Fans of the recently shuttered Hogger's BBQ in Berkley have a good reason to be thankful this holiday: The restaurant will reopen Monday, Nov. 26, at its original location on 12 Mile Road with a spruced-up menu, open mic nights and, eventually, breakfast.
Businessman Andy Gilbert, who co-owns Berkley Eyewear, stepped in to help the beleaguered business after it closed earlier this month and has big plans for its future.
"I bought into Hogger's and we are shaping it up," Gilbert said. "It got a complete bubble bath. It is being shipped down and shaped up."
There will be several changes, including the following, after the 2012 Berkley Patch Readers' Choice award-winner reopens, Gilbert said.
- Open mic nights: Musicians will play at Hogger's on Wednesday and Friday nights, hopefully beginning within a week of the reopening.
- New service: The restaurant will add a wait staff rather than having patrons pick up their orders at the counter.
- A slightly new menu: Hogger's will feature coffee from Detroit Bold, which belongs to Gilbert's friend A.J. O'Neil, who owned AJ's Cafe in Ferndale before its closure in March. Hogger's also will add a baked potato and a corn muffin with jalapeno and bacon.
- Breakfast options: After the first of the year, the revived restaurant will begin to offer the morning meal. Options will include brisket sauteed in honey barbecue on an English muffin with egg and cheese, as well as a brisket omelet.
"We're going to turn it up a little bit. It's going to be very simple, very easy. A little bit of coffee, a little bit of eggs and out the door," Gilbert said.
"We're going back to that traditional barbecue. Blues music and good atmosphere," he added.
Some things won't change, however.
Favorite dishes – including the barbecue, mac and cheese, pulled pork brisket and jambalaya – will stay on the menu and co-owner Jane Lancaster will keep working her magic in the kitchen.
Gilbert said he will focus on marketing and keeping the books and Lancaster will focus on the cooking and customers.
"When she's feeling overwhelmed, she's got someone to lean on," he said of his new partnership with the restaurant's former sole proprietor. "It's hard to do everything by yourself."
Lancaster said in an e-mail to customers that she was forced to close the restaurant earlier this month due to failed negotiations with the landlord, but Gilbert was able to help resolve those issues and allow the Hogger's to maintain is downtown location, he said.
"The (other) opportunities we had were outside of Berkley and moving out wasn't really what we wanted to do," Gilbert said. "... We need everybody there Monday. This is a Berkley business. This is a small business. At the end of the day, Berkley supports their own, so I know they'll come out."
Hogger's BBQ will be open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and noon to 9 p.m. Sunday before adding breakfast hours in 2013.