After almost 20 years in the security and private protection field, during which he kept a close eye on some of the country's most public figures, Brooklyn native Billy Durney has fulfilled a longtime dream by taking the helm as pitmaster and owner at Hometown Bar-B-Que. Since first learning to smoke meat as a youngster during visits to his grandparents' cabin in rural Pennsylvania, Billy has spent years obsessing over his barbecue, traveling around the United States and abroad perfecting his techniques. Starting in the backyard, cooking for family and friends, he has now realized his lifelong passion for wood, fire and meat.
"I love cooking with wood, and I love manipulating flavors," he says. "I'm just trying to cook the best bite I can cook. I don't know what to call it. We're doing it in Brooklyn, and I'm very proud to be part of that community.”
Billy can be found making the rounds at Hometown every night, stopping at every table to check on his guests. "I appreciate them coming here," he says. "That's the reason I work 80 hours a week."
As the owner/partner in New York restaurants Smith & Mills, Warren 77, Tiny's & The Bar Upstairs and Miller's Near & Far, Christopher Miller has enjoyed success in every facet of the hospitality business. His unique background in contemporary art and as an accomplished, French Culinary Institute-educated chef has strongly influenced the look and feel of Hometown. Entree into the world of barbecue had been on Miller's mind for a few years prior to meeting budding barbecue entrepreneur Billy Durney, who shared his vision. Miller enjoys being able to see and hear about people making their own memories at Hometown.
As general manager for Hometown, Mitchell Rosen draws on a wealth of experience working in such New York culinary institutions as the Grand Central Oyster Bar, City Crab and Bubby's. A self-described "people person," Mitchell oversees all operations at Hometown from the kitchen to the live music program.
Rosen began his higher education at University at Albany, SUNYAlbany before his love of cooking led him to the Culinary Institute Of America, where he graduated with honors in 1994. From there, he trained as a sommelier but found himself increasingly drawn out of the kitchen and into management.
As Pit Boss for Hometown, Michael Conlon leads the pit crew through long nights of sitting on fires and smoking our barbecue. He draws on his experience as a former cook at some of New York City’s great restaurants, including CraftBar, Chanterelle, and Franny’s.
After leaving his former career in the Radio and Record industry, Michael turned to his first passion, food. It wasn't until he began cooking with wood that his passion found its direction. Having cooked with wood burning ovens and grills, Michael jumped at he chance to finally cook proper barbecue.
Michael began his higher education at Brooklyn College CUNY before attending The Art Institute of New York, where he graduated in 2004.