Home US Beloved Oakland barbecue restaurant shuts down after being gutted by fire then ‘stripped’ by squatters and vandals in crime-ridden city

Beloved Oakland barbecue restaurant shuts down after being gutted by fire then ‘stripped’ by squatters and vandals in crime-ridden city

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Horn Barbecue on Mandela Parkway in Oakland went up in flames on Nov. 21 and was already struggling with mounting debts to suppliers

A famous barbecue restaurant will not reopen months after it was destroyed by fire only then for vandals to destroy what was left.

Horn Barbecue on Mandela Parkway in Oakland went up in flames on Nov. 21 and was already struggling with mounting debts to suppliers.

The ‘very deliberate’ fire was compounded by the building being raided by vandals and occupied by squatters who even stole the engine from a van.

Owner and acclaimed chef Matt Horn said the structure was “compromised by unauthorized people living in and coming in and out”.

Horn Barbecue on Mandela Parkway in Oakland went up in flames on Nov. 21 and was already struggling with mounting debts to suppliers

Horn Barbecue on Mandela Parkway in Oakland went up in flames on Nov. 21 and was already struggling with mounting debts to suppliers

Owner and acclaimed chef Matt Horn said the fire and damage to what remained of the building since meant it could not reopen in that location.

Owner and acclaimed chef Matt Horn said the fire and damage to what remained of the building since meant it could not reopen in that location.

Owner and acclaimed chef Matt Horn said the fire and damage to what was left of the building since meant it could not reopen in that location.

“Significant structural damage with pipelines and electrical systems being stripped, our shipping container vandalized, along with continuous theft and crime in the vicinity,” he said.

“Furthermore, no savings were made on our van; it was stripped of its engine and left significantly damaged.

“These incidents, individually an ordeal, have combined to create an environment that is currently unsustainable for us to operate in safely and effectively.”

Horn said that even if the eatery was resilient enough to launch during the 2020 pandemic, reopening after those events would not be in the best interest of staff and customers.

However, he planned to open Horn Barbecue elsewhere, according to a fundraiser with more than $130,000 in donations.

Beloved Oakland barbecue restaurant shuts down after being gutted by

Beloved Oakland barbecue restaurant shuts down after being gutted by

Horn said the structure was “compromised by unauthorized persons living in and coming in and out”

In addition, the restaurant's van was stripped of its engine and significantly damaged

In addition, the restaurant's van was stripped of its engine and significantly damaged

In addition, the restaurant’s van was stripped of its engine and significantly damaged

The Oakland Fire Department is still investigating the cause of the fire and said this week it was seeking witnesses, more surveillance footage and other evidence

The Oakland Fire Department is still investigating the cause of the fire and said this week it was looking for witnesses, more surveillance footage and other evidence

The Oakland Fire Department is still investigating the cause of the fire and said this week it was looking for witnesses, more surveillance footage and other evidence

“While we are currently in the process of finding and securing this new space, the prospect of welcoming you back fills us with excitement,” wrote his wife Tina Horn.

‘We can’t wait for the day when we can once again share our barbecue and express our gratitude in person.

The fundraiser, which attracted pledges from more than 1,300 people, was intended to help revive the restaurant from the ashes.

“Navigating the complexities of our first insurance claim, along with the intricacies and uncertainties it entailed, has been a formidable challenge,” it read.

‘The financial support you provided gave us the necessary breathing space to deal with these challenges carefully and with patience.’

Horn Barbecue was also approved for a $100,000 grant by the Alameda County Board of Supervisors — although Horn said he had not yet received the funds.

The restaurant also collected $488,820 in government aid during the pandemic.

Horn Barbecue’s debt was already mounting before the fire and only got worse since — the latest being a court order Tuesday to pay Cooks Company Produce $64,000 over a contract dispute.

Horn also owed $167,000 to former business partner David Kim for alleged unpaid wages after he claimed he was “kicked out,” and $73,000 in unpaid invoices to Golden Gate Meat Co.

Horn Barbecue's debt was already increasing before the fire and only got worse since

Horn Barbecue's debt was already increasing before the fire and only got worse since

Horn Barbecue’s debt was already increasing before the fire and only got worse since

Horn Barbecue was very popular before its demise and was named in the Michelin Guide's Bib Gourmand list in 2021

Horn Barbecue was very popular before its demise and was named in the Michelin Guide's Bib Gourmand list in 2021

Horn Barbecue was very popular before its demise and was named on the Michelin guide’s Bib Gourmand list in 2021

The restaurant's menu when it was in operation

The restaurant's menu when it was in operation

The restaurant’s menu when it was in operation

Horn Barbecue was very popular before its demise and was named on the Michelin guide’s Bib Gourmand list in 2021.

The chef owns two other businesses in the area — Kowbird, a chicken sandwich joint in West Oakland, and Matty’s Old Fashioned, an upscale, retro-style restaurant in Old Oakland.

West Oakland Councilmember Carroll Fife said at the time of the fire at 4.19 that the fire looked ‘very deliberate’ and Horn speculated that criminals were responsible.

The Oakland Fire Department is still investigating the cause and said this week it was looking for witnesses, more surveillance footage and other evidence.

Oakland is in the midst of a crime wave plaguing the Bay Area, with increases in vandalism, car theft and burglary.

The chef planned to open Horn Barbecue elsewhere, according to a fundraiser with more than $130,000 in donations

The chef planned to open Horn Barbecue elsewhere, according to a fundraiser with more than $130,000 in donations

The chef planned to open Horn Barbecue elsewhere, according to a fundraiser with more than $130,000 in donations

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