Summer months are filled with myriad activities, which translates into a busy time for any mom. Sometimes, even Mom needs a break. For me personally, and I would bet for many moms out there, the best “break” involves a meal that I don’t have to shop for, prepare or clean up after! But even in this city that’s so rich in wonderful restaurants, it can be slightly more difficult to find a place to dine out that doesn’t merely welcome kids, but truly caters to them.

What Can I Bring?
Allow me to introduce you to The Backyard, the new restaurant in Lakeview on West Harrison Avenue. The brainchild of Jason Tournillon, dining at The Backyard feels very much like the name suggests; you’ll think you’ve been invited by old friends to grill out and hang out at their house. Tournillon said when designing the restaurant, he envisioned friends asking, “What can I bring?” And he would answer, “Just yourselves.” This “come as you are” attitude is evident in the casual, welcoming feeling that permeates The Backyard.

Real Relief
If you’ve ever felt like you were getting the stink eye from other diners or wait staff while you tried to use your maternal magic to keep toddlers in their chairs, then The Backyard will not only provide you with a delicious meal but also a sense of relief. There is no pressure to keep the kids seated here; in fact, it’s quite the opposite. There is a large, new outdoor playground with a play gym surrounded by outdoor wooden tables. While you do order inside, the friendly, helpful waiters will serve your food to you outside. Kids can climb, slide and scramble around on the shaded playground while their lunch or dinner is prepared or even between each bite if they choose! There is, of course, indoor seating as well.

When Food Is Fun
The menu will keep the kids happy and satisfied with the traditional offerings of a hot dog, hamburger, grilled cheese or sloppy Joe. All are served with fresh fruit, fries or tater tots and a soft drink or lemonade for just $7.50, so your relaxing night out won’t break the bank either. The Backyard’s menu also makes sure that the grown-ups leave happy as well. I recommend starting with the muffuletta deviled eggs or the homemade pimento cheese with house-fried pita chips. You will want to leave room for an entrée, with selections such as the marinated and grilled chicken sandwich, a sloppy Joe with smoked brisket or a farmers market veggie burger made with edamame, kale, black beans and mushrooms. But, perhaps my gang’s favorite item on the menu: the single or double patty burger with toppings including bacon, grilled mushrooms and your choice of pimento, Swiss, bleu, pepper jack or cheddar cheese, isn’t to be missed.

And much like enjoying a relaxing evening at an old friend’s house, when you’re finished with your meal you won’t want to leave. You will find yourself lingering over their cocktail menu, which includes a Pimm’s Cup, a Dark and Stormy and some unique concoctions like the Lakeview Lemonade, the Front Porch and the Bermuda Triangle. If you prefer a cold beer, you can choose from one of at least five that they have on draft, including local favorites such as Canebreak and Covington Kolsch, or you can select bottled beer or wine by the glass.

Relaxing as you watch your junior crew happily entertain themselves has never been so easy or delicious. So if you’re looking for a place to take the kids or grandkids to dinner without the dining-out drama, check out The Backyard.

For hours, location and menu, visit