Less than two days after the celebrated Horn Barbecue was thoroughly tagged with graffiti, the building is now effectively ruined for the time being after an early Tuesday morning fire has left the West Oakland building red-tagged.
It was a minor Bay Area food-world story Monday when the wildly popular and renowned West Oakland BBQ restaurant Horn Barbecue was tagged by graffiti vandals, in an incident that apparently happened Sunday night. It is a much bigger Bay Area food story that the very same Horn Barbecue building was destroyed in an early Tuesday morning fire, according to KTVU, and that station's pictures of the damage sure make it look like Horn Barbecue won’t be reopening anytime soon.
Oakland's renowned Horn Barbecue was vandalised by graffiti and devastated by fire. Owner Matt Horn won't let that get him down. He's holding a turkey giveaway despite his double setbacks. https://t.co/jTlS15bqDC— Lisa Fernandez (@ljfernandez) November 21, 2023
Some furnishings appear to still be intact in those KTVU photos from owner Matt Horn, but many of the structures inside are ruined, and the building’s exterior is largely burnt out. The Chronicle reports that the restaurant at 2534 Mandela Parkway has been red-tagged, so no one’s allowed to enter the building at this point.
According to posts on the app Citizen, the first 911 call reporting the fire was just before 4:30 a.m. Tuesday, and firefighters arrived shortly after, which checks with the Chronicle's reporting that the blaze was extinguished by 4:46 a.m.
So @HornBarbecue along Mandela in West Oakland was vandalized two days ago and the owner responded by calling out the perpetrators as “the filth that plagues our beautiful city” in a passion-fueled Instagram post.— The E'ville Eye News (@TheEvilleEye) November 21, 2023
Early this morning, there was a fire at the restaurant with the… pic.twitter.com/e0RfOO4s2D
"The whole thing burned, inside and outside," Horn told KTVU. Obviously, there is (wholly unconfirmed) speculation that the graffiti and fire are somehow related, but there is no evidence yet on the cause of the fire. Horn did, however, say it was not related to any food preparation, telling KTVU "there was no cooking at that time" of the fire Tuesday morning.
So Horn Barbecue will certainly be closed for the near term. But Matt Horn insists he’s still doing the restaurant’s third annual turkey giveaway for needy families Wednesday at 1 p.m., outside Horn Barbecue, though he won’t be able to prepare hot food as planned.
"I want to move forward and show the community we're resilient in the face of this tragedy," Horn told KTVU.
Image: efrain L. via Yelp