Back Yard Burgers isn't new to Somerset.

But you might not completely recognize it now if you haven't been there in a while.

The restaurant, located on North U.S. 27 just south of SomerSplash Water Park, has undergone extensive structural and cosmetic renovations, all to provide a better, safer, more attractive dining experience for local Back Yard Burger fans.

"It was time for us to remodel," said Barry Daulton, who partners with cousin Gary Daulton in owning the local Back Yard Burgers restaurant. "We started a year ago tryong to remodel and basically realized that we had a roof problem."

That was due to the heavy snows that fell on the area a couple of winters ago, which caused roof damage to several locations, including the boat slips at Lake Cumberland marinas. So they turned to fixing the roof first, and put the remodeling on-hold for another year.

That process is underway though, and Barry said that in another few weeks, it should be complete. The restaurant was clost for three days earlier in May when they did the flooring, but other than that, business has gone on full steam ahead while the remodeling work has been done.

"We've have redone everything on the outside, and have put up new LED lights in the parking lot," said Barry. "The LED lights are a huge addition. We've done all new lighting inside as well, but the outside LED is huge. It's just like daylight out there. It's really brightened it up."

That makes walking into and out of the restaurant safer for customers, particularly those who can't see as well after dark, and makes a more attractive presentation from the road for the restaurant. The parking lot has been newly striped as well.

Inside, extensive work on the kitchen area has been a large priority, re-doing the floor and ceiling. The color scheme has gotten another look as well.

"We haven't redone the floor out front yet, but we're getting ready to do that," said Barry. "It's basically a total overall makeover."

Back Yard Burgers is a restaurant chain with numerous locations particularly across the southern and midwestern United States. The first Back Yard Burgers opened in Cleveland, Mississippi, and the company has been headquartered in Memphis and Nashville in Tennessee, with more than 50 locations across a dozen states, including several in Kentucky.

The local restaurant opened in 2002 after making a fan out of the Daultons.

"I ate at a couple of these and it was just one of those things -- I love the product," he said. "I thought they had the best product, and I've been involved in other restaurants and still am, but I just though that Back Yard Burgers had the best burger.

"They had a great chicken sandwich," he continued. "There's a lot of things people don't even know we have."

That includes a chili cheese hot dog, "the best chicken tenders anywhere," noted Barry, a Hawaiian chicken sandwich with grilled pineapple, wild turkey burger, and a veggie burger -- a hard-to-find option for non-meat eaters on quick-service restaurant menus.

Beef burger options are varied too, including the "Black and Bleu" burger with crumbled bleu cheese and the spicy Blackjack burger, with pepper jack cheese and zesty creole mayo.

The burgers are 100 percent Black Angus beef, and don't spend any time under a heat lamp.

"All of our sandwiches are made to order, not pre-made and set under a warmer," said Gary, who added that they're "guaranteed fresh."

After discovering the restaurant, Barry told Gary, who works more closely with the restaurant itself now, and had him try it. Gary became a fast fan as well.

"At Back Yard Burgers, we use only the finest quality products," said Gary. He noted the lemon pepper chicken sandwich served on a kaiser bun, the cranberry pecan chicken salads, and a bounty of delicious desserts.

"Try one of our fresh baked cobblers with Blue Bonnet ice cream or a hand-dipped shake," he said. "We use real ice cream and while milk and syrups."

Though the restaurant is situated in a slightly different part of town from most other restaurants, just north of the busiest part of the U.S. 27 strip, they have their own devoted customers. Indeed, it's a great location for certain demographics -- people who use the water park and adjacent ballparks, neighboring businesses and hotels, and people coming from Science Hill and Eubank for whom Back Yard Burger is the first restaurant in Somerset they come across. And then there are those people who just like Back Yard Burgers enough to come from anywhere in Pulaski County to get some of their food.

"We do have a loyal following of people," said Barry, "but we also have people in this county who have never tried it. We'd like for them to come out and give us a try. It's an absolutely fantastic product."

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