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Quirky Bonepile makes bbq recession proof

Posted: Saturday, Dec 29th, 2012

Bonepile BBQ owner Zeke Olsen started cooking barbecue for his corporate buddies in Seattle, then catered large parties. He sold his successful property management company to retire at the central Oregon coast. Restored but bored, he opened a traditional eastern-style barbecue shack in Depoe Bay. (Photo by Rick Beasley)

Owner defies downturn with humor, commuter moms

DEPOE BAY — Tenacity, pizzazz and a wry sense of humor are some of the ingredients in the success of Bonepile BBQ, a roadside barbecue shack that defied a recession, blunted a boycott and rearranged the town’s political order.

The Bonepile BBQ not only weathered the storm but grew its clientele by 140 percent, said owner Zeke Olsen.

“The day I bought the place the recession hit, and that’s when things got interesting,” recalled Olsen, who stormed his way into the town’s tightly-wound culture of business and politics, earning a seat at the best table last November when he was elected to the city council. “But we made it through by working 70 to 75 hours a week, hunkering down and putting out the best food we could.”

It sounds like a simple formula, and if it were so the highway wouldn’t be littered with the carcasses of other eateries whose operators worked just as hard. His infatuation with “Eastern-style” barbecue and an eye for the outlandish have turned a former hard-luck cafe into a beacon for commuter moms, eager tourists and fans of the shack’s ‘Q.’

For the complete article see the 01-02-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 01-02-2013 paper.

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