Bones Was a Man with a Plan—Now He Reigns Supreme with the Best Burger in Town

The beef

–       100% grass-fed from Lexington (a Bones exclusive)

–       Never any added spices or flavors

–       “The cleanest beef in town.”

The beer

–       Craft local, within 100 miles or 3-hour drive

–       Draft and cans, seasonal and staples

–       “If you’re going to be behind local, be behind local.”

The fries

–       Fresh-cut, topped with grated Parm

–       Recipe from Chef Tyson Grant at the Parkshore Grill in St. Pete (with his blessing)

The prize winner

–       Bones’ Farm Burger

–       Locally sourced fried egg

–       Applewood smoked bacon

–       Pepper Jack cheese

–       Lettuce, tomato & red onion

–       Perfection without any other condiments

 

Don’t call him a celebrity. Or a chef. Don’t even think about calling him by his given name. He’s just a homegrown local boy—Loveland native from birth, Loveland resident still—with a quintessential success story. And a damn fine burger.

“Bones” Bonekemper is somewhat irreverent. Sarcastic and cheeky. But the man knows his craft, growing from a start-up food truck selling a few burgers a week to a two-restaurant mini-empire.

“I’m not a businessman, even after owning two restaurants … I think of myself still as a waiter, still a bartender,” Bones admits. “I’m just a guy with a burger.”

He claims it was his mom’s idea—a matriarch who remains involved in Bones’ Burgers’ daily operations.

“She called me in Florida and said, ‘I know what you should do … grass-fed beef burgers.’ We started off not knowing if it would work. Local and natural … it was the right time to do that.”

Bones himself calls “the burger and fries” an American institution. Tried and tested. Recession-proof—fitting as that’s what brought him back home in 2010 with beef on the brain. He’d traveled the world, but it was time to consider the end game. And so, the burger and the truck—only the fourth in the city, with a parking spot in the suburbs rather than OTR. The truck featured a black-and-white cow—a slightly misleading mascot for a truck without ice cream.

“Business was unpredictable … I was cutting tomatoes to order, frying bacon to order. We’d taken out a $60 thousand loan to start the truck, and some days, we wouldn’t sell any at all.”  

But the biz kept building—and then it boomed. Two years in, growth was substantial. After just five years with the truck, Bones realized brick-and-mortar was the next logical, lucrative step. With his long-time, hands-on operations experience, success was inevitable. Because it’s all about the beef.

“I’m not a chef. Beef that doesn’t need anything added to it to make it taste good—that’s what we do. Beef versus beef, I think it’s the best in town.”

Add to that his signature fries (crack fries, according to some), homemade ketchup and a killer craft beer lineup, it’s no wonder he’s in high demand in both Montgomery and Oakley. Red meat not your thing? Bones also touts the best turkey burger in the city (he’s right), along with veggie and salmon burgers, all-natural ingredients, local desserts, and simple yet brilliant salads (with house-made dressings, of course).

“I think I’ve made an impact on burgers in Cincy,” he finishes. “But no matter how busy I am, I always stop to talk to everyone to ask, ‘how’s your burger?’ I never take that for granted.”

9721 Montgomery Rd., 513.407.2939 | 3235 Madison Rd., 513.321.0369

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