(Editor’s note: Bad to the Bone BBQ closed in the summer of 2021.)
Tonia Gray said she has a passion for cooking.
“We have family dinners every week,” she said. “Me and my brother and my mother, we just cook. My kids and all the grandkids are involved. It’s a family affair.”
Gray, her brother, Scott Duncan, and their mother, Diana Duncan, hope to expand the family to the people of Brookfield, Masury and the surrounding areas with Bad to the Bone BBQ, the restaurant they are opening at 7317 Warren Sharon Road, the place people with long memories remember as Perkins and Guliano’s.
Bad to the Bone BBQ opens Feb. 3.
Although “BBQ” is in the name and will be a specialty, the eatery, which will not serve alcohol, will be open for breakfast and lunch and the menu will include standard fare like burgers, Italian dishes and fish.
“We will also have charbroiled steaks and shrimp, a variety of salads,” Gray said. “If you don’t like barbecue, you can still come here and get something to eat. Not everybody likes the smoked flavor of the meat.”
But, the smell of smoked meat will permeate the place: brisket, pulled pork, spare ribs, sausage, turkey.
“Our meat is going to be slow-cooked, slow-roasted, slow-smoked,” Gray said. “A brisket will take us 18 hours to cook. There’s a lot of time and dedication because you have to monitor it, make that sure everything’s going good.”
Gray said she learned how to barbecue and smoke meats when she lived in Texas.
“There’s a science to it,” she said. “Instead of just following a recipe, you have to perfect the technique, so to speak. That really is what we’re striving for here.”
Bad to the Bone BBQ will offer daily specials – tacos with homemade guacamole and pico de gallo on Tuesdays, wings on Wednesday, smoked prime rib every other Saturday – and southern comfort food. They will sell family platters for eating in-house or at home, and will bring your food to your vehicle if you place an order ahead of time.
“I think it’s going to be good for us and good for Brookfield,” Gray said.
Gray had worked at a restaurant and bar in Columbiana County, near where she lives, for more than eight years.
“I helped run the business,” she said. “My employers would be gone for three to six months off and on. I would do all the ordering, (deal with) the health department, making sure we were up to code. My feet were wet. I knew what to do and what to expect.”
Her initial idea when she decided to start a family business was to run a food truck, but her brother suggested she at least look for a restaurant building. She found the building next to Valley View Drive through internet searching.
“We looked at it and it was almost like divine intervention, so to say, because there was a place for the smoker,” she said. “Everything has fallen into place.”
Building owner J.V. Ferrara has been helpful and accommodating, she said.
“We have had several people stop in, and they are very excited that there is going to be a restaurant here,” Gray said.
Gray admitted she doesn’t know much about Brookfield, but added, “It’s a small community and that’s what we like.”
It will become her home, so to speak, as she pledged to spend time every day at the restaurant.
“We’re a family-run business,” she said. “We want to treat our customers and our employees as (if) they’re part of our family. We want to treat them like I want to be treated when we go eat somewhere.”
Restaurant hours will be 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday. There will be a breakfast buffet Sundays from 8 a.m. to noon.
The eatery’s menu is posted on its Facebook page.