The Back Yard Burgers story begins more than 25 years ago in the small town of Cleveland, Mississippi. It was here in 1987 that Lattimore Michael first began making homemade burgers in his grocery store. Before he knew it, the popularity of his burgers began to skyrocket, and a year later Lattimore was able to open the flagship Back Yard Burgers location. Fast forward to present day, and the crew at each Back Yard Burgers still serves up 100% North American Black Angus beef burgers and sandwiches cooked to order. They charbroil signature creations such as the barbecue bacon cheeseburger, a 1/3-pound patty topped with hickory-smoked bacon, american cheese, and barbecue sauce, as well as signature chicken sandwiches. Angus beef chili and 100% beef hot dogs round out the menu, complemented by hand-dipped shakes and malts just like grandma used to make and grandpa used to hide in his underwear drawer.
Three crusts are the foundation of the experience at Mr. Bigg’s Pizza. St. Louis–style thin crust can support pies such as the mexican with its seasoned beef, diced green pepper, and a specially blended sauce. Thick crust can burden the load of the Bigg’s meat pizza and all its sausage, hamburger, pepperoni, and bacon toppings. And the kicker, hand-tossed New York–style pizza, might sport the toppings of the veggie pizza—mushrooms, onions, green peppers, black olives, and tomatoes.
Though the pizza roster forms the central pillar of the menu, it’s not alone. Pasta dishes, such as baked mostaccioli and lasagna, complement non-Italian food, including a chicken bacon ranch sandwich. And drinks contrast the pizza selection, too. From draft and bottled beer to wine and specialty cocktails, the libation list has thirsty throats covered.
If guests would rather not stare at one of the big-screen TVs that adorn a wall in each dining room, they can eat their pasta and sip their wine on the patio where picnic tables and a fish-populated fountain surround cobblestone walkways.
The scent of freshly baked biscuits, peppery gravy, and fried potatoes waft out of Republic Cafe’s kitchen 24 hours a day. Like the red, white, and blue of the French flag, the diner's housemade breakfasts pay homage to Americana, especially the country-fried skillet—a mound of hashbrowns topped with sautéed peppers and onions, cubes of country-fried steak, two eggs, and country gravy. Comfort-food classics populate the lunch menu as well, which stars BLTs, chicken-fried chicken, and open-faced beef sandwiches floating in a pool of savory, brown gravy.
Situated on the edge of the James River, River Smokin lets guests take a break from canoeing and stop by its dining room, patio, or deck. Plates of pork loin chops or deep-fried shrimp emerge from the kitchen, making their way to tables crowded with appetizers such as chicken quesadillas, fried dill pickles, and hand-breaded deep-fried fresh mushrooms.
House-made dough rises every day in the Parmesan's Pizzeria kitchen, where chefs toss it into pizza crust or bake it into the restaurant's signature cheesy breadsticks. Creative toppings crown these specialty pies, such as spaghetti and meatballs, spinach-and-artichoke dip, chicken cordon bleu, and the Padre pizza, whose five meats and extra cheese arrive baked within a World's Best Dad trophy. Calzones and sub sandwiches round out the hearty bill of fare, which patrons can have delivered at home, pick up themselves, or munch in a dining room equipped with a large-screen television.
A varnished wood bench gleams near the entrance of Panther Grill, formerly known as the Panther Inn, made from rough-hewn logs by the owner's father. The food inside is similarly homespun. In the morning, cooks toss omelets in pans and serve up platters of steak and eggs. Later in the day, they prepare hand-breaded pork tenderloin, freshly made cheeseburgers, or brown beans and ham served with cornbread. A rotating line-up of made-from-scratch desserts, such as layered Smores push pops and cinnamon rolls, beckon from a pastry case.