CASCADE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A restauranteur from Washington, D.C., is bringing a new dining concept to the 28th Street corridor.

Kourosh Shahbodaghloo hopes to open Backyard in the coming weeks. The new Cascade Township restaurant will serve up Persian dishes from an open kitchen where customers can watch chefs grill their orders, much like summertime grilling in your backyard.

“We are trying to bring something different to this area,” Shahbodaghloo told News 8.

Shahbodaghloo said new benches are being built for the space. He said Backyard will be a “very happy place” with a turquoise and blue interior and plenty of lighting, including string LEDs.

Backyard will be at 5070 28th St. SE just west of I-96 in the space that was previously home to Moe’s Southwest Grill. Moe’s closed about five months ago, according to Signature Associates Vice President and Retail Director Joe Rizqallah, who connected Shahbodaghloo with the property.

(A photo taken in May 2022 hows the future home of Backyard Persian restaurant at 5070 28th St. SE in Casade Township.)

Shahbodaghloo took over the nearly 2,500-square-foot storefront in January and has been remodeling it since, changing the floors, updating the bathrooms and reconfiguring the kitchen. He also ordered new equipment, including an 18-inch clay tandoor oven from India and a custom grill from California to cook ingredients fast and at proper temperature.

Backyard’s menu will include beef, chicken and fish dishes, as well as rice, bread and some appetizers. Shahbodaghloo plans to partner with local butcher shop Byron Center Meats to get the special cuts of meat needed for his Persian dishes.

Shahbodaghloo said customers will order their meals directly from the kitchen for lunch but Backyard will offer sit-down service with a server for dinner. He’s currently hiring staff whom he will directly train to prepare and cook each Persian dish.

Shahbodaghloo lived in Grand Rapids until 1996, when he moved to the Washington, D.C., area and became a business partner in numerous restaurants, including Tuscana West, Alamo Grill of Georgetown, Barcode and Home nightclub.

“So I am very familiar with food,” he said.

Shahbodaghloo moved back to West Michigan and bought a home last year after closing and leaving his last D.C.-area restaurants because of the pandemic.

“It has changed so much, but it is a great city,” he said of Grand Rapids.

Shahbodaghloo’s family still had ties to West Michigan. His wife owns Tanaz Hair Boutique & Day Spa in Cascade Township in addition to a salon in Washington, D.C. Shahbodaghloo says his son Babak, who has worked for Marriott and National Geographic and is a “silent partner” of Backyard, also wanted to move back.

“He loves this city. He was born and raised here,” he said.

Rizqallah expects Shahbodaghloo’s new restaurant to be “epic.”

“There is no place in town to truly find authentic Persian food. Babak and Kourosh not only have the experience, working and owning restaurants in D.C. for over two decades, but their passion for people and food will give customers an amazing and delicious experience,” he said.

“We just want to give something good to the community, something different. Grand Rapids is a beautiful city, a great city,” Shahbodaghloo said, adding that he just wants to keep himself busy.