Smokey Bones Bar & Fire Grill said Tuesday it has named Jason Gronlund vice president of culinary.

Gronlund will oversee menu and product development, kitchen operations and training, and food safety for the Orlando, Fla.-based concept.

“Jason is a talented chef and executive who further strengthens our commitment to becoming ‘best in food’ in casual dining,” Smokey Bones president and CEO Chris Artinian said in a statement. “We’re excited to add his extensive skills, experience and food trends knowledge to our senior team as we ramp up innovation and growth.”

Most recently, Gronlund led food and beverage operations for Hard Rock Café International Inc., according to a statement. Prior to joining Hard Rock Café, Gronlund was senior director of culinary at Carla’s Pasta Company. He has also served as a corporate chef for such suppliers as Tabasco, Smokey Bones said in a statement.

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Gronlund replaces Mark Bibby, who is now vice president of culinary and beverage, executive chef at Maryville, Tenn.-based Ruby Tuesday Inc.

Smokey Bones officials were not immediately available to comment on the new hire.

Formerly owned by Darden Restaurants Inc., Smokey Bones was originally a barbecue-centric concept. Darden, which founded the brand as Smokey Bones Barbeque in 1999, sold the company to private-equity firm Sun Capital Partners Inc. in 2007. Sun Capital renamed the company with the “Bar & Fire Grill” moniker.

Today, Smokey Bones positions itself as representing a broader base of casual-dining fare alongside smoked and barbecued meats, including burgers, snacks and salads, as well as cocktails and beer.

Smokey Bones has 66 company-owned locations in 17 states.

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