It all began with a barbecue. Restaurateurs and co-owners of Publico Street Bistro & Garden—husband-and-wife duo Jairo Dominguez and Teodora Bakardzhieva and business partner and friend Theo Bougas—started a tradition of throwing cookouts every Marathon Monday for their family and friends. Now, nearly three decades later, the trio is inviting the rest of Boston to join the party as they prepare to open Backyard Betty’s in Southie this April.
“It all started at my house back in the early ’90s,” Bougas explains. “We used to do cookouts that just kind of grew and grew—always with people in the industry. And it was always talked about how this would be a great concept as a restaurant.”
Backyard Betty’s will serve comfort fare for dinner seven nights a week, with plans to expand to brunch on the weekends. The menu from chef Jeff Howe (Teatro) will include traditional apps and entrees, like snapper with grilled squash, zucchini, red onion, asparagus and quinoa, with additional offerings of grilled pizzas and communal plates for larger groups. There will also be a special section of the menu dubbed “From the Ashes,” featuring veggies, slow-roasted chicken, brisket and heritage ribs. The bar program will showcase craft beers, classic American cocktails and modern additions such as the Castle Island Punch made with rum, cognac, peach brandy, lemon and green tea oleo saccharum, as well as boozy milkshakes like the Rainbow Unicorn, a mix of colorful sherbet, vanilla ice cream, passion fruit and vodka.
As for what guests can expect, Bakardzhieva says they want the spot—with seating for about 100 and an additional 32 seats between two bars—to feel like home: “A lot of Bostonians don’t have a backyard—or even a deck! So here it is. You can come and enjoy the communal food and you don’t have to do the cooking.”
The trio took inspiration from early Americana while designing the restaurant. The main bar will be covered in metal from an Airstream, walls are adorned with ’70s memorabilia and a custom-built wood-burning grill straight from Mesquite, Texas, anchors the main dining room. The second bar—designed to look like an old auto garage—sits in the back of the space, which also features a suspended motorcycle and a garage door that will open to the sidewalk when the weather warms up.
Says Bougas: “We’ll be your indoor tailgate in the winter and your outdoor barbecue in the summer.” ◆
Backyard Betty’s 170 W. Broadway, Boston backyardbettys.com