Ben Allen is back. This time the local country singer, who gained national recognition through his appearances on the TV show “The Voice”, can take the stage in his own seat.
Ben Allen’s Backyard Grill & Pub replaces Brooks Burgers’ location on Freedom Square, 12655 Tamiami Trail E., in East Naples. The joint venture, due to open on the last weekend in June, will bring local restaurateur Todd Brooks and Ben Allen together in a collaboration that will focus on live music events, a fully stocked bar and home-style cooking. The grand opening of the new destination will of course be underlined by a performance by the Ben Allen Band, who will be performing there regularly.
“I didn’t just want to create a restaurant, I wanted to create a place where local musicians would find a home,” says Allen. “It feels like I’m going back to my roots. It was my first time ever taking a stage in a small venue like Ben Allen’s Backyard. We’re going to provide a stage where artists perform close to the audience, play shows, learn what people want to hear and how to entertain. I want Ben Allen’s Backyard to be a place where people can experience the magic of it. “
Expect live music on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and some Sundays. In addition to live music and sporting events on television, nightlife will include karaoke, cornhole tournaments, indoor and outdoor pool, a possible comedy night, and industrial nights for hotel workers.
Brooks Burgers’ southernmost location closed on June 1 to transform the restaurant in Ben Allen’s Backyard, as did Brooks in 2018 from the former longtime China Buffet in this 4,000 square foot end cap unit in the anchored center of Publix at US 41 East meets Collier Boulevard. Brooks Burgers’ airplane decor is being replaced with a rockier rustic look. Album covers, murals, neon lights and more than 20 television screens are displayed on the walls. “It should have a really cool feel,” says Brooks, noting that a small stage has been built inside and the bar has been expanded.
“We added 16 more taps. We used to only have eight, ”says Brooks. “And we just rebuilt the whole kitchen, because instead of just burgers we have a sauté station, a grill station and so on.”
In addition to tripling the beers on tap, the new location will offer a few drinks named after Ben Allen as well as some additional libations. “We’re going to have a lot of different bourbons and whiskeys,” says Brooks. “We won’t be a whiskey bar, but we’ll have more than normal.”
The new restaurant will keep half a dozen of Brooks’ most popular burgers, but they will kind of second fiddle to the rest of the menu. It includes mix-and-match kebabs, finger food, killer nachos, pizza, smoked brisket, prime rib, blackened steak tips, chicken pot pie with biscuits, and country fried steak and chicken with toasted poblano and sausage sauce. Jiffy pop popcorn with a homemade bourbon butter sauce adds an element of surprise.
“The Jiffy Pop popcorn is going to be a blast. We’re going to do that at the table and make the sauce at the table, ”Brooks said. “We have some cool, fun things going on that aren’t crazy but a little different from the rest of Naples.”
This is where the backyard comes in. Look for a 3 meter high steel sculpture of a guitar in the background. It will be near a portable stage with lighting effects for outdoor shows and a 10 x 6 foot TV screen on a trailer for watching sporting events. An outdoor bar and pool table are also in the back yard. From a new front terrace to the back yard, the venue will have more than 225 seats.
Originally shared on Gulfshore Business