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Food Waste Hero 12 Bones

Food Waste Hero: 12 Bones Smokehouse

Think of an Asheville restaurant with pages of accolades and awards, a long list of celebrity customers, and a steady flow of loyal locals queuing up daily for its delicious food, and you have 12 Bones Smokehouse. Serving from locations on Foundy Street in the River Arts District and Hendersonville Road in Arden, 12 Bones’ barbecue, sandwiches, and sides are in high demand, and the restaurants do their best to ensure that as little food as possible goes unused. 

“I hate to waste food,” says co-owner Bryan King, explaining that 12 Bones makes any leftover prepared foods available to local organizations that redistribute meals to the hungry. Additionally, when there are closings for snow, COVID-19, or scheduled holidays, it’s likely that some perishable items will go out of date and need to either be used or thrown away.

Bryan and his group partner with nonprofit organizations, including Haywood Street Congregation, Food Connection, Hope House, Veterans Restoration Quarters, and Trinity Episcopal Church, to provide high-quality food to be shared with local residents in need rather than sending it to the landfill. 12 Bones staff members have made appearances at the Haywood Street Congregation to cook for its free community meal program.

At the outset of the pandemic, the 12 Bones went above and beyond the scope of preventing food waste within its own restaurants, asking one of its vendors, Performance Food Group, to donate perishable food products that might be wasted. 12 Bones staff then cooked and donated that food to the community. Bryan and the 12 Bones staff also encourage folks who use the two restaurant locations for private parties and special events to donate their leftovers to the same local organizations that support individuals and families experiencing hunger.

In addition to sharing good food with those who need it, in diverting food away from the landfill, 12 Bones is doing its part to protect the environment by helping minimize greenhouse gas emissions. And, in Buncombe County, this is a big deal — food waste in the county has an estimated annual carbon footprint equivalent to burning 226,430 gallons of gasoline! And, although 12 Bones food, which is often served with sauces and gravies, can be challenging to transport, Bryan takes special care to make sure the restaurants’ to-go containers are as environmentally friendly as possible. No Styrofoam is used, and Bryan is constantly looking for the best technology for sending his products out to the public.

 Thanks to 12 Bones for doing its part and leading the way for others!

Food Waste Hero - 12 Bones


Written by: Marc Rudow

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