What's good here? The Backyard Cafe

November 18, 2009 

  • THE BACKYARD CAFE

    Where: 940 Old Barnwell Road, West Columbia

    Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday; closed Sunday

    Menu: Burgers, sandwiches, dinner specials.

    Prices: Burgers range $6.99 to $7.89; open roast beef sandwich, $7.89; roast beef dinner, $10.99; chicken alfredo dinner, $11.99; ice cream, one scoop $1.99

    Also: Beer and wine available

    More info and full menu: thebackyardcafe.com

Peg Mead is the owner and operator of The Backyard Cafe in West Columbia. She and her husband, Mike Wilson, opened the restaurant 1 1/2 years ago.

What's good here?

"One of our most popular is our roast beef. You can have it two ways. We have an open-faced sandwich on toasted sourdough or the roast beef dinner with Yukon gold mashed potatoes and vegetable medley. The roast beef is slow cooked for 17 hours. It's really good. ... We try to make everything here we can. We don't want the preservatives and things that come in premade items."

Anything else popular?

"Our hamburgers. That's why we opened the restaurant. We were on an eternal quest for that good hamburger. We spent years and years looking."

Tell me about the hamburgers

"They are Angus beef. They are handmade patties that we make every day. ... The regular ones are a half pound, and we have them all ways. We have a pimento burger, and we make our own pimento cheese here, or a blue cheese burger, or barbecue and bacon burgers. We have a chili cheese burger, and we make our own chili here. And we have the Backyard burger with mushrooms, onions, bacon and cheddar and our Backyard sauce."

What's in the Backyard sauce?

"That's a secret. ... It's a mayonnaise-based sauce with different seasonings. People really like it."

What else is on the menu?

"We have a full variety as far as the dinner menu. There's Monterey barbecue chicken, teriyaki salmon, chicken alfredo ... plus we do specials. We have a special every night. ... We have a lot of Italian dishes."

What does the restaurant look like?

"It is a 50-year-old ranch-style home that we've converted into the cafe. ... We took out some walls. The booth room is where the two bedrooms were. The fireplace room was the family room. It has a working fireplace. ... There is a deck out back. We're having our first wedding at the end of this month out there."

When are you most crowded?

"Friday nights."

Anything else?

"One of our calling cards is we make homemade ice cream. We have fun with it. We have fun flavors like banana pudding. We have Going Ape, which is banana with wet walnuts and chocolate chunks. We do variations, like key lime pie. ... We put the crust in the ice cream."

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