McKinney eatery The Yard embraces outdoor dining

The Yard sits on roughly an acre of open space in McKinney. (Courtesy The Yard)
The Yard sits on roughly an acre of open space in McKinney. (Courtesy The Yard)

The Yard sits on roughly an acre of open space in McKinney. (Courtesy The Yard)

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The Yard offers simpler dishes, like the Tacos Locos Supreme with a craft beer and The Backyard Mixed Green Salad with our Peach & Ginger Fizz Cocktail. (Courtesy The Yard)
A hidden blessing of the coronavirus pandemic was a chance to return to the roots of The Yard’s “icehouse”—or outdoor dining—concept, according to Sean Sanders, general manager and executive chef.

“Basically, what we’ve done is convert [The Yard] into what we originally had as an idea: for a restaurant to be more of just an icehouse—picnic tables all over the yard,” Sanders said.

With nearly an acre of outside space, seating has been spread 6 feet apart across the yard.

“We, as a team, wrapped our heads around what we could safely do to maximize the amount of guests that we can entertain ... while still also being safe, responsible proprietors in this time,” Sanders said.

While there is limited seating indoors, there are no capacity constraints for outdoor seating as long as tables are properly distanced, he said.

“We’ve been very lucky in that aspect of how much outdoor seating we have to be able to let way more people enjoy The Yard than if we were just [offering] indoor seating,” he said.

The added seating took over the space of some other aspects of The Yard that are harder to maintain and keep safe, like outdoor games and kids’ areas, Sanders said.

While seating and entertainment options have changed, the food and scenery remain the same, he said.

“[We have] beautiful outdoor seating—these pecan and oak trees are 100 years old themselves—a beautiful canopy, lots of landscaping,” Sanders said, “and then, just good, simple food done right.”

The Yard has returned to its full menu after briefly offering limited options during the early months of the pandemic. Fan favorites, such as cheeseburgers, sandwiches and tacos, are available for dine-in and takeout, Sanders said.

“We’re known for ... fun, approachable food,” he said. “We try to source locally as much as possible.”

Takeout service has died down for the most part, and locals are looking for excuses to get outdoors, Sanders said.

“People are wanting to get out when they can, and they seem to be way more comfortable with outdoor dining than indoor, so we’re definitely a beacon in McKinney for that,” Sanders said.

The Yard

107 S. Church St., McKinney

Temporary hours: Tue.-Sun. 11 a.m.- 10 p.m., closed Mon.

By Liesbeth Powers
Liesbeth graduated from Baylor University with a degree in new media journalism in December 2018. She gained her newspaper experience as a staff writer and multimedia editor at her campus paper, The Baylor Lariat. Liesbeth joined the Community Impact team in August 2019, where she reports on all things Plano, including education and transportation.


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