The Bone Store reopens with new owners after closing years ago
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BONE – In the foothills of Idaho Falls about 20 miles east of town lies a remote place known as Bone.
With an entire population of two people, according to the latest U.S. Census data, it’s not a place where people typically come to visit.
But for many in eastern Idaho, a 1,300-square-foot building at 1672 Bone Road is a place that holds a lot of cherished memories.
From the dollar bills on the ceiling to the cattle brands seared into the walls, the building is affectionately known as the Bone Store. It includes a restaurant bar and grill with a small seating area, an amphitheater and a fence with lots of open space that some use for camping.
The business reopened last Thursday after closing in the fall of 2017. Amanda and Kory Edelmayer of Roberts are the proud new owners and they’re excited to be serving customers.
“We call it Steele-n-Jo’s Bone,” Amanda tells EastIdahoNews.com. “We’re really new at this, so we’re entering softly … We’re trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t.”
Amanda says there were a few angry customers when they ran out of food during opening weekend, but overall, people are happy to see the store back open.
“Everybody has a story of (coming here), whether it was playing poker at the age of six or stopping by on their way home from fishing the Blackfoot reservoir and grabbing a burger or a pop. A lot of the ranchers are really grateful that we’re back up there. They come through after checking their cows,” says Amanda.
The menu at Steele-n-Jo’s Bone includes burgers, chili, salads and hot dogs. There is a kids menu that includes chicken strips, grilled cheese or peanut butter sandwiches and a hot dog. Beer, soda and other drinks are also available.
Some of the popular favorites from the past include the footlong Bone Wrecker (beef dog) and the Drunken Bone Brat.
“The previous owners did burgers and prime rib on Saturday nights,” Amanda says. “Eventually, we want to be able to offer a special each weekend, but we’re just not there yet.”
A ‘treasured’ history
Amanda knew the previous owners and has her own memories of going to the Bone Store. Those connections are what inspired her to purchase the business.
“It’s a place that just calls your name. It is so beautiful there and it just has a unique atmosphere to it that isn’t like anything else,” she says.
One of Amanda’s connections to Bone is a 25-mile relay she hosted between 2011 and 2015 called Brody’s Ride for MDA.
Mandy and Chris Blake purchased the Bone Store in 2011. Chris died in 2013 and Mandy owned it for several years before closing in 2017. But the history of the Bone Store goes back much farther.
The Bone Store was featured in a story by the Salt Lake Tribune in 2004. The article indicates Orin Bone, for which the town is named, opened a general store in 1910, which included a grocery store and a post office.
The original Bone Store was located about half a mile from its current location and was owned by Spence Williams. When Williams died in the late 1950s, family members began tearing it down.
“The story is that the owner buried his treasure there and his kids tried to find it,” Amanda says. “They either found it and burned it down or couldn’t find it and burned it down. I don’t know.”
Max Rockwood later rebuilt the store in the 1960s, according to the Tribune, and it’s changed hands a number of times since then.
A place to call home
Going forward, Amanda says they want to keep the Bone Store just like people remember it while also adding a few personal touches.
“Eventually, we’re going to have a grill-your-own food set up, where people can call and say ’12 of my friends and I are coming up’ and we get everything ready for you and you just show up and grill,” Amanda says.
She’s also planning to add power and water to the camping area and renting out the amphitheater for weddings and private parties. Amanda is working to bring back the fun run next year.
Amanda says many people who have never been to the Bone Store sometimes get mad because of the long wait time. Visiting the Bone Store is not set up to accommodate large groups and isn’t about fast service.
The main focus is providing a space where people can spend time with those they love and create memories together, she says. Amanda invites you to drop in when you’re in the area.
“It’s a place people are drawn to. I can’t tell you how many people have come through and their stories are truly fun,” she says. “For people who love Bone, they call this place home.”
Steele-n-Jo’s Bone is currently open Thursday through Saturday 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. with a 7 p.m. closing time Sunday.
A grand opening celebration is in the works for September, which may include a concert from a country artist. Details are still being worked out.