6744 Miller Lane
Dayton, OH 45414
Smoky Bones is a Florida-based mid-sized restaurant chain that has enjoyed some popularity throughout the United States for a few years. Mostly it does Kansas City-style barbecue with a variety of meats and a host of “Yankee sweet “sauces. In the south, barbecue chains tend to be pretty popular, but the north has a smaller number of chains with takes on the American classic. So how does this one stack up? Well, it depends on what you order.
Just about every restaurant out there as a take on barbecue. The ones that specialize in it though, usually have something new and novel to offer. As far is this place, I’m not so sure. What I tried:
- Barbecue ribs: Easily my favorite thing on the menu, the ribs are tender, smoky, and the key is that they are not too inundated with barbecue sauce from the get go. Places that smother them with barbecue sauce tend not to know how to manage the meat well. These are pretty good though.
- Wings: Your typical chicken wing is meant to be barbecue. As for these? They’re a little bit small, and a little bit charred. Which typically happens when you cook, freeze, and reheat them. Just not the same.
- Barbecue chicken: Cooked with a set of spices to set it apart from the typical red meats, chicken is seasons nicely, but my experience with it is that it dries out when they chop it. What’s worse, I have had an experience with it being cold.
- Steak fries: Huge potato wedges sprinkle liberally with season salt and fried. And a bit sick, and therefore a bit dry, but people still love them.
- Brisket: I got a pretty good meat dish, second maybe only to the ribs. A lot of gristle on them though, so you have to like that on your feet.
As far as the experience goes, the service is pretty good and the food comes relatively quickly. I can’t say though, having visited about three different locations over the span of 15 years maybe half a dozen times, the recent changes watered down the experience. Gone are the log-cabin interiors and focus on great barbecue. The new restaurant, and new menu, feels a bit more generic.
Barbecue is interesting business. Big chains can be outmaneuvered by smaller local shops in many places. So the chains have to really offer something great, which was just missing here. I struggle to think of reasons to come here or how Smokey Bones will differentiate itself from the rest of the pack.
- There are other things here if you don’t like barbecue — pasta, sandwiches and seafood and other things.
- The restaurant caters as well.
- Pretty good for bigger groups.