The Backyard Grill, a hometown restaurant partially owned by Collegiate family the Kirchmiers, features a menu with a wide array of burgers, pork, salads, and hot dogs that are all made with high quality meats and cooked to perfection. The Backyard Grill also strives to treat its customers like family from the second they step through the door. While the dining area is on the smaller side, I think that it creates an atmosphere that is extremely friendly. As the name would lead you to believe, the Backyard Grill is designed to live up to its name. The staff wants customers to feel like they are at a backyard cookout, and the plastic “Solo Cup” style drinkware helps create this atmosphere. This drinkware serves as a trademark and aims to create the illusion that you are actually at a backyard cookout.
For a small restaurant such as The Backyard Grill, it is truly the people and the experience that make the food so wonderful. My favorite entree that this burger joint has to offer is the “Mac-n-burger.” The Mac-n-burger features fresh, never-frozen Virginia Shenandoah Beef, a fried mac-n-cheese patty, and a topping of lettuce, tomato, and onion. For me the Mac-n-burger combines two wonderful compliments into one. The Mac-n-burger is priced at $14; however, it is worth every penny.
While The Backyard Grill offers an extensive burger menu, they also serve a plethora of different entrees. Their menu also offers bird, smoked meats, and hot dogs. “The Yard Brisket” ($12.50) is my favorite non-burger option that BYG offers. The Backyard Grill smokes their meats daily to ensure freshness, so their brisket is very tender and has a phenomenal taste .
Luckily, the delicious menu doesn’t stop at the Mac-n-burger or the Backyard Brisket. The Backyard Grill offers a wonderful variety of appetizers that are just as tasty, and in some cases just as filling, as the entree selections. Two of my favorite appetizers are the Brisket Nachos ($13) and the BYG Mac Cakes ($11). The Brisket Nachos feature BYG brisket, cheddar cheese, and house BBQ sauce, black beans & apple slaw. Both of these starters are delicious and savory options and are a must try if you ever find yourself dining at The Backyard Grill.
A restaurant like the Backyard Grill is faced with some challenges. First off, and something that is quite obvious to anyone who walks in the door, is the size of the dining area. It’s on the smaller side of typical burger joints, which creates an issue when it comes to seating. It can make Friday and Saturday nights
extremely busy and difficult for the staff to accommodate all of their customers. Luckily, the staff does their best to use the space effectively and get people seated and positioned as efficiently as possible. Second, I can only imagine the challenge that it is to grow a small restaurant like The Backyard Grill, especially in an area where there is so much competition. If you listen to 1140 WRVA radio, you will hear advertisements for The Backyard Grill, so it is obvious that they are still working on growing a client base.
The main reason the I find myself going back to The Backyard Grill is the service (and the Mac-n-burger, of course). Finding a restaurant with a staff like The Backyard Grill has is getting harder and harder to do now as chain restaurants have taken over the restaurant business. These restaurants get so caught up in profit that they forget about the people who are actually supporting their business. If you would like to be treated like a true customer and enjoy a delicious meal, I would highly recommend giving The Backyard Grill a try.
All photos by Brenton Hayward (’17).