. It's exactly what you think it is and tastes exactly what you think it would. Dill pickle water mixed with carbonated soda. It's as if they have Pickle soda-pop. It's an acquired taste, if you choose to acquire it.
Yakima Valley Public Schools
This is an honorable mention on this list for two reasons. First, they were only available in public schools. Secondly, they don't make them like they used to. They used to be big, fluffy layers of bread with melted cheese in the middle with tomato soup to dip it in, baked on huge sheets and cut up in to giant rectangles. Now they come pre-packaged and made with wheat bread to go along with the healthy trend. If they were the classic list these bad boys would be at the top of the list. They are still worth a mention. Although, again, not the same recipe, they make a pretty reasonable substitute available in the deli case at Wray's on 56th and Summitview on Mondays if you wanted to relive your childhood for a brief moment.