When Sarah, Gwen and Rick Franke decided to open a restaurant in the Cypress/Tomball area last year, they agreed they wanted to give residents something they could not find anywhere else.

The trio opened Murdoch’s Backyard Pub on March 30 with the promise of bringing diners something that is “beyond normal.”

“We call it beyond normal because it’s stuff that people are familiar with but with our own spin added to it,” Sarah said.

Creativity and innovation are virtues for the chefs, who sometimes think of themselves as mad scientists.

“We’re always experimenting and adding new things,” Sarah said. “We have some extremely creative people in the kitchen doing things you would not expect in a small place like this.”

Some experiments that proved to be a hit with customers include Murdoch’s Favorite—a burger made with sliced pork belly, bacon jam and a chevre cheese and herb spread served on sweet bread—and Love Fries, served with barbecue pulled pork. The team brought in a pastry chef last fall to make cookies and fruit cakes from scratch, and new off-the-menu items are cooked up all the time, the owners said.

Everything at Murdoch’s is made fresh, including the tortilla chips used in nachos, the housemade sausage and french fries cut from baked potatoes.

“If we can’t make it, we don’t sell it,” Sarah said.

The owners make a point to purchase whatever ingredients they can from local or Texas-based vendors. Sarah also said she plans to start her own vegetable garden to grow produce on-site in the 3-acre backyard. Crawfish boiled in house spices, herbs, veggies and Atchafalaya sausage are available through the end of April.

The Frankes plan to celebrate Murdoch’s one-year anniversary March 31 with live music and activities.

“When we opened, we wanted to create a space where people feel comfortable just sitting down and talking and staying until close if they wanted,” Sarah said. “I think we’ve got a good thing here.”

Murdoch’s Backyard Pub

18541 Mueschke Road, Cypress
Hours: Tue.-Thu. 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri. 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m., Sat.-Sun. 11 a.m.-10 p.m., closed Monday