UPDATED: Asheville’s popular 12 Bones barbecue remains in hands of original owners

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

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Contrary to rumors, 12 Bones Smokehouse, the uber-popular barbecue joint in the River Arts District, remains in the hands of the restaurant’s founders.

The restaurant opened in December 2005 under owners Sabra Kelley and her husband, Tom Montgomery. Montgomery said Friday morning that he and Kelley retain ownership, that rumors of a sale are untrue.

The couple rehabbed a former restaurant that had been severely damaged in devastating floods in 2004 and have grown the restaurant into a popular stop for locals, as well high-powered diners.

President Barack Obama visited once when he was running for office in 2008 and again, with First Lady Michelle Obama, in April 2010. The public’s demand for the restaurants tasty barbecue, “Hogzilla” sammiches and delicious side dishes such jas jalapeno cheddar cheese grits skyrocketed after Obama’s first visit, and the business has never looked back. The couple opened a south Asheville location on Sweeten Creek Road in 2008.

The restaurant employs about 30 people who churn out the $8-$12 plates of ‘cue and ribs. 12 Bones first gained notoriety when it won a Good Morning America contest that asked people to vote for their favorite eateries and 12 Bones won for its blueberry chipotle barbecued ribs.

In the spring of 2010, Montgomery opened Eurosport Asheville, a BMW motorcycle dealership near Biltmore Village.

Image link for 12 Bones.

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

  • 1

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  1. Yvette February 13, 2013

    President Obama spoke about 12 bones today on television, (02/13/213), We will be coming your way soon to give 12 bones a try.

  2. Brightside28806 March 25, 2012

    maybe more time and attention spent on side items would benefit–also the ribs have been tasting frozen and dried out… just a thought

  3. Nate March 23, 2012

    “Contrary to rumors” that were probably most broadly disseminated by your blog post and tweets, right?

    Would it really kill you to make a couple of phone calls before you ran posts like this in the first place?

    Also, generally accepted blogging practice seems to be to leave the original post “as is” and add the “UPDATE” as a marked off note either before or after the original text. That way whatever it was you said originally doesn’t just get washed down the memory hole . . .

    1. Ashevillain March 26, 2012

      Standard MO of this blog:

      1. start rumor
      2. get people to view/post to drive the ad revenue
      3. profit
      4. renege on the rumor
      5. get more people to view/post
      6. profit more

      I don’t really care that much either way (because I’ve been conditioned to take this blog with a grain of salt) but it certainly would be nice if there was even a shred of credibility lent to it.

  4. Your Copy Editor March 23, 2012

    “12 Bones first gained notoriety when it won a Good Morning America contest”
    Definition of NOTORIETY
    : the quality or state of being notorious
    Definition of NOTORIOUS
    : generally known and talked of; especially widely and unfavorably known

  5. Fotozen March 22, 2012

    I know Sabra and Tom have been working their a$$es off and deserve to get back to basics. Sabra, come back and volunteer for the Botanical Gardens, we can always use a great plant IDer.

  6. Ian Casselberry March 22, 2012

    I certainly hope this doesn’t affect the food or service at 12 Bones. But hey, maybe the new owners will pave that teeth-rattling, suspension-testing parking lot.

    1. Orbit DVD March 23, 2012

      Or, be open on weekends and dinner.


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