In general, I am not a huge fan of kids. While I realize people have all kinds of arguments to refute this particular point of view, nothing has been said or done to change my mind. Kids are invariably messy, selfish, smelly, sticky, noisy, irritable, ornery, time-consuming, aggravating, angsty little money pits who rarely fail get on my nerves in record time. I realize I was one of these putrid little beasts long ago who likely tormented people like me, but that still doesn’t alter the simple fact that I am wholeheartedly Team Mama Fratelli, frequently echoing her eloquently stated sentiment that “kids suck.”
Though my better half and I have agreed not to burden the planet with yet another squealing headache, I do have quite a few friends and family who have chosen the path of least resistance and are remarkably ecstatic about it, although for the life of me, I can’t understand why. When I hang out with these new parents, their stress levels are palpable. Trying desperately to rein in their temper, I can hear the strain in their voice and the tension in their shoulders as they iterate once again why so-and-so can’t have another cookie, princess dress, Tonka truck or whatever their precious little snowflake’s heart desired. Never is this battle more apparent when we are grocery shopping or (horror of horrors) going out to eat.
A few months ago, I invited my friend and her daughter out for lunch, which was probably came to her as quite a shock. I was horribly missing my buddy because her oppressive new role as a full-time mom put distance between us, but I was determined to make an effort in order to salvage our friendship. I knew that if any quality time was to be had, there needed to be some kind of distraction for her 5-year-old daughter and I found the perfect solution at The Backyard.
Opened a little more than 6 months ago, The Backyard is a hip, casual eatery located on the corner of W. Harrison Avenue and Fleur de Lis Drive in Lakeview. Like their name suggests, they offer items often found at your neighbor’s backyard barbecue … think deviled eggs, hot dogs, burgers and even Sloppy Joe’s. But the best part about this spot would have to be their large, outdoor eating area that includes (did you guess it?) a playground.
While her daughter scrambled through plastic tunnels and slid down the slides, my friend and I were free to catch up on old times and enjoy a rather simple, but delicious lunch. My buddy opted for a juicy bleu cheese burger served on a fluffy, made in-house bun, while I chose to scarf one of their 100% Angus beef hot dogs and a large pile of French fries. We also shared an order of the Muffuletta Deviled Eggs which I thought were a little lackluster, but were gobbled happily by the hungry kid. She also had a kid’s burger and fries (only $8!) that would have been plenty of food for a full-grown adult.
As soon as my friend’s daughter was losing interest in the playground (there weren’t any other kids there that day), we had ordered a slice of strawberry-rhubarb pie (which The Backyard acquired from P’s & Q’s ) that kept us all in thrall to the very last crumb. Thankfully our lunch date ended just as my friend’s daughter started to get sleepy and grumpy, my cue to get the hell outta Dodge.