Starting September 4, for home cooking without the cleanup, hungry North Texans can head over to downtown McKinney’s new backyard hangout: The Yard. Thirty Three Restaurant Group – the team behind popular dining destinations Union Bear Brewing and Taverna Rossa – designed this concept to become a communal watering hole for those looking for satisfying, approachable dishes in a laidback atmosphere.
Located inside a 120-year-old historic home and just a stone’s throw from sister concept Cadillac Pizza Pub, The Yard was no easy project to take on. While the restaurant, formerly the location of Café Malaga, has taken a couple years to get going with necessary structural improvements before opening its doors, 33 Restaurant’s CEO Preston Lancaster and Vice President Tony Smith knew the importance of taking that time to keep the historic home’s integrity while transforming the space. Now it’s ready to impress with a homey, eclectic, farmhouse interior meticulously decorated by Tony’s wife, Sarah Smith. Previous guests will be happy to see the home’s original features, like the pressed tin ceiling tiles and reclaimed wood floors.
The Yard marries bits and pieces of the company’s other menus to create a wide selection of Texas-inspired plates. Union Bear fanatics may recognize the Picnic Platter – a selection of pimento cheese, deviled eggs, Hamm’s TX Sausage, candied jalapenos, spiced nuts and pickled veggies. Taverna Rossa’s popular Stag Salad is reinvented here as The Backyard salad with strawberries and candied pecans.
But the concise menu also offers new signatures, like Pa’s Country Fried Steak, a dish not found at any of 33 Restaurant’s other locaitons. The Turkey Meatloaf is Sarah’s personal recipe, served with chunky potato salad, garlic green beans and Heinz sauce. Tony says they were able to shape the menu to be full of his and Preston’s go-to comfort dishes to please this hungry community.
“This is our favorite food,” Tony said. “It’s an inspired menu of what our wives makes at home.”
The spacious, shady lot is broken up into three sections: the house, a wraparound porch and the backyard. While all three areas will have full-menu and full-bar service, when phase two of The Yard opens next year, the backyard will then have its own dedicated kitchen and access to a permanant food truck onsite.
The restaurant group saw there was a need for locals to have a go-to spot to both enjoy a casual meal with loved ones and also blow off some steam. So they spent the time designing the scenic namesake yard to provide something for everyone, including a safe, screened-in play area for the kids and a trio of custom ping pong tables for the big kids at heart.
“The community down here is so tight,” Preston said. “This downtown area of North Texas is special.”
Tony agrees. He grew up in McKinney, just down the street from The Yard. He even still has the same mailman who visited his parent’s house growing up now delivering mail to the restaurant.
Now, the guys are serving up hot plates and cold drinks for those who need to cool off after a long day. So come try one of their cocktails from the tap, such as the Honeysuckle made with Casamigos tequila, aperol, honey syrup and grapefruit, or sip on their refreshing Perl Frozé made with Skyy vodka.
Whether you come for dinner or for casual drinks with your neighbors, it’s sure to be an entertaining night – or day – out. As The Yard’s General Manager Art Brunson explains, “It’s all fun with no yard work required.”
The Yard opens Tuesday, September 4 for business. The restaurant will be closed for play on Mondays, and open to the public Tuesday – Sunday.