Friday, April 13, 2007

Back Yard Burgers

Ed. Note: Back Yard Burgers no longer offers a Kids Eat Free night.

Back Yard Burgers
3183 Poplar Avenue

Warren and I found ourselves in need of sustenance at 9:30pm on a Saturday night not too long ago. Considering we’d been cleaning the old house for about ten hours, we didn’t want to go anywhere too fancy. But we didn’t really want fast food either. All of the sandwich options like Kwik Check and Lenny’s were closed, ditto on the Costa Vida/Blue Coast Burrito type places, and we found ourselves in a bit of a pickle.

“Why don’t we just go to the sit down Back Yard Burger by the library?” I suggested. “They stay open late, I think.” (I realize BYB is technically fast food, but it is generally less "Fast Food Nation-y/Super Size Me-ish" than the other places.)

Having never actually been inside of the BYB, we were somewhat stunned upon entry. “Wow, this kind of looks like a Starbucks,” I said looking around at the cafĂ© type tables, Kandinsky prints, and stainless steel accents. (Not that I’ve actually been in a Starbucks lately, but…)

After we ordered, we sat down in some bar stools at a tall table and watched TV. A few minutes later, the woman behind the counter brought our food to the table. It was weird, but in a good way.

As we ate, we noticed a sign in the middle of the dining room that read, “Every Tuesday and Thursday from 4-10pm is Kids’ Night.” It promised free kids’ meals, balloons, games, and family fun. “We should bring the kids sometime,” Warren said.

The next Thursday we did.

We arrived around 6pm, with my mom in tow, and despite the very full parking lot, we were surprised to see that we were the only people there except for one other family from the kids’ school. The monkeys were excited to see their friend and excited about getting chocolate milkshakes.

Jiro ordered a hot dog meal, Satchel went for the burger meal, I had a buffalo chicken sandwich meal, and my mom and Warren got burgers. I substituted chocolate shakes for the kids’ soft drinks which almost eliminated the freeness factor (the discounted shakes are $1.70, kids meals are $3.29-$3.99). The monkeys live for serve yourself fountain drinks, so in the end, they got a shake and the drinks that came with my meal as well as Warren’s. The drink fountain features caffeine free Root Beer and diet grapefruit Sobe in addition to the usual options. The monkeys went right for the “beer.”

A visit to the restroom to wash hands revealed a changing table, stainless steel fixtures, and an above average level of cleanliness.

Despite there being no games or balloons as advertised, the monkeys were quite taken by the small plastic kids' table, coloring books (but no crayons), and the candy/bouncy ball vending machines. Most of the meal was spent like this:

“Can I have a quarter?”

“Eat your dinner.”

“I want a quarter.”

“Eat your dinner.”

“Can I eat my Rice Krispy Treat now?”

“Eat your dinner.”

“Where’s my milkshake?”

“Eat your dinner.”

“I need more beer.”

“Eat your dinner.”

“Can I have a quarter?”

“Eat your dinner.”

“I’m done, I want candy.”

Jiro was still in his big cast so he was somewhat at our mercy, and the height of the bar stools limited Satchel’s squirming abilities. All of the adults enjoyed their meals, but the kids ate very little actual food. The waffle fries were pretty popular, but the hot dog was not. Satchel ate about half of his hamburger.

My mom and Warren, who weren’t helping out in the milkshake department, ordered cobbler (one peach, one cherry) while the monkeys were allotted two quarters each. By the time the last bite of cobbler was taken, the monkeys (one of them on all fours) were chasing very tiny bouncy balls under the tables and through the woods.

“Okay, I think it’s time to go,” I said as I scooped Jiro off of the floor and into his stroller.

We’ve been back again on a Tuesday with similar results. We enjoyed our food, the kids had fun but fixated on the beer and balls and ate most of their dinner later at home. Warren said the Blackened Chicken sandwich was weird, but Jiro definitely preferred the chicken strips to the hot dog. I requested balloons for the kids.

Back Yard Burgers on Urbanspoon


Stephanie said...

Can I say something about being fixated on beer and balls? I don't want to disappoint you by letting that slide by with no comment.

Secret Agent Mom said...

Damn, Steph beat me to it ...

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