Jul. 24—HIGH POINT — When attorney Duane Bryant decided to open a barbecue restaurant in High Point, he could've chosen any number of locations.
Instead, Bryant chose a small, brick building on East Green Drive, just a stone's throw away from the Brentwood Street office building his law practice has occupied for more than 30 years. Moreover, the new restaurant — named DK Bones Barbeque — stands in the middle of a High Point food desert.
"I could've built across the tracks, but I wanted it in this community," Bryant says. "I wanted to give something back. This community has allowed me to buy a house and a car, to put kids through college, to take care of my family. So we wanted to be in this community."
Bryant and his wife, Wanda, opened DK Bones in April, and the business has slowly begun to grow.
"A lot of folks say you can't do anything in this community — it's a little too this or a little too that," Bryant says. "But good people live here, some very good people. Since we opened, I can't tell you the number of people that walked over here and said, 'Thank you, we were hoping that something good would happen here.' "
Bryant hopes something good will happen there, too. He envisions hiring people from the East Green vicinity — including teenagers — to work at DK Bones, and someday he hopes to be able to provide free breakfast and lunch for children in the neighborhood.
"The simple mission," he says, "is that we want to try to help as many people as we can."
In the meantime, Bryant hopes the food, cleanliness and friendly service will keep customers not only coming back, but spreading the word to others, too.
"The big thing we want to be known for here is our ribs," he says, explaining that the Bones in the restaurant's name refers to its ribs. (The D and K are his first two initials.)
"We have our own rib called the stackhouse rib," Bryant continues. "We have a pretty aggressive cut on the meat, we have our own special rub, and we put our own special sauce on it."
The menu also includes such entrees as riblets, barbecue chicken, jerk chicken and chopped barbecue, short-order grill items such as hot dogs and hamburgers, and sides ranging from macaroni and sweet potato casserole to collard greens, waffle fries, hush puppies and more. Desserts such as banana pudding and jumbo cupcakes are available, too.
DK Bones is not a sit-down restaurant, but instead offers takeout, delivery, curbside service and catering.
Bryant, who grew up around Swansboro, but has been a criminal defense lawyer in High Point for more than 35 years, has no plans to give up his law practice just yet, but says he's taking an active role in the new restaurant. He says he learned about the lure of barbecue as a child, when he used to help his cousin sell barbecue at a roadside stand.
"He used to cook whole hogs over a homemade pit, and my job was to throw the charcoal all through the night — he'd give me about $5 or $10," Bryant recalls. "Folks would come from miles around, and he'd be out there on the side of the road selling barbecue all day long."
Bryant has turned his kitchen operation over to an experienced ribs and barbecue cook, Drake Russell, from Denton. Together, they created the sweet, thick barbecue sauce they say has been a hit with customers.
"It's my recipe, but we tweaked it," Bryant says. "I've been test-driving different recipes probably for the last 10-12 years, and we still tweak it sometimes, figuring out what's good and what we can do better."
In the meantime, the folks in the neighborhood have begun to take notice of DK Bones.
"Business has been fair," Bryant says. "A lot of folks have been coming in and saying they didn't know we were here, but now we're starting to get a lot of repeat customers. That's what it's all about."
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