History of Bone Heads
Welcome to Bone Heads, the treasure of Willis! Our name is new, but the restaurant has a rich heritage. We continue to serve a fine selection of sandwiches, steaks, seafood and, of course, our famous and addictive pickle chips. We’ve also added our own unique and delicious slow roasted, hickory smoked barbeque to the menu.
We invite you to sit back and relax. We’re a place where neighbors and friends gather for dinner, drinks and conversation. Don’t be surprised if they welcome you to their table. We promise you won’t return a stranger, whether you dine in the restaurant or relax in our cozy pub.
Time does move slower here in Willis, a village formerly established in 1887 with the arrival of the Wabash railroad. The original clapboard station burned down in 1904, and its replacement, a smaller structure, survived well into the mid-20th century. The community, though, long preceded the railroad. Willis traces its roots to land purchases made between 1825 and 1835 and is named after one of the original landholders, Willis Potter.
Not much has changed along the village’s main street and descendants of those early families still reside here. Trains pass by every day, and as you wait for your meal, you just might hear the roar. And if the building shakes, that’s just the train. Any other strange sounds you hear can be attributed to our resident ghost or ghosts.
Yes, strange things have been occurring at Bone Heads for years. The hanging lamps in the bar have been known to swing back and forth. Lights turn back on long after the restaurant has closed. Employees have heard whispering or footsteps and turned to find no one there. Neighbors have seen someone cleaning the third-floor window. Customers have reported seeing a woman in a white dress descent the stairs. Oh, and we can’t resist share this one: A little girl was surprised to find more than her own reflection in the women’s bathroom mirror.
We’re not surprised we share Bone Heads with ghosts. After all, the building predates the formal establishment of the village. We believe our building was constructed around 1865. Over the years, the structure has served as a coach stop, grainery, butcher shop, ice house, post office and general store.
We’re not quite sure who the ghosts are, but details make us believe the woman, whom we call Nellie, probably lived here in the early 20th century. The little girl remains a mystery.
When the building was restored in the mid-1980s, antiques, walnut cabinets and oak trim were brought here from parts of southeastern Michigan and northwest Ohio. Woodwork, lamps and trimmings were carefully selected to authenticate the old General Store appearance.
Just as the building has strived to maintain its presence in the village over the decades, we too shall continue the tradition and privilege of serving you well.
The LaChance Family and the entire staff at Bone Heads thank you for your continued support.