Smoked meat sandwiches topped with macaroni and cheese. Homemade cornbread drenched in melted butter. Beef brisket chili. These are the staples at Z's Smokin Bonez--Dave and Misty Zapf's newest restaurant located on the corner of County Road 30 and Dunkirk Lane in Maple Grove.
But the menu items do more than wet taste buds. For the couple, they carry heavy meaning.
Dave and Misty's 9-year-old daughter, Addie, created the Whole Hog Hoagie. Their 14-year-old son, Harper, dreamed up the Big Pig Wrap. The recipe for the corn bread comes from the store manager's boyfriend, Rob Zieski.
Misty thought of the Whole Hog Hoagie at a barbecue competition in Owatanna.
"My favorite food is mac and cheese and grilled cheese," Misty said. "So I thought, why not put mac and cheese on our sandwich?"
Taking his daughter's advice, Dave brought the creation to Z's Smokin Bonez and, so far, it's a customer favorite.
"Our kids were basically raised at J Cousineau's," Dave said, referring to the Maple Grove bar that the couple owned for 15 years. "The hours were getting long, especially managing the bar area, so we sold it in March and opened this place in June."
While opened for business on June 11, the grand opening of the store is July 20.
"I have no idea what to expect for the grand opening," Dave said. "We sent out 15,000 fliers, so we'll see." According to the flier, the business will have a Saturday noon ribbon cutting, face painting, an inflatable, Kids' Art on Stick and more during the grand opening weekend.
If you're looking for meat drenched in spicy sauce, try another restaurant. "We don't use sauces on our meats," Dave said. "We use all dry rubs, which really brings out the flavor of the meat. If the meat is smothered in sauce, the sauce is all you taste."
Another difference between Z's and other barbecue joints? There isn't a grill in the shop. "We smoke all of our meat," Dave said. "That's what really makes us different."
Overall, Dave said he's looking for honesty in his customers. "I really want to know what people think of our food," he said. "I ask everyone who walks in here how their food is. So far, everyone seems to really like it."