If you are in Northern California anytime soon driving up Highway 1 and just love BBQ food, be sure to drop by Bones Restaurant in Gualala. This popular locale has some of the best BBQ food you will ever eat, and it is cooked for hours to give it the most succulent taste. Bones also has a lovely view of the ocean, you can get take out if you want, and there is a full bar with all kinds of wine, beer, and brews available. They also offer all event catering and has live music on occasion.
Bones Roadhouse was the brainchild of Michael amp; Mary Thomas who were looking to create a family run business that would include their daughters. Michael himself has been “smoking meat” ever since he was a kid, and he and Mary love the roadhouses which served travelers who were driving through scenic country. They finally realized their dream when they took over a restaurant in Gualala and opened up for business on May 24, 2005. It was an instant and huge hit with the townspeople who kept coming back in droves. Sadly, their original location burned down to the ground on September 4, 2009. The Thomas’ have since taken over another restaurant further into town, and they remain as popular as ever.
I ended up ordering the St. Louis Style Pork Ribs when I dropped by Bones recently, and they are made from 100% natural pork. They were slow smoked and glazed, and I did not leave any meat hanging off of the bones when I was finished. Other menu highlights include Memphis Pulled Pork and the Texas Beef Brisket, both of which are slow smoked for 12 hours. For the all too literal minded, this doesn’t mean it will take 12 hours for the food to get to your table after you’ve ordered it.
You can order any of the meals in either a full or half order. Typically a half order is more than enough and will more than fill you up. Then again, getting a full order is a good excuse to save some of this irresistibly juicy meat for another day. You will quickly find that eating here once is not enough!
In terms of appetizers (which the restaurant calls “teasers”), I recommend the beer battered onion rings which beats out the ones you find at your local Burger King or Carl’s Jr. For those looking for something a little bit lighter, you can have the Cowboy Caesar Salad or the Retro Salad.
There are also many seafood selections on the menu which makes sense as the restaurant is next to the ocean. The smoked salmon dinner is a must as well as the char-grilled ahi sandwich or steak dinner. You can also count on old favorites like New England Clam Chowder and fish amp; chips to be available as well.
All the specialty meats are cooked in an authentic Texas style wood pit which is a huge machine that weighs about three tons. The fire inside this oven can last for up to 14 hours, and the restaurant can cook 1,000 pounds of meat at a time. What’s unique about this is that most restaurants would rather use gas to fire up their barbecue perhaps because it’s quicker to cook that way. But Michael is to the point when he says why he prefers a wood pit to gas:
“Because it makes our meats taste better.”
I cannot recommend this restaurant enough, and you must visit it if you ever happen to be in Gualala anytime soon. Bones Restaurant serves up some of the BBQ food I’ve ever had, and I look forward to dropping by there again in the future. The atmosphere is nice, the waiters and waitresses are really cool, and it beats out any McRib sandwich you’ve ever eaten at McDonald’s (which is pointing out the obvious, but anyway).