There are times when you step into a place and everything just feels right. That’s what it felt like when the Coastal Cuisine crew and I walked through the front door into The Backyard Restaurant recently in Milton, Delaware.
It was the first day of autumn, the sky was crystal clear, the air was crisp and the weather was perfect for shooting an episode at a place where we could sit outside by the huge backyard that just happens to be the namesake of the restaurant.
Owner Ami Rae was an absolute treat and my interview with her over a delicious sampling meal while seated in the large outdoor café felt more like the experience of sharing lunch and catching up with an old friend rather than an info-conversation between two strangers. She’s laid-back, witty, welcoming and incredibly knowledgeable and well-experienced in the culinary business. Like many of the successful restaurateurs I’ve met over the last few years, she started working in the food business as a teenager looking for summer work. She rose through the ranks over the years working in every single aspect of the restaurant business from dish washing to menu planning.
Her experience is also evident throughout The Backyard from the wide-ranging, locally focused menu and super popular bakery to the “undesign” of the space (as Ami calls it). The interior of The Backyard utilizes beautiful large flanks of natural wood in the bar and door frames (from a massive, old family home tree cut down in by her grandfather in 1970) as well as such elements as an over-sized, contemporary, natural fiber macrame wall hanging created by one of Ami’s friends now living in North Carolina. The space has a large, open and airy feeling while, at the same time, it remains cozy and inviting. It’s a great combination that someone with less experience as Ami may not have pulled off as well.
The Backyard is open from 8 AM to 8 PM Monday through Saturday (sometimes opting to stay open a bit later on weekends depending on how full the house may be). That may seem like odd hours for some in the business, but it works perfectly well for Amy, her staff (another wise decision seasoned with experience) and her diners – many of whom are locals.
The menu of The Backyard offers a wide variety of great food and with surprisingly affordable prices. We sampled a range of options from the lunch/dinner menu – all of which were fantastic, satisfying and perfectly prepared by The Backyard’s chef Wayne Hall. Highly and understandably praised by Ami, Chef Hall has been on board for a little over a year and his addition, according to Ami, has been perfect addition.
Those looking for lighter fare can jump into the delicious Grilled Shrimp Salad (a gluten-free, healthy serving of grilled shrimp served on a bed of herbed quinoa, asparagus, pistachios and cranberries with a honey-lime vinaigrette) and those in the mood to toss calorie caution to the wind can order the incredible sandwich called “The Trucker” which, as you can guess, is a hefty combo of delicious BBQ pulled pork, cheddar cheese, mac & cheese, and caramelized onions beckoning to your taste buds from between two hefty slabs of buttered and grilled white bread (did I mention that all of the bread is freshly baked on the premises – hungry yet?)
The Honey Jalapeno Pork and The Shrimp & Grits were also mouth-watering standouts during our excursion to The Backyard – both flavorful and satisfying.
So, if you’ve not tried The Backyard Restaurant (211 Broadkill Road in Milton, Delaware), rest assured that you will probably have a very enjoyable experience. If you see Ami or Wayne, tell them you saw them on Coastal Cuisine and look for us again when we return at some point in the not too distant future to sit down with Ami over breakfast and those fresh baked goodies.
Here’s to good taste!