A little over a week ago, Uptown's newest addition, Boneyard Kitchen & Bar, threw open its doors and invited eaters in with a down-home howdy-do. The restaurant's menu is full of Southern classics, each with a little twist, like the bloody Mary spiked with bourbon and the deviled eggs topped with bacon and a slice of jalapeno. We settled in for a long lunch, tossed our dietary concerns out the window, and dug in.
The Kaskaid Hospitality Group (the company that owns Crave and Union, among other area restaurants) has completely transformed the former location of Old Chicago in Uptown. Boneyard's extensive patio is just outside giant garage doors that will make this a fantastic spot for summer sunning once the weather finally cooperates.
Inside, the main dining room is open and comfortable, with the boisterous noise of a hip, new hot spot. There are rustic touches throughout the space, like a wall of cast iron skillets and plenty of unfinished wood.
The menu is under the command of Jason Bush, a Southern transplant who found himself stuck in Minnesota for the sake of love. Before opening this spot, he did a brief stage at Haute Dish under Landon Schoenefeld.
The Boneyard's recipes are drawn from Bush's family history: Mamma Mo's sweet tea-brined chicken, Auntie Ann's hot fry, and so on.
Service was incredibly friendly and omnipresent. Moments after ordering, our plates arrived, including a pimento cheese-spiked macaroni and cheese in a little cast iron pot for $9.95. For the uninitiated, pimento cheese is a magical mixture of sharp cheddar cheese, processed cheese, mayonnaise, and pimentos. The spread gives an added creamy oomph to the dish, although there was something oddly sweet in the mixture. We narrowed it down to the buttered bread crumbs, which weren't bad, just unnecessary.
Our server was effusive when recommending the duck meatloaf, a dish she claimed is her favorite on the menu. This isn't something for a light eater. Ground duck meatloaf is wrapped in bacon, set atop a buttered slice of toast with shaved tasso ham, pepperjack cheese, spicy aioli, and gravy, and then topped with two sunny-side up eggs -- because why not? We're all going to die someday. This carpe diem dish is also served with crunchy potato slices and tomato jam for $11.95.
The dish we were most looking forward to was the fried chicken. For $13.95 you get a leg and a thigh, sweet tea brined and breaded and fried. Unfortunately, as we could have guessed from how quickly our food arrived, the chicken had been languishing under a heat lamp for some time. The skin and breading was still wonderfully crisp, but the dark meat below had shriveled. We attempted a little revival with the sriracha maple syrup that quickly found its way out of the wax paper lining and onto the table below. Still, the sweet heat was a nice addition. The hush puppies and biscuit had met the same sad fate of sitting in a warmer in the back, but the slaw was zesty, crunchy, and had a nice balance of sweet creaminess. Faults aside, the dish is still a good excuse to eat all that crunchy fried chicken skin -- as if you needed an excuse.
2841 Hennepin Ave. S.
Open Monday through Wednesday from 11 a.m. to midnight, Thursday and Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 a.m., and Sunday from 9 a.m. to midnight