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Backyard Grille offers the comforts of home — literally — to customers

Todd Easterday and Lisa Barnhardt-Easterday have moved their backyard as well as nine family members from Columbus, Ohio to Hixson, where they opened their new restaurant Backyard Grille in November.

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Todd Easterday and Lisa Barnhardt-Easterday are the owners of Backyard Grille which recently opened in Hixson featuring made-from-scratch family dining and a backyard atmosphere in the space’s former dance floor.

“Columbus was getting a little rough,” said Barnhardt-Easterday, who owned a bar back in Ohio and wanted to open a family-friendly steakhouse elsewhere. “We decided Tennessee was the prettiest place on earth.”

She said every sign pointed them toward Chattanooga and opening a new restaurant, including a chunk of money she inherited from her ex-husband.

The space used as a dance floor by the building’s former occupants has been transformed into a “backyard” (hence the name) with furniture straight from the couple’s own backyard and a slide for children to play on as they wait for a table.

Barnhardt-Easterday said what attracted her most to the building are its fireplace and bar crafted entirely from Tennessee mountain stone.

Serving lunch and dinner, the restaurant specializes in ribs, bone-in rib-eye steaks, brisket, pulled pork and the Backyard Burger, a half-pound certified Black Angus burger with a choice of blue (Barnhardt-Easterday’s pick), American, cheddar, Monterey Jack or mozzarella cheese.

The non-smoking restaurant features an upscale dining section on one side and a sports bar-type atmosphere on the other, with a full bar to open in mid-December along with six big-screen TVs and walls of memorabilia for seven teams.

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