In the summer of 2009 the Hoover/Lytle clan, took a family vacation to California to visit our relatives. For those wondering, our family is pretty much like the Brady Bunch consisting of Moms and Dads, Step Moms and Step Dads, Brothers, Sisters, Step Brothers and Step Sisters, Half Brothers, half step brothers (yea, that’s a real thing), wives and fiancés, dogsand cats… you get the idea. We won’t sketch out our family tree here but just know that this blending of love is real and began in 1996.
Little did Mike Hoover know, (the father and pioneer of The Bone family), that a casual dinner at our family’s BBQ spot in Southern California would have such an impact on our clan and future. However, one taste of their Pulled Pork Nachos and he knew we had to bring them back to the East Coast.
Now Mike knew that Gainesville, VA needed these Nachos but who could possibly run such an operation? His hands were already full with his own technology company. Enter Bobby Lytle and Chase Hoover, two of his sons, freshly graduated from Virginia Techand ready to conquer the business world. Thankfully for Mike, their degrees were in Hospitality Management but unfortunately for Mike, they had VERY limited restaurant experience.
Shortly thereafter, Mike sent Bobby and Chase off to California to learn what the family BBQ business was all about, wage-free. Truth be told, Mike secretly hoped that Uncle Al, the founder of Bad to the Bone BBQ, and pit-master Marty would break the young grads and make them never want to open a restaurant. However, their naiveté and 23 year old mentalities prevailed, and they came back fired up and ready to launch their own BBQ venture in Virginia. Henceforth, on a cold Halloween night in 2011, Bad to the Bone Smokehouse in Gainesville, VA was born.
Now most ‘About Us’ stories would end here but so much has happened in the years since that we’ve gotta fill you in…
Fast forward to 2014 and Bad to the Bone Smokehouseis smokin’ along. What a big year; we purchased a food truck, we opened our second location in Old Town Manassas and called it The Bone… hmmmm the name change…To talk about it or not to talk about it?…Ok fine, we were going to avoid this part but there’s obviously still some confusion, so let’s settle the score.
We took the name Bad to the Bone from our fam’s shop in California and added ‘Smokehouse’ to make it our own. As time went on, we felt like we needed to streamline and simplify our brand. We were creating confusion by having two locations with two different names, marketing became a pain in the butt, and we knew we needed to do something. We would frequently overhear our bar guests say on the phone “I’m down at The Bone having a beer” and we caught ourselves saying the same thing, hehe. One thing led to another and here we are today as The Bone. Contrary to what some may believe, George Thorogood’s lawyers never called and ownership never changed, so when we hear “we like the new owners a lot better” we take it as a compliment that we have just upped our game over the years. We love our new brand and we hope you love it too!
If you are bored by this point, go ahead and eat that next Honey Bourbon Wing (thank you Papa Denny and our old neighbor Charlie for the recipe – shoutout to Blandsford Dr.!!!). If you’ve never had them, do yourself a favor and order a dozen or 3.
In 2014, we welcomed a new brother to the ownership party, Pat Lytle (another Hokie) and so much has happened since then. We catered a party for Rickie Fowler and his PGA Tour buds, oh and Tiger Woods showed up too, operated concession locations in the Verizon Center in D.C and Jiffy Lube Live in Bristow, said goodbye to our brother Chase as an owner (don’t worry we still love him and he lives in Florida now), formed lifelong friendships with many of our regular customers, jumped the food truck (A LOT), smoked a brisket for Chris Brown, hit a deer with the food truck, catered a “Mud Run” for 2,500 filthy runners, and much much more.
While we may occasionally get your order wrong, or do something that makes your experience anything less than awesome, we promise that we will always do our best to make our customers happy. As a local family owned and operated spot, we take tremendous pride in what we have created here and know that we could not have written this story without you, our great customers and dedicated employees.