[singlepic id=158 w=320 h=240 mode=watermark float=right]Given that my best friend here in Laguna Beach has a dog (Bindi) that simply MUST be with her person as much as possible (hey, I can’t blame Bindi – I like Lisa a lot, too) … I end up having lunch at The Lumberyard A LOT.

The Lumberyard Laguna Beach is a dog-friendly venue. While they don’t allow the dog to sit in the patio with you, they let the dog sit just on the other side of the short patio wall (in full view of you), and then attend quite heartily to said dog throughout your meal. In fact, last I heard, one of the waitresses who makes all the aprons for the Lumberyard serving staff is making a custom bandana for Bindi. (Sorry, you must have lunch at The Lumberyard at least 28 times a year to qualify for a dog bandana.)

When The Lumberyard first came to town, many of my fellow foodies of Laguna Beach turned up their noses. As I’ve noted in my previous blogs about the Lumberyard, I haven’t had a bad meal yet, and I’m not sure how they haven’t found something on the menu to prove quite satisfactory. Their loss, I’m afraid. Our gain.

I’m convinced The Lumberyard serves up the finest Crabcake Salad in town. It’s a hearty serving of greens, pear slices, fresh asparagus and two hot-off-the-griddle sizable crabcakes, all topped in bleu cheese. Criminy, it’s fabulous.

Their roasted beet salad is quite good and, on the rare occasion that my buddy, Lisa, is having a bad day, they’re happy to throw flash-fried calamari on her Caesar salad. (They’ll throw just about anything you want on their salads; they’re quite affable.)

The Lumberyard offers a $10 lunch menu, too, which now includes an Artichoke/Mushroom Panini that’s every level of comfort and crunch you need. The menu also covers a number of salads, half sandwich combos, burgers, BBQ pulled pork and more.

… And since I’m mentioning burgers … the Signature Lumberyard Burger is one fine specimen. In fact, mere weeks from now (after I lose the last of my weight from that “Best Margaritas in Laguna Beach” research, ha), I’ll be embarking on my final study of Laguna Beach’s best burgers. At this point, the Signature Lumberyard Burger offers a heck of a tall wall for other burgers to climb over.

While I’m focused on lighter fare lunch items here, note that the Lumberyard offers a great Cedar Plank Salmon, a serious Sea Bass entree, and 5 different (large ounce) steaks. And if you’re having one of those really terrible horrible days, their Chicken Pot Pie will fix you right up  … and I daresay THAT’S the only Chicken Pot Pie you’ll find in Laguna Beach.

I like the Lumberyard. It’s casual, unpretentious and its serving staff is great. It’s a comfort food place, even when you’re plowing through the healthier items on the menu. It’s a very decent lunchtime spot, dog or sans dog.

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