Cookin’ Up a New Look in Denton
by Steve Gamel
So you’re at your favorite restaurant enjoying a great meal with friends when the manager walks by to ask how everything tastes. It happens all the time, right? You and all your friends then nod in approval, and the manager moves on.
Now imagine that same scenario, except this time you are so blown away by the food, the drinks, the service, and the ambiance that you tell the manager more – a lot more. Mike Muller says that type of energy-filled feedback is quickly becoming the norm at Bone Daddy’s House of Smoke, which opened its new Denton location last March.
“It’s not just, ‘Oh, it’s great.’ They want to describe in depth how the food makes them feel, and how the service is. It’s a full conversation where they’re asking questions about recipes and what goes into the sauce,” said Muller, an owner at Bone Daddy’s who you can also find working in the smoke pit. “I’ve been in the restaurant business for a long time. This is simply what I do. But I’ve never seen anything like this. It’s pretty unique.”
When Mike told the folks at Lakes Cities Living this story, we had to go find out for ourselves. He wasn’t telling tall tales. Bone Daddy’s House of Smoke is a full-tilt Texas barbecue joint specializing in slow-pit smoked meats, scratched sides, ice cold beer and handcrafted cocktails – all served up by the friendliest people in the Lone Star State. The reactions mentioned above are every bit on point, because we felt the same way.
And it’s all run by Managing Partner Justin Levine and a team of people who are committed to being more than just another restaurant in town. Bone Daddy’s is a great place to get killer barbeque and friendly service all the while knowing you’re being taken care of by someone who is truly committed to making a difference in our community. Simply put: it’s evident that there’s a lot more than baby back ribs and prime brisket being cooked up at the new Bone Daddy’s.
“At the end of the day, what we want is to be the place where you can bring your parents to celebrate their anniversary, your little league team after a big win at a local tournament or even the first restaurant you’d think of just to get out of the house and have a relaxing evening with your spouse,” Levine said. “We want our top-notch food, and the inviting environment we’ve created, to make you want to come back again and again.”
None of that happens without a lot of hard work and constant searching for ways to be better. The family at Bone Daddy’s was born and bred right here in North Texas. This isn’t some corporation where the management isn’t accessible. Everyone is right here – every day – catering to all your needs. With that being said, they recognized Bone Daddy’s needed to appeal to a broader audience. They have put themselves through a significant rebranding program since the move to Denton. Muller said that involved a complete deep dive into everything they were doing, from the music that was being played to the layout of the restaurant and what the employees were wearing. It’s the same killer food recipes they’ve had for the last 17 years, simply with more options across the board.
The end result is a restaurant that offers a full-tilt experience where everyone feels welcome.
So far, so good.
Bone Daddy’s in Denton offers a rustic Texas feel from the second you walk in the door. Bone Daddy’s has spared no expense in what Levine called a “feast for your eyes” with the high-energy design, layout and feel of the restaurant.
Their service style is, admittedly, a little different from what most patrons are used to. Instead of having just one server take orders at each table, get drinks and handle any other needs, Bone Daddy’s uses what is called “swarm service” where one table may be served by three,
four or even five team members throughout the customer’s visit.
“The goal is to be really present in everything we do,” Levine said. “Our guests leave our restaurant feeling like every need was anticipated and fulfilled.”
Then there’s the food and drinks. Bone Daddy’s signature scratch sides and desserts include recipes the founder brought in from his mother’s kitchen – recipes that have been in his family for generations. One of the signature favorites is their Roadhouse Spuds, which is Bone Daddy’s souped-up version of a potato all the way – a baked, gooey casserole of scalloped potatoes, hickory-smoked bacon, sour cream, cheddar cheese and onions.
Also included in the roll out is a wider selection of handcrafted cocktails – Jacked Up Lemonade made with Jack Daniels, blackberries and mint served in a mason jar immediately springs to mind – to go with ice cold beer with local craft beer selections.
Bone Daddy’s offers everything from fall-off-the-bone baby backs and sticky pork spare ribs to the best slow-smoked brisket and pulled pork in Texas.
“We have a beautiful patio, which can host live music,” Muller said. “It’s also a great place to come with your larger parties and four-legged friends. Bone Daddy’s is also a great place to watch your favorite sports. There isn’t a single bad seat in the house with 20 large-screen televisions.”
Heather Parillo, mother of two and pseudo mother to 500 employees, has been with Bone Daddy’s for nearly eight years and stressed that these changes are not just specific to the Denton location. These changes have been made in all nine restaurants.
“We’ve always known who we are and how committed we are to our people and our guests,” Parillo said. “There are people in the community that wouldn’t try us because of how we were perceived. We have made changes to make the entire environment more inviting and appealing to everyone. We are excited about the opportunity to show people what we’re all about. This is a brand we can all be proud of.”
Parillo has spent months focusing on hospitality and sharing how it enhances the guest’s experience. Uniforms for the staff have been updated to boots, jeans and t-shirts that just feel right in this funky barbecue joint.
“We want our people enrolled, engaged and educated around everything we do to create a full-tilt experience for our guests,” Parillo said. “Our restaurants are owned and operated by moms and dads. We all have families, and we treat members of our staff as extended family. It’s something you just can’t get anywhere else.”
The quality service, rebranded image and making sure employees know they are the engine that makes it all work is easy when you have people like Muller, Parillo and Levine running the show.
Just listening to Muller, who has been in the restaurant business since he was 13, talk makes you fall in love with the Bone Daddy’s experience before even stepping foot inside the front door. His mentality is that Bone Daddy’s is the best BBQ joint around, and his ability to explain every finer point of what you will experience is second to none.
Heather is just as passionate and she’s the perfect example of an employee who started from scratch in the industry but was always the first person to raise her hand when a new opportunity came up. Her commitment to empowering young women has created a team atmosphere like no other at Bone Daddy’s, where every employee’s personal and professional development is a primary concern.
The next step for Muller, Parillo and Bone Daddy’s is to get the word out about all the great things people will experience when they come to Bone Daddy’s. This includes being an active member of the North Texas community. Levine and Muller have been beating the streets for the last few months meeting with city officials, getting involved with the local school districts and partnering with local charities. They want to make Bone Daddy’s a community partner, and a place where you can get great BBQ served up by the friendliest people in the Lone Star State.
“We have spent all our time focusing on taking great care of each other and taking great care of our guests so they can’t wait to come back,” Muller said. “If what we are doing doesn’t address those two concerns first, then we might as well not even bother.”
So what are you waiting for? Check out the new look at Bone Daddy’s and see what they’re cookin’ up.
(940) 312-5656 • bonedaddys.com
3258 South I-35 E. • Denton, TX, 76210
Sun. – Thurs: 11am – 10pm
Fri. & Sat.: 11am – 11pm
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