The new family-oriented burger joint is opening soon.
John Harper, owner of the soon-to-open Backyard Grill, looks around the former Bogart’s space at 443 N. Ridge Road with some exasperation.
“Let me tell you,” he says. “It’s a lot easier to build up an Arby’s from the ground than do this rehab stuff.” The stucco walls have stayed the same, but the place will be warmer, a little lighter — and with brightly patterned chairs and less emphasis on the bar, a more comfortable place for families.
The former franchise owner was a football star when he and I attended Collegiate School. He has that same energy and drive, and except for blond hair that’s darkened and gone a little gray with age, he looks almost the same as he did back in high school. But Harper’s focus on the scoreboard as a measure of success no longer is a factor.
The restaurant will join the recently-opened Kuba Kuba Dos just across the way.
Photo: Scott Elmquist/Style Weekly