Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Bono's: Still Smokin' at 60; Part of the Barbecue Restaurant's Legacy Is Harvey Green, an Employee since 1956

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Bono's: Still Smokin' at 60; Part of the Barbecue Restaurant's Legacy Is Harvey Green, an Employee since 1956

Article excerpt

Byline: KEVIN TURNER

Harvey Green left his home in the tiny town of Lodge, S.C., at age 14 in 1949. His siblings had opted to go to New York and California, but he chose a different path.

"I wanted to go to big Jax," Green said. "My mama started crying. I said, 'I'm a man, I'll take care of myself.' "

That same year, Lou Bono opened a pit-fired barbecue restaurant at 4907 Beach Blvd. in Jacksonville.

In 1956, Green went to work as a meat cutter in the original Bono's Pit Bar-B-Q. Today, the original Bono's restaurant has branched out over the past 60 years into a chain of 23 restaurants -- most of which are in Florida. Two are in Colorado.

Green will be 74 this month, and he still works there. He's semi-retired now but still comes in three days a week to greet the many customers he knows by name and to cut meat, and he retains the title "master pit boss."

"I like people," he said.

He's worked for the current owners, the Adeeb family, for 28 years. He was an institution at the restaurant when they bought its two Jacksonville locations in 1980.

"These people, I've been with them for four generations," Green said. "Everybody's treated me good. They've taken care of me."

As humble as Green is, he's a legend in the restaurant and his presence plays into its 60th anniversary celebration, said Kelly Barkoskie, director of marketing and customer service for the chain. Part of the company's branding for its restaurants is a return to using neon signs similar to the original "Lou Bono Bar-B-Q" sign that's been in front of the original restaurant since 1949.

"We're going back to our roots," Barkoskie said.

That's evident in the company's redesigned Web site, which features Green. The company also is revamping its menu to celebrate its 60th anniversary by lowering prices for its daily special.

The restaurant also will offer a gift card this year, Barkoskie said. Users will receive a 10 percent discount on their purchases, and 10 percent of their tickets will be donated to the Donna Foundation, a local breast cancer charity founded by Jacksonville's Donna Deegan. …

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