The Backyard Tavern has been a Stowe landmark for a quarter century, providing an after hours haven for locals and visitors since the mid-90s. On Nov. 20, the Backyard officially changed hands, and has been taken over by the same creative team behind Ranch Camp, a combination bike shop and fast casual-eatery located across the parking lot from the Backyard.

While it looks like the Backyard will undergo a bit of a facelift, the new owners will retain many of its core attributes, albeit with a few tweaks.

“We’re pretty fired up on this spot. We love the open floor plan inside, and the outdoor bar and covered patio are right at the base of Charlie’s trail, which accesses Cady hill,” said Nate Freund, co-owner of the Backyard and Ranch Camp. “We fully intend to preserve what makes the Backyard such a special place, but we’ll put our own touch on it, adding a full menu and beefing up the beer and cocktail offerings as well.”

While the current restrictions imposed by Gov. Phil Scott’s coronavirus mandates will initially limit hours, the Backyard will ultimately return to being a nighttime hot spot, as well as a new lunch and dinner option as well. Joe Rock, executive chef at Ranch Camp, has developed a menu in collaboration with the Backyard’s head chef, Jordan Sullivan. “We’ve combined classic comfort food with a few really fun and creative takes on traditional pub fare,” said Sullivan.

This new iteration of The Backyard, or The Backyard at Ranch Camp as it’s now called, will aim to be a community hub. It will also lean into Stowe’s roots as a ski and snowboard destination, focusing on apres food and drink.

“This spot allows us to be a bit more eclectic,” said co-owner Ryan Thibault. “We’re tapping an art-forward vibe that hinges on ski, snowboard, mountain bike and even skateboarding cultures. But our aim is to keep it relatable and entertaining.”

Evan Chismark is the other co-owner.

The Backyard at Ranch Camp is set to open on Friday, Dec. 11. More at backyardvt.com.

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