Dining Reviews

Back Nine Grill & Bar

foodieThe secrets of remodeling and juicy steak

Back Nine Grill and Bar, located at the Inn at Pasatiempo, opened only three months ago. It’s currently serving a limited menu and hasn’t finished remodeling yet, but it’s already making a splash in Santa Cruz’s food world. We caught up with general manager Tim Lynch about the steakhouse’s unique spin on classic American cuisine.

When did you start remodeling?

Tim Lynch: It’s been about a year and nine months. I think we’ve settled on a pretty successful theme for it. It’s more of the foothills of Santa Cruz. We’re not the beach. We’ve got great redwoods around us. It’s more of a lodge feel—warm and cozy. Real upbeat, with a fairly modern look.

It must be hard for any restaurant to go from zero to 60, open up for business, and hope things go as planned—especially when you’re still remodeling.

You can never expect the way everything’s going to go. I have 40-some-odd years of experience. My assistant probably has 30. When it goes live, you’ve just got to be here. You’ve got to be looking at it. You’ve got to be talking to your people. You’ve got to be rearranging things. You might need a little bit different equipment.

How do you like your steak?

Medium rare to medium—the reason being, it’s got the most juices, and that’s where all the flavors come from.

Why are you a “grill and bar?” “Bar and Grill” sounds more natural …

The emphasis being on the grill, of course. First and foremost. It’s a fun, upbeat atmosphere. The food is critically important. The beverage should be a complement to that, but it’s not just come-in-and-get-drunk-and-go-some-place-else. Not a good combination.

www.backninegrill.com, 423-5000. PHOTO: Tim Lynch of Back Nine has his naming priorities straight. CHIP SCHEUER

To Top