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Bone Yard Cafe

September 10, 2021

  • 112 W. North Street
  • Kalamazoo, MI 49007
  • (269) 350-5344
  • No Known Website
  • Menu

Food trucks and BBQ. It’s a pretty popular combination. I walked over to Lunchtime Live in Bronson Park last week and five of the seven trucks parked along South Street were BBQ. All of them had long lines.

For some reason, BBQ and food trucks just go together. I wasn’t surprised when I was driving down Rose Street a few weeks ago and saw a food truck parked at the corner of Rose and North was serving up BBQ. This truck is a little different than most trucks in the area though.

Bone Yard Cafe is on the corner of Rose and North in Kalamazoo’s Northside Neighborhood. The truck is permanently parked on a piece of property on that corner owned by the family that owns the food truck. They’ve turned that piece of property in to a little outdoor cafe with the smokers and grills hidden behind the truck and tables set up in the courtyard in front of it.

Bone Yard Cafe is a little different than typical BBQ joints. In addition to ribs and tips, they have gourmet hot dogs. In a Kalamazoo Gazette article, the owner calls what he’s doing a little bit of a hybrid between Texas style BBQ and Kalamazoo BBQ slathered in thick, sweet sauce made popular his uncle who owns Big Moe’s.

I drove by this place a couple of times before I actually stopped. The first time I drove by was closer to 5:00 and they looked like they had already closed for the night. They advertise staying open later but when the BBQ is gone, the BBQ is gone.

The second time I was just too early. I drove by around 11 when they opened and noticed a sign saying tips wouldn’t be done until noon. So I headed back to the office and came back a little after noon.

Ordering is done at the truck like you’d expect. There were two ladies in there taking orders and calling out names. The BBQ options are limited to slabs of ribs or rib tips. If you want the rib tips, you better get there early. They don’t last long.

I was there at maybe twenty after twelve. I asked if the tips were ready yet and the response was, “yeah, but there ain’t many left.” I put in my order for rib tips and a side of fries. The cost a little under $10. I stepped back from the truck and waited for my name to be called. It took probably five minutes for my order to come up.

I headed back to the office and dug in to the fries first. They’re really nothing special. Just some frozen GFS fries but the thing about getting fries with rib tips is they’re really good for soaking up all the delicious sauce dripping off the meat.

The rib tips themselves were exactly what you expect from rib tips. They’re smoky. They’re tender. They just fall right off the bones and kind of melt in your mouth. The sauce is a little different from what I typically associate with rib tips. It wasn’t a thick, sweet, sticky sauce like you’d get from Uncle Moe’s. It’s more of a thinner, vinegary sauce….something I’d associate more as a brisket sauce than a rib sauce. It’s delicious though and actually lets the smokiness of the meat shine through.

I love the idea of the place and it’s easy to see if the few weeks they’ve been open, I’m not the only one. Meat sells out pretty fast so get their early if you can. I noticed a lot of people from the nearby Metro building waiting in line for lunch while I was there.

Bone Yard Cafe is a great addition to a neighborhood that doesn’t have a lot of food options. I haven’t even touched on their “Specialty Dogs” which adds a whole other dimension to this menu. I didn’t have the stomach capacity to also get a dog so that’ll have to wait until next time….if they run out of tips before I get there.

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