Backyard Bistro is in the same location as Make and Take Gourmet was. Same people actually, just a different concept now. If you don't know where that is it's at the confusing triangle in the road between the Freeway 62, local Route 62 and Route 18 - behind the Bob Evan's and Applebee's - and a few doors down from the Stabucks.
Nice comfortable interior up there with most luxury homes. Several different zones - there is a couch and television area playing the Food Network. There is a kitchenette area and the rest is mostly outdoor bistro style metal tables and chairs. Nice colorful and happy interior - comfortable. Lots of decorative nooks. It's somewhat like a Panera, minus all the noise and crowd and fatalities of being a chain.
The menu at Backyard Bistro is mainly sandwiches, but they have salads and some sides available as well as homemade desserts and gelato.
Was glad to find vegetarian options as well as salads that actually contained spring greens. It is damn near impossible to find a half green salad anywhere near the Shenango Valley - best bet had been Golden Corral - that's how bad the area dining really is - but I digress.
The spring green salad was large enough to be a meal by itself. The crutons were nothing short of amazing.
Sandwich wise, we tried the two vegetarian sandwiches and both were fresh and pretty good. Certainly the best sandwiches we have had in the Shenango Valley and we've tried most places.
I was though perplexed being a Pittsburgher to see Mancini's bread here - so far from Pittsburgh. Mancini's is known for working class bland white bread pretending to be Italian Bread. Never knew until eating at Backyard Bistro that Mancini's actually makes good bread worth eating. The sundried tomato bread and euro grain we had on sandwiches was as good as bread gets. Quite impressive; Mancini's needs to start promoting these more premium products.
Dessert wise we tried a small cheesecake creation in a small metal pie pan like mom would make. It was delicious and certainly the best dessert we have had anywhere in the Valley. We were tempted to try the other desserts, but we can go back soon and try those.
My only gripe would be Backyard Bistro needs some more ambitious beverages like Panera has. Some flavored coffees, some good teas, maybe some fruit beverages. Right now the selection is fairly uninspired - bottled mass produced fizzy sugar water, bottled milk, coffee pot over there, etc.
Hopefully this place makes it. I think their location provides for access issues to the location and dealing with several traffic lights the locals tend to avoid. Hermitage needs more small businesses like this.
We'll be back... soon.