Voted into the ‘Top 100 food destinations in the nation’ by the users of YELP®

By Melissa Wynn

On a recent Road Trip to the Mount Shasta area, a group of friends and I just had to go check out Yaks On The 5. While surfing the web I learned that this artsy little burger dive in Dunsmuir was voted in the top 100 food destinations in the nation by the users of YELP®. I found them again online in the Big List Of Northern California strange and unique spots. How could we not give it a try?

Yaks began as a coffee shop in Redding and at one time boasted six locations. After a few years owners Mike and Nancy Kerns decided that the Dunsmuir location was their passion. They systematically closed or sold the other locations and put all of their energies in perfecting the menu that has made them a viral internet sensation. They still serve a perfect cup of French pressed turkish coffee made from beans roasted in-house in their beautiful antique coffee roaster that fills one corner of the dining room. I bet it smells amazing in there on roasting days.

Everything at Yaks is homemade from scratch including the sweet and tangy catsup, lemon-ginger marmalade, bold barbecue sauces and every perfectly soft and light brioche hamburger bun. Each hand pressed burger patty is  made with 100% grass fed, locally sourced, aged beef and the quality and flavor are mouthwateringly obvious.

What good is the perfect burger without an amazing craft beer to wash it down? At Yaks this is well understood so they always offer 20 choices on tap from a rotating menu of over 100 craft beers from several local brewers including Dunsmuir Breweryworks, Wild Card Brewery, Etna Brewery, Fall River Brewery and Lassen Aleworks, all within a one hundred mile radius of the store.

Even though we went on a Monday at 4:30 in the afternoon, Yaks was hopping and there was a ten minute wait for a table that would seat our group of five. The display case was full of their famous “My Mother-In-Laws Sticky Buns” and the sweet smell of caramel filled the air, mixed with the smokey, savory aromas of burgers on the grill. I had skipped lunch that day and my tummy growled in response. We were soon seated by charming General Manager Andrew Bettinger who started us off with samples of those yummy sticky buns. Our server soon returned with our perfect coffee, soda and 2 of the craft beers, one dark for Bill and a pale ale for Jean. We ordered our burgers and kicked back to people watch the mixed and entertaining crowd.

All the burgers on the Yaks menu have a fun name and come with house made, super crunchy kettle chips and our table was graced with four of their best. Two chose the Blonde Bombshell Burger that includes crispy french fried onion strings topped with aged cheddar, red leaf lettuce, tomatoes, red onions and an amazing home made aioli. Bill went with the Va Va Voom burger that boasts a mountain of grilled mushrooms and red onions, smothered in pepper jack cheese and topped with red leaf lettuce, tomatoes, red onions and aioli. Molly likes it spicy so she went with the Jalapeño burger topped with onion

strings, beer battered jalapeño chips, pepper jack cheese, Asiago ranch drizzle, red leaf lettuce, tomatoes, red onions and aioli. It also comes with jalapeño bacon which she declined for personal taste. I decided to totally indulge, we were on vacation after all. I ordered the Oh My Goodness(OMG) How Could This Be a Burger, Burger and boy is that the correct name for this sweet, salty, spicy treasure. With a cream cheese slab, lemon-ginger marmalade, beer battered jalapeño chips, french fried onion strings, jack cheese, red leaf lettuce, tomatoes, red onions and aioli it truly hit every flavor profile on my tongue. Although we all opted to go with the kettle chips, fries, garlic fries, tots and onion rings are also available for a small fee. Yaks offers a few salads made with micro-greens, sourced just 15 miles away from Lava Oasis farms in Mcloud, appetizers and even hot dogs and italian sausage options that are made exclusively by Kent’s Meats in Redding.  Everything they do at Yaks they make sure to do it, not just right, but over-the-top to home made perfection.

We waddled away with leftovers in hand and full to the brim, still talking about what we might like to try next time we visit. Whether you go just for the experience or find yourself passing by on I-5, drop in at Yaks and treat yourself to the best coffee, buns, burgers and beer that NorCal has to offer.

Left to right - Roxanne Friden- Lead Server, Scott Christianson-Executive Chef, Andrew Bettinger-GM and his wife Luarel(baker) and their firstborne baby.
Left to right – Roxanne Friden- Lead Server, Scott Christianson-Executive Chef, Andrew Bettinger-GM and his wife Luarel(baker) and their firstborne Irene…restaurant baby.