WAGRAM — Wagram got a new barbecue joint recently that uses hickory wood to remind customers what they may have missed out on over the years.
Boneyard Bar-B-Q Grill opened at 24520 Main St. The restaurant is owned by Wagram native, George McMillan, and his wife Joyce.
The restaurant offers baked and fried chicken, pork chops, macaroni and cheese, fresh vegetables, salads and a variety of fish on top of their signature dish — hickory smoked ribs.
The McMillans opened Boneyard in honor of Joyce’s father, Charles Williams, who taught them to cook barbecue using hickory wood. He passed away, but the family carries on his cooking tradition and honors his legacy with the restaurant.
“I’ve honed in on the skills that my father-in-law taught me and I don’t want to brag, but the way that we cook our barbecue is probably one of the better ways I know of,” George McMillan said. “It gives it the flavor that a lot of people have forgotten over the years.”
To give the hickory smoked ribs that extra flavor, the McMillan’s cook the meat in hickory wood, “low and slow.”
“A lot of people commented about how they can smell the hickory on their clothes after they have eaten their barbecue,” he said.
The couple are currently college professors in Springfield, VA., but plan to retire in Wagram, where they also own a home. George also worked as a special agent with the US Department of Justice and Joyce was a lawyer.
“A lot of people said what gives you the background to open a business?” Joyce said. “But we have a business background from our experience.It wasn’t just a fluke, we were drawing on our backgrounds and education.”
The couple trained their employees to learn the slow process of perfecting each dish. They hired five employees — one being a close family friend and employee, Shelia Campbell. She has 18 years of restaurant management experience and enjoys working for Boneyard.
“They wanted to give back to the community so they opened it up,” Campbell said. “I like it because of the atmosphere — it’s quiet, kind of cozy and I like meeting people.”
Joyce believes the restaurant has brought in customers because it’s one of the few sit-down places in town.
“In my opinion Wagram doesn’t have any sit-down restaurants per se and we wanted to bring that kind of restaurant into the community and hire people from the community,” Joyce said.
The couple believes without the community, the restaurant would not be up and running.
“The communities all around have been extremely supportive and we just want everyone to know we appreciate them,” George said. “It is a community endeavor and the community has responded extremely well and that gave us confirmation that we are on the right track.”
Hours of operation are Wednesdays and Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Boneyard Bar-B-Q Grill can be reached at 910-369-4555.
Abby Hackmann can be reached at 910-506-3171.