The Bier Garden and Cruise Night

Eating Up and Down 101 #8

It’s date night and summer is in full swing! Tonight we’re hitting Bier Garden, and our timing could not be more perfect because it’s Cruise Night in Encinitas. The third Thursday of the month May through September, classic cars roll into town and cruise 101 from D Street to K Street.

Classic cars line the highway for several blocks, and live bands jams from small stages. The autos range from the earliest Model T’s to ’70s muscle cars to 2022 Supercars. Andy loves the muscle cars! My faves are Packards, Bel Airs, and BMWs.

We get downtown early, not only for parking, but to get the best seats at Bier Garden. Their sidewalk seating is on a raised platform which gives you the best view over the wooden rail of the cars as they cruise into town. The Low Riders always give the best show, jumping and pumping music!

History Lesson

Bier Garden is a “gastropub,” a pub that serves gourmet food. It opened in the spring of 2013 in the quirky 1940’s T-Bone-shaped building that was Tyler’s Steak House once upon a time. It has been several other food joints as well. With a little help from my friends on the FB group “Old School Encinitas,” I was able to find out that it had been a Chinese restaurant. It was also home of local fave George’s for 18 years, serving sandwiches named after local surf spots. This spot is also where the California Surf Museum (now in Oceanside) started.

Thanks to Andrew Accardi for sharing the classic George’s poster!

Different sources claim Bier Garden has anywhere from 20 to 36 taps of local beers in rotation. If you’re a beer drinker, they’re going to be able to find something you like that matches your food. Bier Garden also has cool craft cocktails and wine. They do lunch and dinner, as well as brunch on Saturday and Sunday.

This is not our first visit. I have been coming to Bier Garden since 2015 ( just before meeting Andy). They even carded me while dining with my bestie. Way to make a 48-year-old lady feel special! The steak bites that night were awesome with a glass of Pinot Noir.

The view from our seat, where we sat down early. But the cars were already starting to cruise and stake out parking spots.

Tonight we are shown to our table with a view of the cars by our friendly server, Dillon. As usual, we have done our homework (scanning the menu online) beforehand, so I know what I exactly what I want. But Andy is tempted by several tasty choices. Maybe liquid refreshment will help him decide.

Let’s Get Some Drinks

You would think that at a place called Bier Garden, we would drink beer. But this doesn’t feel like a very beery day, so we go with cocktails.

I am starting with La Pina, a refreshing cocktail with Casamigos Blanco, lemon juice, simple syrup, and pineapple juice. Andy gets the Smoking Gun: Four Roses bourbon, lemon, sage, and agave. Yum, I’ll have that next! I am sipping slowly because I am too busy snapping photos of the cars going by.

The ceviche was excellent! The chips under the top ones were too small to scoop much.

For our appetizer, we order the ceviche. Very tender chunks of mahi-mahi, shrimp, pico de gallo, and cilantro, topped with sliced avocado and a generous amount of long saffron threads. They serve it with very good tortilla chips. It’s wonderful, but a lot of the tortillas were smaller chips like you find at the bottom of a bag.

The Main Event

That burger is 100% yum! And look at those chunky, seasoned fries.

For my entrée, I’m excited to try the Fig and Goat Cheese Burger with fries. I love their thick-cut, lightly battered fries. They taste so good, and stay crispy longer. On my burger, a sweet fig spread, arugula, tomato, and herbed goat cheese. It is sweet, messy, and tender. The patty is cooked just right and the bun is toasted. I think I might try grilling some burgers like this at home.

Andy decides on the Cardiff Crack Steak Sandwich, with grilled tri-tip, bbq aoli, Swiss, and sautéed onions on toasted sourdough. NO, WAIT! The Tennessee Hot Chicken Sandwich is is final answer!

Andy finally goes with the Tennessee Hot Chicken Sandwich with a salad. Because health. Ha!

This is one of those sandwiches that is so tall that the bun hits your forehead when you try to bite into it. Buttermilk-and-hot-sauce-brined chicken, lettuce, tomato, onion, “Rooster sauce,” pickles, and Bier Garden’s homemade hot sauce, all on a brioche bun. He did give me a bite of the chicken. Tall, but tasty!

The ceviche was delicious to the bottom of the bowl!

Other Tasty Options

Of course, we’ve been to Bier Garden a few times, so here are a couple of other highly recommended choices. For nibbles, the Fresh Ahi Tuna Poke and Baja Fish Tacos. And for cocktails, we like their Old Fashioned and Lavender Lemonade.

After dinner, we walk off our meal enjoying the classic cars and live music. Like classic cars? Take a virtual walk with us! And tell us your favorite classic car in the comments.