Northwest Rock Hill gets two new restaurants

Mike Vaught, general manager, looks over the treehouse for kids in the new Back Yard Burgers location on Heckle Boulevard in Rock Hill on Tuesday.
Mike Vaught, general manager, looks over the treehouse for kids in the new Back Yard Burgers location on Heckle Boulevard in Rock Hill on Tuesday.

Diners in northwest Rock Hill are getting two new options for quick, affordable food.

The arrival of the city's first Back Yard Burgers restaurant will happen by the middle of next week when the quick-service burger joint opens its doors on Heckle Boulevard, near the intersection with Herlong Avenue. Next door, Rock Hill's second Taco Bueno, a Mexican fast-food spot with another location on Cherry Road, opened Tuesday at the corner of Cranium Drive and Heckle Boulevard.

Back Yard Burgers spokesman Chad Severance said Charlotte-based Providence Restaurant Group decided to open the franchise after successful ventures with its other stores in Gastonia, N.C., Charlotte and on S.C. 160 near Fort Mill.

"We had so much success with our store in Fort Mill that we wanted to open another one in the Upstate. Rock Hill was the obvious choice," Severance said. "And this particular location is such an up-and-coming part of town."

Back Yard Burgers boasts a menu of 100 percent Angus beef burgers, chicken sandwiches and dinner platters. Unlike many fast-food competitors -- and there are several nearby, including McDonald's, Bojangles and Wendy's -- Back Yard Burgers will feature "silver platter service," meaning wait staff will bring food to tables and offer drink refills, Severance said. The new location also has a life-size treehouse playground with interactive, electronic games for children inside the restaurant.

"That's one of the things that we hope is a drawing card," Severance said.

Customer service also is a major emphasis at Taco Bueno, said general manager Juan Howard. He said competition from Taco Bell, located across Herlong Avenue in front of Bi-Lo, is welcomed.

"That's a good thing. We want people to try both places and compare," Howard said, noting that Taco Bueno makes all its ingredients fresh in-house every day. "We're catalogued as fast food, but we try to be full-service."

Howard said the Tulsa, Okla.-based franchise has a large presence in the western United States (120 stores), and hopes successful ventures in Rock Hill will spur growth in the Southeast. He said the location that opened last summer across from Winthrop University on Cherry Road has seen steady business, and plans are in place to eventually make the larger Heckle Boulevard location an East Coast training center.

The two new restaurants join Arby's to complete the dining space at Heckle Business Park. Fort Mill developer Faison Kuester told The Herald last year he plans to build three 10,000-square-foot medical office buildings along the back of the 17-acre site. The business park also is home to North State Storage.

Back Yard Burgers is open daily from 10:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Taco Bueno's dining room is open every day from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and its pick-up window is open until 11 p.m.