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Back Yard Burgers will be the newest franchise entry into the Erie, Pennsylvania, region's restaurant market. The Back Yard Burger chain, which cooks meats over an open flame, is prevalent in the southeastern United States, but there are currently only two others in Pennsylvania — both in State College.
Sean Taylor, Paul Fedorko, and a silent partner have invested in the Back Yard Burger restaurant that they hope to open by late July. They will build two others in Erie County within three to five years, and they are looking to expand to the Pittsburgh and Cleveland markets, Taylor says.
"We're trying to put a new spin on what the old guys are doing," Taylor says.
The restaurant chain's burgers and hot dogs are made of 100 percent black Angus beef. Customers can choose the drive-through service, or dine inside, where counter orders are delivered to tables on a silver platter within one minute, according to Taylor. Other menu items include chicken sandwiches, salads, chili, milkshakes, and cobblers.
Three televisions in the dining area will allow customers to watch news or sports, and an outside patio will give customers the option of eating outdoors. Guests will be welcomed when they enter and thanked as they leave, says Patrick Sims, the restaurant's general manager.
Taylor describes the restaurants as "quick casual" — somewhere between McDonald's and Max & Erma's, the sit-down casual restaurant. He isn't intimidated by the larger burger chains, such as McDonald's, Burger King, and Wendy's. "
Back Yard Burgers loves the challenge of going head-to-head," he says.
Taylor says the location on busy Peninsula Drive and near the entrance to Presque Isle State Park, with its nearly 4 million annual visitors, should boost business. And Taylor says the restaurant's location on the west side of Peninsula Drive will provide easy access for departing park visitors.
The restaurant also will sell kid's meals and feature a promotion, at least once a week, in which a child eats free with an adult meal purchase.